Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs VisualCron comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct and VisualCron based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs. VisualCron Report (Updated: November 2022).
657,849 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The most valuable features are the Advanced File Transfer and the manage file transfer. They make transferring files securely seamless. It's very easy to set up, get deployed, and have it transferred to and from vendors. As long as we can get our firewall rules implemented at a decent time, it's very easy and seamless to get important files transferred in a secure manner.""It gives us the ability to have end-to-end workflows, no matter where they're running.""Before Control-M, we didn't have a centralized view and could not view what happened in the past to determine what will happen in the future. The Gantt view that we have in Control-M is like a project view. It is nice because we sometimes have some application maintenance that we need to do. So, in a single console, we can hold the jobs for the next hour or two. We can release that job when it is finished. This is a really nice feature that we didn't have before. It is something really simple, but we didn't previously have a console where we could say, "For the next two hours, what are the jobs that we will run? And, hold these jobs not to run." This is really important.""The product has improved dramatically over the years; it offers a lot in terms of features and capabilities and integration with third-party tools. A wide range of models available with the product is critical in reducing manual and mundane work such as custom script writing. This saves significant amounts of time and, by association, money for the organization.""Control-M is useful to automate all critical and non-critical processes. Using Control-M, we can automate application workflows as well as file transfers involved in application workflows. We can also use it to run batches related to applications. Automating these processes reduces the RTO and RPO, which helps in the case of failures. It also helps us to identify bottlenecks and take corrective measures.""BIM is helpful because we do not miss any SLAs, as we get to know the issue well in advance. It is the topmost service that has helped us provide better solutions for the business.""Control-M provides us with a unified view, where we can easily define, orchestrate, and monitor all our application workflows and data pipelines. It also provides the ability to filter. So, if I don't want to see everything, I can also narrow it down or open ViewPoint. This is very important since we have thousands of jobs to monitor. If we did not have this ability, it would be very difficult to see what is going on.""Our ability to integrate with many different solutions has been invaluable. The new approach of the automation API and jobs-as-code is also valuable."

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"The Security Plus feature of this solution is excellent, and allows you to send encrypted files very securely to remote destinations.""The most valuable feature is that it provides 100% reliability for file transmission. It ensures that files get delivered in a secure manner. When you use Connect:Direct, your file 100% gets delivered to the next delivery location. If the log shows that a file got delivered, it will have all the transmitted data without truncation or other data issues.""Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is a solution that is on the market for a very long time. There is an integrator that has been developed and evolves every year. On the roadmap, there is always a new integration. For example, it's one of the solutions in the market that out of the box can handle EBICS protocol. The file processing is done very well. By default, there are a lot of configurations that can be customized.""Offers secure file transfers with a fast and efficient protocol for very large files.""Security is the most valuable feature of this product.""The product has been very stable."

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"We don't have to do any coding. We just plug and play and it works.""What I found most beneficial from VisualCron is that you can directly connect it with different databases, user accounts, and credentials. You can run queries from one machine to another using the credentials, unlike PowerShell, that's run by the machine itself. With VisualCron, you can directly ask other machines and run requests through user credentials. Suppose you have an AWS or Azure environment. In that case, you can maintain the connection between on-premises and cloud-based machines, which is the type of setup in the organization I'm working for. You can directly call some of the services via VisualCron on your local on-premises machine, and I found that an excellent feature of the tool.""What I like about VisualCron is that like its name, it's a very visual tool. In my previous company, there were a lot of scripts for all kinds of services, and through VisualCron, you get to group all flows and get a nice visual overview. VisualCron also has an alerting feature, so you receive alerts from it. VisualCron makes everything clearer and easier to maintain. Every other solution that I was looking for almost always needed a programmer, but with VisualCron, you can do what you need to do without programming skills, so this is another valuable feature of the tool."

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Cons
"The MFT applications should have more functionality and flexibility within that tool. Having more flexibility with that tool for handling the one to many or many to one concept. Like being able to take data from one source and push it to many locations or pull data from many locations and bring it back into a single source. That's why we still use our TPS program for the file transfers just because we don't have some of those capabilities available to us within MFT.""They really need to work on improving the web interface, as there are still a lot of bugs... In general, they need to do a lot of work on shoring up their testing and quality assurance. A lot of bugs seem to make it into the product.""With earlier versions, the support was not accurate or delivered in a timely manner. What would happen is that I would be in production mode and I would have an issue and would want to get someone on a call to see what was happening. But they would always say, “Hey, provide the log first and then we'll review and we'll get back to you." I feel that when a customer asks about a production issue, they should jump onto the call to see what is going on, and then collect the logs.""For installing or upgrading the PeopleSoft and SAP plugins, currently there is no way to do it via Control-M Configuration Manager. So, we are installing or upgrading the plugins, like PeopleSoft and SAP, manually. If BMC could provide an option via Control-M Configuration Manager to upgrade these plugins, it probably would reduce a lot of manual work as well as ease our work. This is one improvement that I personally want to see, because it would help our way of working.""The stability could be improved. I ran into an issue with a recent Control-M patch. The environment would become unstable if security ports were scanned. This is an area they need to improve on, but ultimately it's a relatively small improvement.""A lot of the areas of improvement revolve around Automation API because that area is constantly evolving. It is constantly changing, and it is constantly being updated. There are some bugs that are introduced from one version to the next. So, the regression testing doesn't seem to capture some of the bugs that have been fixed in prior versions, and those bugs are then reintroduced in later versions.""Everybody's biggest gripe is the reporting capability option. It is a gripe because there is a lot of information in Control-M, but the solution doesn't have a good reporting tool to extract that information. Now, if you want all that information, you need to rely on another third-party BI tool to extract the information out of Control-M.""Control-M reporting isn't that good. It is very limited. We would like the ability to create our own reports as well as the ability to publish dashboards in the cloud, which would help us. Improved reporting will help us determine statuses and get the answers that we need. However, I personally think BMC is not focusing on the reporting. I have even visited the BMC office in India, and asked, "Why haven't you improved the reporting?""

