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Buyer's Guide
Process Automation
July 2022
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JonFredrickson - PeerSpot reviewer
JDE Manager at Oshkosh Corporation
Real User
Top 5
Allows us to use one scheduler for multiple instances, helps us to recover from an issue much more effectively, and is extremely flexible
Pros and Cons
  • "I like the fact that I have control, and I am able to monitor. If there is an issue, I would be able to respond to any jobs that may fail. With any other scheduler that I know of, a lot of times, when I have a very complex script, if there is an issue in the middle of it, I have to let the whole process fail and then figure out a way to recover from it, whereas Tidal will stop the process, and I can resolve that issue. Once I resolve the issue, I can continue the process. This is very important for invoicing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, or any kind of financial reporting. It allows you to recover from an issue much more effectively than anything else that I have seen."
  • "My complaint about their pricing model is that every year or every time technology changes or somebody has a new requirement, it usually means that I can schedule that with Tidal, but I would need another adapter. So, every time there is a change, I need a different adapter that I don't have. That's why it is harder to plan for Tidal growth because you have to buy a new adapter every time."

What is our primary use case?

We have multiple ERP systems, and we use it to schedule all of our jobs in those systems. Our biggest use case for Tidal is to automate jobs that we submit through our JD Edwards ERP. 

We also have a lot of integrations using FTP file events to move files around, and we are also using the software to automate all of our manual stopping and starting of services and patching of systems.

How has it helped my organization?

Our MRP job stream is very complex, and it has a mission-critical report that needs to run on a daily basis. One of the first things that Tidal gave us was visibility into that report so that we would know how long it runs, and we would be able to monitor it. If there were any issues, we could resolve the issues and not affect the next day's manufacturing because we took care of the issue. 

Awas that the team had a requirement that they needed to submit multiple jobs after a single job ran. They would put them all into one big single-threaded queue, and all those jobs that were dependent on that first job would get queued up and they would run single-threaded. That's because, with jobs, you can't go from single-threaded to multi-threaded and back. With Tidal, we are able to have one job run. As soon as that job is done, we can submit about a hundred jobs. Those hundred jobs spawn and do hundreds of other jobs. After all those jobs are done, we have another single-threaded single job. We would've never been able to handle such complexity with any other scheduler that I know of. So, we are able to solve the business' needs and improve the performance of MRP just by going to Tidal.

Another example is that a lot of times, the jobs were submitted every five minutes. If you asked the reason for that, the answer was that a file might show up, and as soon as that file shows up, I want to kick off the process, and process that file. We changed it from every five-minute job. It now only submits when that file shows up. Using file events removed the confusion of when that job is going to run where somebody would go out there and submit it, and if it was every five minutes, they'd have to wait for five minutes. Now, they submit it, or they put the file out there, and within a minute, they get a response back that says, "We're done with the job, and it is processed." They were surprised at how that was possible. It is just a file event, and it only runs when it is needed. It is not run every five minutes. So, we don't have all this extra processing time or extra jobs out there doing absolutely nothing because there is nothing to do. So, that's another way it has changed the business.

It has made things more efficient. We went from one set of jobs running every five minutes to running just ten times a day, which was the max I had seen that job run. So, we've seen the need go down because we're able to be more efficient with the jobs that need to be processed. An increase in the number of jobs would only be because we've been able to take more jobs that someone was manually submitting. We showed them how to set up the process in Tidal, and all of a sudden, with Tidal, it is just easier to automate it.

We use the Dashboards feature. We have opened up Tidal. Previously, a lot of our other schedulers were very much IT-only. We're the ones who got in there and created weekly jobs, whereas now, we've pushed some of that functionality back to the business. They go out there and submit a job. We taught them how to schedule to submit that job, and then, they maintain that job. If there is an issue, we monitor it for them and help them to resolve it, which makes it much more of a team effort between the business and IT, rather than just IT supporting these jobs.

It is very easy to use the Dashboards feature. Basically, they log in and see their dashboards, and/or they can see all the jobs that are running. One of the key things that we need to do is secure it. I can't have somebody log in and see another system's jobs for two main reasons. The first one is that it would be confusing, and the second one is that I can't have that. I need to have it secured. So, on top of it being easy, it is also very secure where when they log in, they only see their set of jobs and their dashboards.

The Dashboards feature gives information about a job’s status. A lot of times, when there is an issue with a job, this is the starting point to figure out what the issue was. You can then go and see job logs. A lot of times people call and say, "I have a job, and when is it going to be done?" With Tidal, it is very easy to go look at Tidal and say, "This is when it started, or this is the expected time it is supposed to start, and here is the average that it has done for all the other jobs that it has run." So, there is a lot of information that people can get at this all-in-one spot. If they had to manually go look at it, they would've to go to multiple different spots to get all the information. Even then, how you read the data isn't exactly consistent? For example, I submit a job, but it goes into waiting status. According to JD Edwards, it is running, and then, at some point, it'll go into processing status. That's the actual time that it takes to run. If you look at the start time and the stop time, that'll be two hours. If you look at the amount of time it really took to process, it would be only about 10 minutes. It could have spent the rest of the time waiting. That's where Tidal gives you the ability to see the actual processing time of how long it is going to take to run.

The Dashboards feature offers self-service for business users with customized content. As it has become available, it has been used much more. They never had it before. So, they didn't know what they didn't have. Now that we're able to give it to them, they're liking what they see. Being able to customize it gives them more flexibility in what they want to see.

