Job scheduling has come a long way from the days of punch cards to enterprise job scheduling that allows for automation across disparate applications. Service-oriented batch job scheduling now allows you to define new jobs on the fly, track their execution, and receive reports on their status—a game changing development that's made everyone's lives easier.
The States of Job Scheduling That Led to Service Orientation
The evolution of job scheduling over the years is dramatic; in the beginning, there were merely punch cards. Since each batch was a group of punch cards, the term “batch processing” was born. Once keyboards and commands were established, you could start writing your commands in a run book, which was a great relief. The drawback to this was that an operator had to sit and manually enter that information, which wasn’t a very efficient or error-free way of batch processing.
A major revolution occurred when automated scheduling first appeared in the 70s and 80s. For the first time, jobs could be started on time—automatically—by a software. Since then, of course, we’ve moved on to event-driven scheduling, which has allowed us to integrate your job schedule and batch jobs with other events, like the arrival of a file or the ending of a process somewhere else in your network. Our latest stage of evolution is service-oriented batch job scheduling, which works by utilizing services.
What is a Service?
A service is generally defined as a piece of software or program that’s unassociated with the programs that are calling it—we like to use the term “loosely coupled,” which means that there aren’t direct, hard links between the actual executing modules.
Services are generally best if they’re vendor, product, and platform independent; it shouldn’t matter whether you’re trying to call that server from UNIX or the mainframe or a windows box—you should be able to get to it. The best services tend to run over a protocol; Automate Schedule uses a defined protocol, as opposed to some sort of proprietary architecture, because everything is out in your network and you need to use your network to help you separate your concerns and get execution off into different boxes.
Network protocols are important in the definition of what a service actually is. This lets us use existing software; we take a little from here and a little from there to build ad hoc applications which allow us to stretch our software dollar. But how is this useful when you’re using a batch scheduler?
Services and Your Batch Scheduler
Firstly, if your enterprise job scheduler produces web services, this is going to allow you to define new jobs on the fly. So if you have a particular program call that needs to happen but you don’t have it defined, then you can actually have your enterprise job scheduler automatically create it without a user having to go in through the user interface.
Secondly—and this is probably the most important part—this plays a part in the execution of jobs. You’re going to be able to take your predefined jobs and run them, track their execution, and then report back to the calling application that they’ve completed or failed.
The last reason pertains to event triggers. If you have a complex event hierarchy built inside your job scheduler, you may not wish to kick off a job. You may want to say a particular prerequisite has been satisfied, allowing other events that have been defined to run. Then it just kind of folds in with the natural progression that that job would normally take. Setting variables is also important if something is changing because of a user request; that could be pushed from some other piece of software.
Taking a service-oriented approach to batch processing allows you to better leverage all your existing software, whether it’s homegrown or purchased. An enterprise job scheduler like Automate Schedule is designed to make your life easier, integrating with your business-critical applications so you can build complex schedules quickly and easily. With Automate Schedule, you can group multiple jobs into a single process and build an event-driven job scheduler that lets you automate entire processes, allowing your business to maximize efficiency with reactivity. Learn more about enterprise scheduling with a free trial of Automate Schedule.