Article

Why Should Developers Care About Workload Automation?

IBM i
Posted:
August 16, 2016

It’s not uncommon for developers to view workload automation as something that lies outside of their sphere of influence, since it’s the operations team that runs the night processing and day-to-day operations.

What developers don’t realize, though, is that automation software, when implemented properly, can solve a lot of issues for their own team. Not the least of which is getting rid of the dreaded on-call cell phone.

Learn five reasons why developers love Robot Schedule.

Here are five tasks a developer would be glad to let workload automation software take off their hands.

1. Establish event-driven job scheduling for your night processing.

The clear benefit is that all your steps, jobs, and tasks will not run out of order—when one process stops, it can trigger another or multiple events. Operators rejoice. Developers can sleep at night. And, once they know how these features work, developers won’t waste time writing scripts to achieve something that is a built-in component of any their workload automation software.

Plus, workload automation software makes it very easy to set up event-driven processes that trigger based on files being created, changed, or removed from the system—there’s no reason to write your own scripts to pass along file arrival information. The software will monitor the files and even pass along the dynamically-named file to the CLP or script that you use to call your application.

2. Execute any script or 5250/Telnet screen automatically as an independent event.

Each event becomes an independent call into your business application or system task that needs to run periodically. The workload automation software allows you to run each of these scripts independently, but also built into a job stream so that each job or the entire stream can be monitored to make sure it meets your service-level agreements.

3. Pass dynamic parameters into the job. 

These dynamic parameters can be scripts in themselves that can derive appropriate values like end-of-day or end-of-month date values. Developers can use or pass dynamic parameters into a variety of scripts, improving productivity and providing consistency across all automated jobs.

4. Control processes and the system resources they require.

The technology can be tailored to use different user IDs, libraries, job queues, output, and other system resources with a simple change to the setup. This is really powerful for developers that need to run the same set of business processes for different business units or different customers. Imagine being able to duplicate setup information and bring on new customers or divisions without writing a ton of code.

5. Provide a database of rules and history for easy audits.

Workload automation solutions allow you to easily provide management with business metrics and external auditors with the details they request when they review your operations team’s impact on critical business processes.

HelpSystems workload automation solutions have a pre-defined Good Morning report, offering insight into the volume of jobs executed, any failures that occurred, and any deviation from the normal run of the jobs. Auditors love this report. They also like that they can see audit history on who changed rules. A database-driven solution in a spreadsheet will always shine brighter than scripts during an IT audit.

When Operations Go Bump in the Night

Workload automation is not just a problem for the operations team at your company. Many developers don’t realize the negative impact that poor automation has on their day-to-day activities. Consider the following scenario.

It’s 1:30 a.m. on the East Coast when the on-call cell phone rings for the second time this week…and it’s only Wednesday. Chuck, the developer, rolls over to pick up the call:

“Hello?”

“Chuck, it’s Jerry from the NOC. I need your opinion on what to do with error message on the console.”

“What’s the error?”

“We accidently ran option 2 at the same time as option 4 and now there’s an error that says record lock has occurred on QSYSOPR.”

“Jerry, we can solve this pretty easy by having you wait for the option 2 job to finish. Once it finishes, answer the messages with a ‘G’, okay?”

“Chuck, I hope I didn’t bother you too much tonight, but do you mind waiting for the option 2 job to finish before you hang up?”

“Yes, I can wait.”

15 minutes pass as they chat back and forth about the local high school football team’s recent victory. Finally, Chuck gets off the phone and tries to get back to sleep. It’s 2 a.m.

The next day, Chuck shows up late at work, nearly missing the development meeting reviewing their priority projects. Chuck regrets the meeting because—once again—he didn’t have time to work on his projects since he got in late and had to update the problem ticket from last night’s call from the network operations center.

Late-night interruptions like this impact your developer projects. Plus, those extra developer projects you have for writing your own automation scripts are counter-productive to working on what really matters.

IT directors need to realize that problems at night impact productivity during the day. Could a workload automation tool like Robot Schedule for IBM i help your developer team be more productive? Yes, actually. Watch this webinar to see how.

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Find out how IBM i workload automation software can help you improve the efficiency of your job schedule. Request a free demo today.