Tidal has a lot of adapters. We use the SQL adapter. We use it to connect to an iSeries. We use it to connect to FTP. We use it to connect to all of our Windows Servers. There is also an agent for ServiceNow. We don't use that yet, but one of our future plans is to use it. We have JD Edwards ReportsNow that, instead of using ReportsNow scheduler, is using Tidal for scheduling jobs and reporting. The power of Tidal is the fact that I can have one scheduler to schedule everything. I don't have to have a scheduler on each one of these systems. I can, but then I have to maintain it on all of those systems. Having it on one, and being able to control everything, makes integrations a lot easier because I can stop processes, do patching, and bring processes back up. If it is all in one system, it is nicer and easier to do.

It is very easy to integrate it with other technologies and processes. A lot of times, there are a couple of different ways to do the same thing, such as with JD Edwards Orchestrator. We found three different ways to integrate into orchestrations. One was by running a command line that makes use of the SoapUI. They also have a web service that's more of a generic web service, and then, they came out and wrote a specific interface into orchestration so that we could schedule orchestrations through Tidal. Because there are so many different ways to do it, that means it is pretty flexible. It was fairly easy to figure out a way to do it and test it. When they came out with the actual adapter for JD Edwards Orchestrator, that made it super easy.

Another big advantage is the fact that when we schedule a job we know that it will submit, and if there are any errors we will be notified and able to resolve them. That way we're being proactive instead of reactive.

If there's an error with a job, there is an alert with a PDF. In that alert, we can customize messaging to assist people in resolving it. If there is a specific file location that they need to look at, we can put a link to that file location. If it's something with logs, we can attach the logs to the email so they have one place to start looking. We can even attach work instructions to that email notification: "Hey, if this job errors out and you received this email, here are the steps to resolve." People don't have to go looking for that information. They can just start resolving it right away.

Tidal has also definitely helped to reduce at-night hours. It's able to monitor itself. If a job fails, we're able to resolve the job and let the customer know, instead of the customer calling us and saying, "Some job failed. Go fix it," and having to research it. It could save my team about an hour's worth of work in each of those situations.

Overall, it saves us about 20 hours of work each week, hours where we would have been stuck trying to determine what the issue was instead of having an alert that tells us exactly what the issue is.

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that I have control, and I am able to monitor. If there is an issue, I am able to respond to any jobs that fail. With any other scheduler that I know of, a lot of times, when I have a very complex script and there is an issue in the middle of it, I have to let the whole process fail and then figure out a way to recover from it. Tidal, on the other hand, will stop the process and I can resolve that issue. Once I resolve the issue, I can continue the process. This is very important for invoicing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, or any kind of financial reporting. It allows you to recover from an issue much more effectively than anything else that I have seen.

It is extremely easy to automate using Tidal Automation. It is also extremely flexible. Sometimes, its flexibility leads to there being multiple ways to do the same thing. You can do it one way where it is easy and they will often create an adapter that makes it even easier. You get more metrics out of it by using an adapter that has been created for a particular task. An example would be the JD Edwards adapter. I could submit a job by just using a command line, which is easy to use, or I could use the adapter that costs more money but is easier to use. It is more robust in terms of error reporting and letting me know when there is an issue or when it has completed a job successfully, which is helpful in grabbing the logs or being able to do something with the output at the end of it.

I like the integrations they have with ServiceNow and J.D. Edwards. A selling point to me was the fact that they actually have a J.D. Edwards driver and that works the way it should.

What needs improvement?

My complaint about their pricing model is that every year, or every time technology changes or somebody has a new requirement, I need another adapter. While that usually means that I can schedule using that adapter, it is harder to plan for growth with Tidal because you have to buy a new adapter so often.

I've had this conversation with them. I wish the licensing was a little bit simpler, but I also understand what they're up against. Because there are a lot of different adapters that I don't need, maybe it is a good thing that I don't pay for all those adapters that I don't need. But when there is an adapter I do need, I have to pay for it. I wish the licensing was simpler for me, but I don't know if simpler for me would make it actually more cost-effective or simpler for them. It is a complaint, and/or it is a necessary evil. I love the fact that they seem to be a lot more receptive to looking at creating more adapters for different things that people seem to need. Once you prove that here is the need and here is the business that's going to need it, you definitely see it moving forward.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it overall for 12 years. At my current company, I have been using it for the last three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Our instability issues are more on the other systems that it is connecting to and not Tidal itself. Tidal does what it is supposed to do. We do have timeouts. When Tidal is trying to talk to our JD Edwards system, it times out. And every time we increase the timeout value on the E1 side, it seems to resolve that issue for a little bit. Overall, Tidal itself is pretty reliable, but what it is connecting to is what gives us reliability issues, if we see any.

In fact, we ran across a case where Tidal was too smart for us. It submitted a job and was detecting that the job wasn't acting correctly and kicked out an error, even though the job was actually completing. I took it to the developer and he was able to determine there was a problem with the code. Tidal was responding to that error, but we had never seen that before. I haven't seen any other system work as well Tidal's J.D. Edwards adapter does.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've been impressed with the scalability so far. In terms of the number of E1 systems that I connect to a single Tidal instance, I'm probably in the top 10. I don't think anybody else sets it up quite like this. It has been very flexible. I've been happy with the results that we've gotten.

It is deployed across eight different JD Edwards instances. They are separate JD Edwards systems. There are not a lot of people getting on it, but we do have a lot of reports being generated out of it.

How are customer service and support?