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"They have File Agent, which is an additional utility and a component of Connect:Direct, for automated file transmission. In that utility, there is some issue with the file name. There is a limitation on the file name, and that is being fixed by IBM.""This solution cannot be deployed on a root_squash NFS, which limits superuser privileges.""Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct could improve by adding some of the functionality that some other vendors have. For example, GoAnywhere has call agents, which are small clients that can be installed on the endpoints and can be handled by the central point on the server. If I want to do this with the IBM solution, I have to sell a lot of account addresses. The price could be unprofitable for the customer. There is some small functionality that could be implemented and could be easily done to improve this solution.""User interface is not user friendly.""The user interface could be more user-friendly.""The user interface needs to be improved.""Technical support is the number one concern."

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"The only problem I face when I use the tool is that it doesn't contain much documentation or it doesn't have many video tutorials on its features.""I want to improve the UI in VisualCron, as it's not as user-friendly, particularly when setting up the task scheduler. If you're familiar with the tool, then no problem, but if not, you'll have a problem typing text because sometimes, the cursor points to other places, so there's an issue with text box alignment in VisualCron. That was painful for me when I was just a VisualCron novice, but when you become used to it, there won't be a problem.""An area for improvement in VisualCron is its cluttered interface. It isn't always easy to find all functionalities, so what VisualCron needs is a user interface expert who can improve the interface. There's a learning curve in terms of finding what you need from the interface of VisualCron. The technical support for VisualCron also needs improvement in terms of response time. Currently, there's no live support or hotline you can call to get quick answers, so this is what I'd like to see in the next version of VisualCron. A less cluttered and more streamlined interface, where you don't need to hunt for some of the features, is also what I'd like to see in the next VisualCron update."

More VisualCron Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The cost is basically $100 a job, give or take."
  • "This is an area where it is a little difficult to work with BMC. They want to do licenses by job, which is what we have. For example, the simplest is to license by job, but they can also license by nodes. While the licensing is simple to use, it might not be the correct licensing model for the customer. It is okay because we want to license by job, which is something measurable. At the end of the day, licensing by job is the most important."
  • "The cost of the hardware is high. Because you need to license each job, it is costly."
  • "You're going to spend a lot of money upfront, but the benefits you're going to get out of it are going to quickly pay for it."
  • "Initially, our licensing model was based on the number of jobs per day. That caused some issues because we were restricted to a number. So at our renewal time we said, 'We want to convert from number of jobs to number of endpoints.' That cost us extra money but it gave us additional capabilities, without worrying about the number of jobs."
  • "BMC's price is based on the number of jobs."
  • "You must accept that BMC licensing can be very confusing. No one can easily understand how they calculate things, whether it is user-based, job-based, or server-based. The calculation is quite tough. How BMC calculates licensing is not easily available anywhere."
  • "There are human costs in addition to the standard pricing and licensing of this solution."
  • More Control-M Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Annual licensing fee."
  • "The price and licensing of Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is expensive."
  • More Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "VisualCron is correctly priced because it wasn't very cheap, and it wasn't overly expensive, so the price for it was set correctly. When my previous company bought VisualCron, it was €800 per server per year. On a scale of one to five, I would rate the pricing for VisualCron a five because it was just right. The tool was affordable, and it has one of the most competitive pricing in the market."
  • More VisualCron Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Control-M acts as a single, centralized interface for monitoring and managing all batch processes, which is helpful… more »
    Top Answer:Hi! I don't know the "Oracle DAC Scheduler", but I can say that in most competitive solutions Control-m stands out in… more »
    Top Answer:It is controlling our workflows, ingesting data, and then putting it up into our database platforms. In turn, those are… more »
    Top Answer:The product has been very stable.
    Top Answer:This is the cheapest of the product's line of solutions. Their licensing model is based upon the size of the hardware… more »
    Top Answer:The user interface needs to be improved. It's very rarely used. Technical support is difficult to work with. I would… more »
    Top Answer:The ability to clone jobs to shorten the time it takes to implement a process has been invaluable, but its flexibility… more »
    Top Answer:The pricing is extremely fair, and because of that, I recommend purchasing multiple instances to split out the… more »
    Top Answer:VisualCron seems to operate like an efficient machine when it comes to improvements and enhancements and new features. I… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Control M
    Learn More
    Overview

    Control-M simplifies application and data workflow orchestration on premises or as a service. It makes it easy to build, define, schedule, manage, and monitor production workflows, ensuring visibility, reliability, and improving SLAs.