No one is perfect so I would rate them a nine out of ten. They are very willing to help you with any issue. If it is a training issue where I want to set up a script to do X and I just don't know how to do it, they're very much willing to sit down and help you figure out how to set up that script. When we've had a technical issue where Tidal just did something really weird, we have been able to call them and they have walked us through how to resolve what was going on. 

They are very responsive. They're willing to take ownership, even when they probably shouldn't take ownership. They're just extremely helpful.

Their knowledge is great. They definitely know their system. When you're trying to figure out something, they are usually able to help you with it. A couple of times, we've thrown them for loops where we've had an issue with getting a script to do a particular thing. They've done the research and come back and said that the adapter was not set up like that, and therefore, they would create a feature enhancement request. They have then called back and said that it would be in the next upgrade, and I have said, "I guess we're taking that next upgrade."

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There was the JD Edwards scheduler itself and we've also used Control-M. We've used Circular Edge's scheduler. I've even written a DOS command using a Windows scheduler to do all of my job processing. 

At the previous company where I first implemented Tidal, I was like, "Well, I have this free scheduler that does all of this." So, whatever I'm paying for has to be able to duplicate that. I have to be able to justify the cost. If it is going to cost X, what am I getting for X? With Tidal on that particular comparison, it came down to the fact that I would get the ability to report on things and the ability to easily recover from errors. As soon as the business was willing to say that recoverability and error reporting justify the cost, I was able to get them to pay for it.

Another scheduler that we were using was Robot. One of the things that Tidal has is a true JD Edwards adapter and I can schedule jobs into JD Edwards. With the JD Edwards tool, you can submit a JD Edwards job, but you can't really monitor it. I would submit a job and I cross my fingers and hope that it was really running. With Tidal, if there is an error, Tidal will respond back with the error and with the logs of why it failed. The integration is much tighter with Tidal and is probably the reason why I went with Tidal as opposed to any other scheduler. Every solution can schedule a job, so that's not a differentiator. Having an actual JD Edwards adapter is what differentiated them. Smart Scheduler is built into JD Edwards, but because it can only do one instance of JD Edwards. I have a bunch of instances of JD Edwards and didn't want to be tied to a Smart Scheduler for each JD Edwards instance. I wanted one Tidal scheduler that can do everything, and that's what we have right now. So, instead of my guy going to 11 different places to see if a job ran, he can go to one.

How was the initial setup?

I had a technician who did the installation of previous systems we used. When he would do the installation of those other systems, or an update to them, we would always have to hire a consultant to come in and help, whereas with Tidal, we have never had to hire a consultant to come in and help on any update. 

It is super easy to install and super easy to get up and running. I literally showed a colleague once how to create jobs. All you have to do is right-click and then copy and paste. You then make changes to it. He went ahead and did all the other jobs on the system. That was pretty much the level of my training for him. It is extremely easy to use and to set up and get running.

An employee of mine was actually upset with me that I had wasted his time with another product trying to get it to work. We spent over $40,000 having that other vendor come in, and we spent at least two weeks of my employee's time trying to get the integration to work with JD Edwards, the way it should, and ultimately we failed. We were able to do that same functionality within a day with Tidal, start to finish: Load the server, connect the adapter, and submit a job.

We have multiple segments or systems, so our implementation strategy was to get it up and running as a proof of concept on one of our systems and then use that system to show the other segment owners how it works, and what the benefits are. We start off with taking any new requests. For example, "Hey, we need this schedule change." We'll do it in Tidal and it will run there from now on. We'll go back and move all their old jobs over.

In terms of administering it, there is a document out there that walks you through how to install it, so we were able to do that. That document shows, at a high level, how to create different types of jobs. When you get down into the details, it becomes a little harder to know what exactly goes where. That takes a little bit of testing and trying and retrying. For brand-new users the documentation is really good and it gets you to know what you're doing. When you're going to try and do more complex stuff, that's when you start really wishing there was more training.

What about the implementation team?

We had one person to set up the servers for our whole server network infrastructure, and then my technician did the installation. We had someone from Tidal sit there with us while we did the installation, and then, I sat there and watched and answered any questions. So, there were three people involved in its installation including Tidal's installation assistant.

It was done in half a day. We were scheduling jobs and setting up personalizations. Within four hours of the conversation, Tidal's assistant was off the phone. Our interaction with him was great. He knew what he was doing. We got it up and running, and we were off to the races.

We spend eight hours a month on maintenance. That is just maintenance of the software. It depends on the number of jobs that you have out there, the number of jobs that you schedule, and the number of jobs that fail or just need a little massaging, but I can see requiring a full-time person just to maintain the software. I would almost make it two people so that there is redundancy, but again, it depends on the number of jobs and how critical your jobs are. We have eight ERP systems using this job scheduler meaning we have lots of jobs out there.

What was our ROI?

If I look at absolutely nothing else and just the licensing cost, I'm definitely saving money versus licensing Robot. I get a whole bunch of added features that I never had with Robot. 

We use it to do our patching and that brings down the cost of services and people. People don't have to sit there and do that manual work. It is automated. They just watch it. That definitely saves somebody from having to do work. So, instead of having four or five people on call over the weekend running all of these scripts manually, it is automated and I have one person watching to make sure it works. We've seen a great improvement. 

It is extremely important for our organization. For our MRP job stream, if Tidal can just once prevent an MRP issue from happening or let us recover from an MRP issue quickly, it has paid for itself. We would have paid for the software in just one instance of an outage. If I take that and multiply it against four other systems, I have the same situation. So, the software pays for itself over and over again on a yearly basis.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Their pricing seems very fair. It is more than the other solutions, but the functionality and the support are very much there. You pay for the job scheduler, and then they have certain things that are built into it, such as the FTP processes. If you then want to do JD Edwards jobs, you need an adapter. If you want to do SQL jobs, there is another adapter. Similarly, if you want to do Oracle jobs, there is an adapter. The way it's set up, there is the base and then there are the adapters for the jobs that you want to do, but it seems that's also how they pay for each of those adapters and keep them up to date.

When I first set Tidal up, it was just to schedule JD Edwards jobs. That's what I bought the license for, and then we also had these iSeries jobs. In order to do the iSeries jobs, I needed an iSeries adapter. Similarly, we have the SQL Server for which we wanted to schedule jobs. That's another adapter.  As the requirements change, it means another adapter. That makes it difficult for me to keep Tidal right-sized or right-licensed.  The licensing model is very fair, and it is very easy too. I understand their model. That's why every time someone says that we need to do this, I know that we can do it, but it would require another adapter. 

We also pay for maintenance. Budgeting-wise, that makes it very easy. My trouble with budgeting for it is related to the new features that come down the pipe. It is not really a budget issue from the Tidal side. It is more related to our project. We just have to make sure that in the project, we have money set aside to buy the adapters needed for that project. I wish I had a big enough Tidal setup so that I just had unlimited licensing, or I wish the unlimited licensing was cheap enough.

If you're not sure what license you need, Tidal will definitely give you a temporary license so that you can validate which license you need in order to get something to work, or how that adapter would work if you're trying to figure it out. They've been really great in that way.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

None of the other products I mentioned that we used was really good, once you submit a job, at indicating when that job finishes. A lot of them are submit-it-and-forget-it, so you really don't know if that next job can start running, because you don't know if the first job has finished running. And if there's an error that stops a script at a certain point, none of the others do a really good job of alerting you and then letting you try to determine the best next action.

Tidal enables you to FTP and to copy files from different locations. For any other third-party stuff that you may want to do, it is a true enterprise solution.

Also, the calendaring is much better in Tidal. The scripting is much better. You can integrate across multiple different systems and platforms. I don't know that any of the others can do that. I could literally run a job on one EnterpriseOne system, move that data over to the other one, and run another job on another system. I don't know how I would complete that task on any of the other systems, without having to run two separate jobs. Even then, how would I know that it's done before the other one started up? Tidal knows, "I can't run this until this other one is done."

What other advice do I have?

My biggest advice would be to review all of your jobs to determine why they have to run the way they run. For example, we had jobs that ran every five minutes. We started asking why they needed to run every five minutes, and we were able to change it from running every five minutes to only running when needed. Changing your every-five-minutes job to more of an on-demand or as-needed is a good use of Tidal. There is a lot of flexibility in Tidal to do more on-demand or as-needed things or event-based scheduling instead of just time-based.

It is extremely easy to use. We have developers, BAS technical people, and sometimes even a couple of non-technical people who make use of the interface. We give them a little bit of training, and from that training, they're able to go forth and do what they need to do. The only complexity I see is that the users can get hung up on the uncertainty of job statuses. For example, if I do X, what will the job status become? That's probably more an issue of comfort level than one of the simplicity of use. If I take a job that has errored out and I right-click it and resubmit it, while it is going to try to resubmit it, it will go to a processing status. Some people don't want to mess with that one. They want to insert a new one. You have to think about what you're trying to do, and there are dependencies. How complex you make the job schedule affects how people feel about the interface.

We are using its Graphical Views feature, such as Gantt, Kanban, and PERT, in the case of more complex processes, such as our MRP process. For some of the processes, it doesn't make a lot of sense because they're only run if needed and we don't need to see the Gantt side. So, it is used only when it is a highly complex process. For example, for a sales update process for doing invoicing at night, I could make use of the Gantt and other similar charts. Our MRP process is a very complex and long-running job. We use it for that, but for the rest of the jobs, it is not really used.

Don't feel ashamed that you'll wonder why you waited so long. I've used so many other products, gotten them up and running, but I don't know of any other product that works as easily as Tidal does for scheduling jobs for J.D. Edwards. I'm sure there are other people who use Tidal for other stuff, but J.D. Edwards is what I mostly know. I think it's the only scheduler you should use if you run J.D. Edwards.

The biggest lesson I've learned using Tidal is don’t wait so long. It took me five years to convince my boss that he should let me buy Tidal. He even brought in another product, and I sat there the entire time I was getting that other product up and running, saying, "I sure wish I had Tidal." Another lesson learned is to be prepared because the more people see the functionality and the abilities of Tidal, the faster they're going to want to make use of it.

Another lesson learned is that it is truly a product that the end-user can run instead, of IT supporting it. To me, it's no different than somebody logging into production and submitting a job in production. Why shouldn't they be able to submit it through Tidal? If I can give them an easy way to do that, all the better.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten. Tidal is our product of choice at the moment. If we're going to automate something, we're going to use Tidal to automate it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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YvetteCarpenter - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Operations Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Enabled us to consolidate jobs run by many tools into one solution, but there are some scenarios we haven't been able to automate
Pros and Cons
  • "Our company is based on data. Everything we do is data-driven, so it has been very valuable having one place where we can process all of the data and do batch schedules with chunks of data."
  • "JAMS handles exceptions fairly well but there are some areas where it might improve a little bit. It has to do with being able to automatically handle exceptions, out-of-the-box, rather than having to code them."

What is our primary use case?