    • Accelerate new business applications into production—by embedding workflow orchestration into your CI/CD pipeline
    • Scale Dev and Ops collaboration, with a Jobs-as-Code approach
    • Simplify workflows across hybrid and multi-cloud environments with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform integrations
    • Deliver data-driven outcomes faster, managing big data workflows in a scalable way
    • Take control of your file transfer operations with integrated, intelligent file movement and visibility

    IBM's Sterling Connect:Direct is a software product that offers security-hardened, point-to-point file transfers to reduce reliance on insecure File Transfer Protocol (FTP) transmissions. It is designed for high-volume file distribution within and between businesses. The solution guarantees more reliable file movement, from batch integration and movement of large images or catalogs to synchronization with distant sites. Sterling Connect:Direct also enables hybrid cloud deployment through certified containers, allowing for simple and consistent deployment lifecycle management.

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Features

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Performance capabilities such as extraordinary scalability and low latency.
    • Automated, dependable file transmission that permits unattended, round-the-clock operations.
    • Designed to run on a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, IBM z/OS, OpenVMS, i5/OS, and HP NonStop.
    • Advanced security features with cutting-edge encryption to meet regulatory and industry standards.
    • IBM certified containers for Sterling Connect:Direct are enterprise-grade, secure product editions that are scalable, secure, easy to install, and manage update and rollback processes. They also have integrated common software services for consistent deployment lifecycle management.
    • Boosts transfer speed for large files over high-speed networks by up to four times the previous speed while reducing latency.
    • Gives existing FTP transfers the ability to retry, checkpoint, and compress existing transfers.
    • Supports a variety of network protocols, including TCP/IP, Systems Network Architecture (SNA), and an optional high-speed add-on based on Aspera FASP technology.

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • High performance: Takes care of your most demanding workloads, including multi-gigabyte files to large volumes of small files.
    • Reliable file delivery: To help ensure predictable, assured file delivery, it offers automated scheduling, checkpoint restart, and automatic recovery.
    • Secure transmission of files: Maintains the confidentiality of customer information and supports regulatory compliance measures.
    • Speed up patching and installation: By deploying your solution with a certified container that contains all necessary components, you can drastically cut installation and patch time from hours to minutes.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its robust file processing and its security for file transfers. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:

    Michele I., Business Unit Manager at Innovery, writes of the solution, “The file processing is done very well. By default, there are a lot of configurations that can be customized. Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is one of the stronger MFT solutions in the market, it is available in each type of installation, and offers SaaS, PaaS, YaaS, on-premise.”

    Camilo M., Pre-sales Engineer at Dell EMC, mentions, “It's a great tool because it offers secure file transfers and it has a fast and efficient protocol for very large files.”

    VisualCron combines many features into one product. Through scheduling you can set your Jobs to run on a specific time or event. The Tasks in each Job automate scripts and eliminate human errors. Through various Tasks you can integrate different systems through file transfer and conversion.

    Offer
    Learn more about Control-M
    Learn more about Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct
    Learn more about VisualCron
    Sample Customers
    CARFAX, Tampa General Hospital, Navistar, Amadeus, Raymond James, Railinc
    HZMO, Bank of Communications
    7 Eleven, ABB Sécheron SA, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Amazon Europe Core, Apple, Assa Abloy, Aston Martin, Banco Santander, BMW (Australia)
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm32%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Retailer8%
    Healthcare Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm25%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Insurance Company9%
    Comms Service Provider5%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm36%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Comms Service Provider7%
    Government7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Insurance Company7%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business12%
    Midsize Enterprise9%
    Large Enterprise79%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business14%
    Midsize Enterprise9%
    Large Enterprise77%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business9%
    Midsize Enterprise7%
    Large Enterprise83%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Large Enterprise57%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise58%
    Buyer's Guide
    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs. VisualCron
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs. VisualCron and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    657,849 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is ranked 8th in Managed File Transfer (MFT) with 6 reviews while VisualCron is ranked 12th in Managed File Transfer (MFT) with 3 reviews. Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is rated 8.6, while VisualCron is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct writes "Customizable, beneficial file processing, and overall good support". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VisualCron writes "Has many features and plugins but it's not easy to set up". Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is most compared with IBM Sterling File Gateway, AWS Transfer for SFTP, BMC Control-M Managed File Transfer, Aspera Managed File Transfer and MOVEit, whereas VisualCron is most compared with Microsoft Power Automate, UiPath, WinAutomation by Softomotive, ActiveBatch Workload Automation and OpCon. See our Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs. VisualCron report.

    See our list of best Managed File Transfer (MFT) vendors.

    We monitor all Managed File Transfer (MFT) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.