We started with basic tasks because we were bringing things over from Windows Task Scheduler. We didn't have a whole lot of dependencies at that point. We have gotten much more detailed in our scheduling requirements since. We use what are currently called JAMS Setups, which in the new version are called Sequence Jobs, quite a bit, especially for our enterprise data analytics team. We do some pretty complex scheduling scenarios.

We also use it for holiday calendars that impact our scheduling and for multiple regular scenarios, such as dependencies on a file or another job or another Setup. 

Overall, we use it for basic, normal enterprise-scheduling solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

We've been able to automate a lot of processes that were done manually before. We're not a huge company, and we're a fairly new company, so a lot of things were being done before in Task Scheduler or in a homegrown solution called Batch Nucleus. They were also in cron and in SaaS. They were all over the place. Being able to consolidate all of that into this one enterprise scheduling solution allows us to put dependencies on different jobs between different systems. It also allows us to monitor everything from one place and gives us the ability to do some exception handling. We have unlimited licensing with JAMS and we have hundreds of environments that we have agents on and do testing on. Having one location that we can monitor everything from, and handle all the exceptions from, is critical.

We've automated our critical processes, which used to be done manually through an external product and that means we don't have to worry quite so much about manual, human error.

Because we have gone from a lot of manual processes to automated processes with JAMS, we have been able to free up IT staff time. We're not spending 30 minutes doing something manually that JAMS can do in five minutes. It has freed up IT resources, but it has also sped up our processing times. For just the Technical Operations Center team that I manage, it has saved about 20 hours a week.

JAMS has also helped eliminate “data slack” across our applications. All of our enterprise data analytics is done through JAMS, so being able to access things like Teradata, Hadoop, and Snowflake cloud solutions for data integration is important. Our company is based on data. Everything we do is data-driven, so it has been very valuable having one place where we can process all of the data and do batch schedules with chunks of data. It's been a good tool for that. Having current data ready to go when our users need it is extremely critical because we are a FinTech company. We have to be able to pull data instantaneously to make decisions. Otherwise, our customer base is reduced and there are also compliance issues. We have both financial and legal obligations to our partner companies, so that data has to be up-to-date and ready to go when they request it.

What is most valuable?

I've used a lot of the other scheduling packages in the past. The most valuable feature of JAMS is the ease of being able to update parameters on-the-fly. Also, their monitoring and historical views are pretty robust.

We are also able to go into a job that is inside of a Setup and say, "Turn this one off for a while," by using the Except clause.

Another useful functionality is being able to pass parameters and variables between different jobs, and different steps in a job, or a Setup.

What needs improvement?

JAMS handles exceptions fairly well but there are some areas where it might improve a little bit. It has to do with being able to automatically handle exceptions, out-of-the-box, rather than having to code them. I'd also like to be able to do different things, based on what the actual exception is. In our current version, there's a placeholder where you should be able to do some things along those lines, but we've never actually been able to get it to work. I've seen in the 7.x versions that that has been fixed.

In terms of automation, there are some scenarios that we're still working on trying to automate and we just haven't been able to find an applicable solution through JAMS for those yet. I'm excited to see, once we get to that point, if we can do those things in the newer version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using JAMS in June of 2016. I was in charge of taking all of our disparate scheduling systems and converting everything into the JAMS scheduling package. I have used it from the ground up.

Right now we're on-prem, but we are going to want to go to the cloud sometime next year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the five years that I have worked on JAMS, I have never had it crash.

The fat client on your machine, for the 6.5 version, is not really reliable. It can slow down and it can get hung and you have to restart it. But with JAMS itself, the only issues we've had were when we didn't get the license key updated on time. For the most part, JAMS has been a very steady, reliable tool.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Because we have unlimited licensing, it has been extremely scalable for us. We can put agents on whatever servers and environments that we need to, fairly quickly and easily. We now have that set up as an automated process. So it's extremely scalable, based on the pricing model and how many agents you're allowed.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is an area in which JAMS has come a long way. When I first started with them, they didn't have any kind of training. The way it worked was that if we had a question, we would call their support team and there might be some back-and-forth trying to figure out how to get what we needed. But they now have JAMS University where you can go to a boot camp and learn more about the product. 

And their support is pretty good and pretty responsive. They get back to you fairly quickly and they usually have a good solution to whatever your issue is. And while they have generally been responsive, there have been several times when getting an answer has taken several weeks, instead of being able to get a really quick answer. I would rate JAMS support at seven out of 10, but I wouldn't give more than an eight for the support for any product that I've worked with. That makes a seven a high mark, for me.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

How was the initial setup?

We spun off from another company, and that other company used Control-M. When we went our own way, we didn't bring Control-M with us. The scheduling solutions that we were using before were Task Scheduler, a homegrown solution, and SQL Server Agent jobs, things that aren't necessarily true enterprise scheduling solutions.

In our migration to JAMS, we had to refactor some of the code, but that's because of the way that it was coded before. SQL Server Agent and Task Scheduler were pretty easy to migrate because there is actually a conversion routine where you can log in to a machine from JAMS and just say, "Go pull the job and convert it." It would automatically convert it, and we would just have to do some cleanup. That part was easy. But when it came to some of our other stuff, we pretty much had to build it from scratch.

I was the only person working on the migration back then, so it took about a year and a half to get everything over, but a lot of that was because we were having to go find things that were being scheduled on these other boxes. Some 80 percent of it was done within the first four to six months.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

JAMS is close to the lower end of the pricing models for enterprise scheduling solutions. They are much cheaper than Control-M, as well as some other products that I've used.

I also don't know of another solution where you can actually get true, unlimited licensing, where you can have as many instances and as many agents as you want. That has been a godsend for us because we have environments that we spin up and take down on-demand. There are times when we have hundreds of environments going at one time. Having that lower-cost model has been really good for us, while still being able to get the functionality that we need from the tool.

Maintenance and additional features are all included in the yearly cost, and that cost is still much cheaper than what you would pay for maintenance for another product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The one that I had used most recently, and the longest, was BMC Control-M. It is an extremely robust product that has the ability to do some things that our current version of JAMS cannot do. For example, Control-M has the ability to truly diagram out what the flow looks like, from within the tool. My understanding, after having talked to my scheduling analyst, is that that feature is coming up in a future version of JAMS, which is cool.

Control-M also has the ability to do batch impact analysis, and to put a job at the end of a job flow that says that if anything in the job flow breaks, provide an alert. JAMS has the functionality to do that in the current version, but you have to code it. If you want to say, "If this job fails, I want this other job to run to fix it, and then come back and do this other job," you have to code it. But I believe, again, in the newer versions, it's easier to do that type of flow by using Sequence Jobs. That's the biggest area where I felt JAMS really needed to improve, in automatically handling issues, and they've come a long way.

Control-M enables you to send different types of notifications based on the output, which is also a feature that's coming up in the 7.0 version of JAMS.

JAMS has taken quite a few of the recommendations that we gave them and has built them into their newer versions of JAMS. It has been an exciting journey for us to be able to have a lot of input into how the product works.

What other advice do I have?

I'm really excited that we're trying to upgrade to the 7.x version, because it's so much better. But it's a huge change to go from the 6.0 version to the 7.0 version. The tool looks completely different. It works differently, with different ways to do things, so there is a big learning curve. Since our developers build their own jobs in the lower-level environments, it's going to be a big learning curve for our entire company to start using the most current version.

We've defined our complex scheduling scenarios the way that JAMS works in our current version, but in the future version that's going to be much easier. That version has the ability to create multiple schedules on the same job, instead of having multiple jobs with different schedules doing the same thing.

In terms of the upgrade process, we have multiple instances, including development, stage, and production. We've been trying to build a test environment and we have been doing a lot of our tests there. For our actual cut-over and conversion to the newest version, we are being told that we can actually upgrade in-place, instead of having to do a conversion of our database. We're going to take a two- to three-week freeze on any scheduling updates and on adding anything new. Then we'll convert our development instance and train all of our developers on how to use it and what the differences are. We'll let them test. Then we'll upgrade our stage environment and let them test on that. As soon as all of that looks good, we'll do an upgrade of our production system.

We will be working with HelpSystems on the upgrade when we get a little bit closer to it. At this point we're still trying to figure out exactly when we're going to be able to do it. But we have asked them multiple questions and gotten a lot of good feedback from them.

In terms of saving time when troubleshooting stalled jobs, JAMS could do that. But we don't have all of our code set to send the output from a job back to JAMS. So in a lot of instances, we're still having to dig into the system, like Informatica, to get that log back and find out what's wrong. That is something that we, as a company, need to improve. It's not a lack of functionality on the part of JAMS.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Systems Supervisor at FIS
MSP
Everything is centralized into a single location, making things easier
Pros and Cons
  • "It made things easier. Before, there were five to 10 different software solutions spread out over 10 different servers. Now, everything is being centralized into one location; facilitating, supporting, maintaining, training people, etc. There have been gains just because Globalscape EFT is more efficient at moving things around than our previous other applications. For instance, if I am connecting to someone over the Internet or transmitting for the client, the speed of transmitting those files through SFTP is 20% to 30% faster than our previous automated solution. Therefore, we have seen time savings."
  • "In the beginning, it could be considered a bit challenging."

What is our primary use case?

FIS provides software and network services for financial institutions. We mostly use the solution for fire transfers; internal to FIS and clients, and from clients.

We are not the only FIS group who uses Globalscape Managed File Transfer (EFT). There are two other groups within FIS with totally separate groups and environments from us who also use Globalscape EFT.

It resides on our virtual servers. 

How has it helped my organization?

When it comes down to bank and traditional requirements, 90% of our transfers can just utilize Globalscape's plain vanilla options. However, for some of the stuff, we need to get creative using PowerShell scripts and the Advanced Workflow Engine (AWE) Module of Globalscape. You can do massive scripting within the AWE Module. Some of our transfers definitely require this. So, this was something that we evaluated when we were getting Globalscape: Its ability to have an out-of-the-box solution for us to deal with more complex jobs. This solution has allowed us to script more complex transfers, not just plain vanilla ones, from point A to point B.

What is most valuable?

It has the capability to smoothly handle high volumes.

I find it easy to use and understand. I have been working with transmissions for a while. Once you know where to go for what you need, it is fairly easy to get used to it. There is an initial learning curve, but nothing major. 

Globalscape EFT provides advanced controls, alerting, and reporting for security and compliance. We deal with financial institutions and other people's money, so these features are very important.

In the application, we use it by domain groups. Only certain admin groups have access to the application, which is important to us.

The solution’s centralized platform for the management of file transfer operations is very handy and valuable. It has everything in a location where others can connect, then perform implementations, new jobs, support, etc.

In some cases, we use Globalscape EFT to automate the submission of regulatory documentation. This has been an important feature for us.

I am running a version back. We are in the process of upgrading to 8.0, which has some good features. You can set up a data set so you can read it and consolidate transmissions. They also added a zip capability to the remote agent. There is a lot of good stuff on 8.0.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for about four years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have had some concerns/issues in the past, but it is now easy to add a new node. You can increase your scale by adding nodes to your cluster, and that is not a humongous task. It is a very simple process, so you can increase your horsepower easily.

We have two nodes.

There are approximately 15 users on and off, including a handful of senior folks and staff who set it up, doing the day-to-day tasks/jobs, adjustments, or support. The administration of the entire platform falls onto three or four people.

How are customer service and support?

They are very knowledgeable. I don't have many complaints as far as Globalscape stepping up to the plate and helping us when we have had some crunches for various reasons. We rely on them. We like the knowledge that they bring to the table.

Sometimes you get someone who is not as knowledgeable as you want, but depending on how critical things are, they have no issues escalating per our request to get someone more senior. Therefore, I would rate them as eight out of 10.

Globalscape is willing to meet you halfway. They listen to us about whether it would be cool to have something, then they take it to developers. It is not something that we will get right away. However, they listen to us as far as what could be added on as well as what benefits or works for a lot of their clients, including us.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The solution provides efficiency and stability versus our previous software, as something always breaks with transmissions, e.g., file not having the right name, folder not existing, or connectivity. This is why this solution's efficiency, reliability, and stability are the biggest pluses for us. 

Before we had around 10 different sites and 10 different platforms running on each site, this has allowed us to start migrating everything over to Globalscape EFT and have a centralized software handling everything. 

Comparing Globalscape EFT to our previous solutions is a hard comparison. The other solutions were cheaper, but they didn't give us the peace of mind to go to bed and know that we were going to have a good night of sleep, which we get with Globalscape EFT. For Managed File Transfer to have issues, that is rare.

We use it with most of our clients. There are other transmission groups within FIS who use other solutions, such as MOVEit or Control-M. For the internal groups that I support, we definitely use Globalscape Managed File Transfer. It is the standard transmission solution for the applications that I support.

We have a couple resources who know Linux. However, having it specially designed for Windows is easier to support as well as train employees when they come aboard so they can contribute right away. We also use Connect:Direct, which is NDM and has Linux and Windows versions, and chose their Windows version for the same reasons. 

How was the initial setup?

In the beginning, it could be considered a bit challenging. If you have experience with other platforms and dealing with transmission for a few years before getting into Globalscape, then it is just a matter of learning which buttons to push, e.g., where they are. Therefore, it didn't take us long to be able to support it without having to call Globalscape all the time.

It was a process to deploy because it was a robust, high availability, active-active environment. It wasn't your simple standalone. While the installation took a weekend, the preparation for the actual deployment day took at least a few months. The preparation accounts for server building, installing stuff on servers, getting SQL servers set up, and ensuring the network and firewalls have all the requirements for the application to work. 

We are getting close to the end. There is some stuff still out there that needs to be migrated.

What about the implementation team?

In the beginning, we had to rely on Globalscape to help us with the initial install. We also had some classes where we learnt as we went. This was just because we didn't know much about how things worked in Globalscape EFT.

What was our ROI?

It made things easier. Before, there were five to 10 different software solutions spread out over 10 different servers. Now, everything is being centralized into one location; facilitating, supporting, maintaining, training people, etc. There have been gains just because Globalscape EFT is more efficient at moving things around than our previous other applications. For instance, if I am connecting to someone over the Internet or transmitting for the client, the speed of transmitting those files through SFTP is 20% to 30% faster than our previous automated solution. Therefore, we have seen time savings.

We have been able to free my time by assigning easier things to set up and maintain to different levels of resources. By having them handle the easier things, then I don't have to deal with them anymore. I just stick with the more complex things.

As far as the efficiency and reliability of the application and its capability of handling high volumes and being stable, you cannot put a price on that with the business that we handle.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Maintenance and services for Globalscape EFT have an annual price tag, and it is not cheap. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were looking for a more robust software to handle the growth that we had planned. A few years back, we knew there was a lot coming. With trust lacking in our previous software, we looked at other software in the market, i.e., competitors to Globalscape, and then we ended up selecting Globalscape Managed File Transfer as our go-to.

The last two horses in the race were Globalscape and MOVEit. There is a different group in FIS who already uses MOVEit. We had heard of some issues, mostly related to databases. Therefore, we thought (by going with Globalscape) that we would not go down the route. That was the key differentiator.

What other advice do I have?

It is a very good application. I would rate it as eight out of 10.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Marcos L. Domingos - PeerSpot reviewer
Support Analyst, Lead at Sonda IT
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good integration, responsive support, and a short learning curve
Pros and Cons
  • "The monitoring and troubleshooting features are rich and with the dashboards and other features, automation work is made easier."
  • "In most of the packages available, it took time to study and gain knowledge of the features and resources due to poor documentation."

What is our primary use case?

We have several corporate solutions that need to be integrated with our ITSM products.

Automic facilitates integration to ensure the correct execution of ITIL process workflows. The first was to create service offerings for provisioning virtual machines in both private and public cloud environments.

The creation of virtual machines would have to contemplate the current process of changes, releases, and configurations. Our service catalog should make service offerings available; these involved diverse operating systems, different hardware configurations, and some functioning web services.

An approval process would also be contemplated, where the main steps would be the registration and closing of the change tickets, as well as the registration and deactivation of the generated configuration items.

How has it helped my organization?

We have several solutions, but we opted for Automic following the natural evolution of CA Process Automation. The fact that it has native integration with ITSM solutions was also an important factor in the decision. Due to the various possible integrations, all of them need to be in accordance with the ITIL process. This would facilitate the actions that would come in order to implement a DevOps culture in the organization.

The service support is acceptable and response times are fast, whether from the manufacturer itself or from partners.

What is most valuable?

Due to the fact that we have several solutions to be integrated into the ITSM processes, the possibility of having multiple client areas is important because it favors organizing integrations and automations.

We have other products from Broadcom (CA Technologies) in operation, and integration with these products was very smooth. It integrates easily with CA Service Desk Manager, CA Service Catalog and CA Process Automation, and more.

Adding that to the various packages and plugins available at Marketplace, the learning curve to make automation work was very fast.

What needs improvement?

We found that some Actions Packs and plugins do not have documentation, are incomplete, or are of poor quality. In most of the packages available, it took time to study and gain knowledge of the features and resources due to poor documentation. This time could be reduced if the documentation was more complete.

If the documentation is not well built, there will always be extra time for testing and some of these generate doubts that turn a simple job into something complex. With the project's schedules in progress, it is difficult to set deadlines, even if they are adjusted for more.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Automic Workload Automation for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product demonstrates excellent stability, regardless of whether the installation has high availability or not. We have not seen any problems in this regard.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a product that scales easily, but with a short aggregate in its version with high availability.

How are customer service and technical support?

The most experienced support team is international. Some professionals at the time of implantation are no longer available. The service responds quickly to doubts and so far we have had no difficulties in this regard.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have also used CA Process Automation, MS System Center Orchestrator, and Control-M.

How was the initial setup?

Complexity only exists when installing high availability. Support from the manufacturer was required.

What about the implementation team?

It was through a Broadcom partner. The team was very experienced in the product, including with use cases in a company in the same area in which our organization operates.

What was our ROI?

We don't have enough time to calculate ROI yet, but we are optimistic.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are different licensing fees for cases where high availability is important. There is also a certain complexity in this type of installation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only evaluated Broadcom (CA Technologies) products.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, the user experience is extremely good. The monitoring and troubleshooting features are rich and with the dashboards and other features, automation work is made easier.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BhaskerChittibabu - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Useful prebuilt jobs, stable, and scalable
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the most valuable features of this solution is the versatility of the prebuilt jobs."
  • "Any product is going to have some room for improvement, no matter what. I see the company has already ventured into AWS and they're constantly trying to improve the managed file transfer which they have recently improvised. I think they bought a software called JSCAPE and they're trying to improve it, which is good. I am not sure if JSCAPE would be part of the base product but currently, you have to buy a separate license for it, which doesn't make sense. If it was Microsoft, ServiceNow, or integrating with other software vendors, I would understand but JSCAPE is now in-house and I'm not sure if they can justify having a separate license for JSCAPE. I would probably expect them to be packaging JSCAPE into the base product. They did switch over from a perpetual license model to a subscription model, which hurt the company a little bit. Nobody is offering the perpetual model anymore. As long as the transition is fair for both the companies, I think it should be fine and not burn us out."

What is our primary use case?

ActiveBatch Workload Automation is a standard scheduling tool that you have on the market. The ultimate goal is to run everything powered through ActiveBatch Workload Automation, but we are always constantly trying to move from our legacy processes, which always takes a lot of time and effort. However, all of the new processes we are focused on implementing through ActiveBatch Workload Automation.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features of this solution is the versatility of the prebuilt jobs.

What needs improvement?

Any product is going to have some room for improvement, no matter what. I see the company has already ventured into AWS and they're constantly trying to improve the managed file transfer which they have recently improvised. I think they bought a software called JSCAPE and they're trying to improve it, which is good. 

I am not sure if JSCAPE would be part of the base product but currently, you have to buy a separate license for it, which doesn't make sense. If it was Microsoft, ServiceNow, or integrating with other software vendors, I would understand but JSCAPE is now in-house and I'm not sure if they can justify having a separate license for JSCAPE. I would probably expect them to be packaging JSCAPE into the base product. They did switch over from a perpetual license model to a subscription model, which hurt the company a little bit. Nobody is offering the perpetual model anymore. As long as the transition is fair for both the companies, I think it should be fine and not burn us out.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using ActiveBatch Workload Automation for a few years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

ActiveBatch Workload Automation is scalable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is good.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support was difficult if you wanted to escalate the issue, it takes a little bit longer to escalate. Their service model does not allow for everybody to be on the hotline all the time. I understand that, but unfortunately, with a production system, that's what it is. If there is a bug, you want that hotline as soon as possible, because we don't know the impact of it. If it can widespread, if there is an issue, or if it's contained within one or two jobs. Luckily this has not been the case. 

It's all same architecture and framework of which you built upon several things. If there's a problem with it, you want to know it way before it impacts the other jobs.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I like ActiveBatch Workload Automation's licensing model because they're not holding you down on an agentless model or agent model, where every server needs to have an agent. That's the main selling point of the solution and I hope they stay that way.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated other solutions, such as Control-M.

What other advice do I have?

I rate ActiveBatch Workload Automation an eight out of ten.

I rated ActiveBatch Workload Automation high because the licensing model is way better than other solutions, such as Control-M or other companies that charge a lot more. I like their agentless model because most of the scheduling companies put in the rules saying, that for each server you touch, you need an agent. Otherwise, they cannot communicate, and will not work. This is a large advantage for ActiveBatch Workload Automation their Agent model is great.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
Process Automation
July 2022
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