IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why

Stonebranch Universal Automation Center OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Stonebranch Universal Automation Center is #11 ranked solution in top Workload Automation tools. PeerSpot users give Stonebranch Universal Automation Center an average rating of 8.0 out of 10. Stonebranch Universal Automation Center is most commonly compared to Control-M: Stonebranch Universal Automation Center vs Control-M. Stonebranch Universal Automation Center is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 73% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 25% of all views.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Workload Automation Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is Stonebranch Universal Automation Center?

The Stonebranch Workload Automation solution, part of our Universal Automation Center platform, helps organizations automate, manage, and orchestrate their IT processes - across hybrid IT environments. 


1. Workflow Orchestration and Automation: Holistically control scripts, jobs, tasks, and IT processes running across your on-prem, hybrid cloud, and/or multi-cloud environments.

2. Real-Time Automation: With our event-driven automation technology, it is now possible to achieve real-time automation across your entire hybrid IT environment.

3. Self-Service Automation: With a focus on ease-of-use, you can empower your workforce with self-service automation using member roles and permissions.

4. BI & Analytics: Centralize operational control and insight with proactive monitoring, reporting, and alerts

Product Features:

- Drag-and-drop Workflow Creation: You don’t have to be a developer to create automation. Custom scripting is a thing of the past. Easily create workflows with an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface.

- DevOps enabled: Align priorities between IT Ops and DevOps with Jobs-as-Code, Infrastructure-as-Code, and bundle-and-promote features.

- Limitless 3rd Party Integrations: Integrate into any platform or application from the mainframe to the cloud. Use pre-packaged integrations, build your own, or download integration blueprints from the community-driven opensource marketplace.

- Available on-premises or as a SaaS-based deployment, the UAC is a modern platform built to scale with your business.

Stonebranch Universal Automation Center Customers

Nissan, Coop, United Supermarkets, Groupon, CSC, Orbitz, Johnson & Johnson, BMW, Qantas.

Stonebranch Universal Automation Center Video

Archived Stonebranch Universal Automation Center Reviews (more than two years old)

Filter by:
Filter Reviews
Industry
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Company Size
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Job Level
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Rating
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Considered
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Order by:
Loading...
  • Date
  • Highest Rating
  • Lowest Rating
  • Review Length
Search:
Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
Frank Burkhardt - PeerSpot reviewer
Application and Database Administrator at Blue Bird
Real User
Allows us to streamline the workflow so that the machines aren't sitting idle, and production is much quicker
Pros and Cons
  • "The tasks are incredibly capable, and as long as you name them with a nice, uniform naming convention, they are very useful. You can create some interesting workflows through various machines, or you can just have it kick off single tasks. All in all, I really like the Universal Task. You can do some mutually exclusive stuff, such as an "A not B" kind of thing. It has a lot of capabilities behind the scenes."
  • "There is room for improvement with its connectivity with the Microsoft SRS system. It is very weak. They keep telling us it works with it, and technically it does, but it does not provide a lot of visibility. We have lost a lot of visibility migrating to Stonebranch, compared with just running tasks on the SRS server. That's really about the only thing that is a sore point for us."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is that we are now at the point where we are creating workflows and it is allowing us to shorten the time it takes for tasks to go through multiple machines. We wanted something that would give us better visibility.

How has it helped my organization?

We have different systems that do different things very well, and we previously had time frames for when tasks would have to be done. It has allowed us to streamline the workflow so that the machines aren't sitting idle. The work gets done and the information is available through production at a much quicker rate.

It really cuts down the time that multiple machines take to touch a task. We may have our ERP system create a file and send it to our integration server where it will dice and mash up some inventory requirements. We will send an order by FTP to our vendor and, at the same time, we're seeing that we have sent it in and that it should be on a truck and coming in in a few days. We see the specific time and can alert the planning group that we've already done this. It used to be these tasks were done on separate machines and would take 30 or 45 minutes per machine. If everything was clean, it only took 10 minutes from start to finish, but there was a lot of dead time making sure that each machine had time to complete its task in a base scenario. So it has really helped our abilities in terms of where we're at as a manufacturing organization.

Stonebranch has also saved us money because it has kept us from having to over-provision Windows Servers. With this solution we can put stuff in a workflow and get it through as quickly as can be, instead of allocating time on other boxes to do things. I believe it has kept us from having to add Windows Servers and drive up our costs with Microsoft.

What is most valuable?

I like that the users can kick off the tasks that the administrators have allowed them to kick off so that they are more in control of the data that they need. They don't have to contact IT or other people to get the data they need. It makes the users very self-sufficient and they like it too. They don't have to wait on people. When they know they need it, they can just go start the job and whenever it's done they get the data.

We're using the Universal Controller and, while it took a little while to get everything we needed into it, once it was there it became a really nice tool. We can delegate tasks through it or we can delegate all tasks for certain machines through it. It's a really nice, central point to let us know which tasks have failed. I come from a programming background and, as a programmer, I would output a log file from our jobs. After a while, people forget to check log files. With Stonebranch, as long as the error code is there, it displays on the dashboard right away, so you don't have to remember to go check the log file. It gives us a lot better visibility, and a lot more quickly. The Universal Controller, and everything we do with Stonebranch, is on-premise.

The tasks are incredibly capable, and as long as you name them with a nice, uniform naming convention, they are very useful. You can create some interesting workflows through various machines, or you can just have it kick off single tasks. All in all, I really like the Universal Task. You can do some mutually exclusive stuff, such as an "A not B" kind of thing. It has a lot of capabilities behind the scenes. We don't use it to its full capabilities, but it is very strong and a very capable interface.

I really like the agents. We've had no trouble with them interfering with any of our other systems or vendors — and some of the machines they're running on are very flaky. But I've never been able to trace any problems back to Stonebranch. The problems we had after Stonebranch were the same problems we had before we put the Stonebranch agents on those machines. The interoperability is really nice. It has a minimal footprint, it doesn't consume much RAM, and there is very little network overhead unless the machine is actually doing something and sending data back. It's really nice to fire-and-forget. The syscontroller tells the task to start on the remote machine. The remote machine executes it and when it's done it sends back the package of data that the control holds and consumes. It's really a very well thought-out system.

What needs improvement?

There is room for improvement with its connectivity with the Microsoft SRS system. It is very weak. They keep telling us it works with it, and technically it does, but it does not provide a lot of visibility. We have lost a lot of visibility migrating to Stonebranch, compared with just running tasks on the SRS server. That's really about the only thing that is a sore point for us.

We don't really use the Stonebranch Marketplace. We looked at it earlier and management really wasn't impressed. So admin was told not to worry about it. It could be that if we were looking at it now, now that we're smarter, I think we would find things there. But we have gotten used to the way we're doing things now, so we don't want to rock the boat.

Buyer's Guide
Workload Automation
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Stonebranch, BMC, IBM and others in Workload Automation. Updated: July 2022.
622,949 professionals have used our research since 2012.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started looking at Stonebranch in early 2017. We had everything on, all the machines were connected, by mid-2017, and we had moved all services and scheduled tasks and cron tasks to it by late 2017.

We had been using version 6.3 and we are in the process of upgrading to 6.8 now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's rock-solid.

The resiliency is very good. It is very solid. If the server shuts down, it will do its best to try and make up what it can, depending on how you have configured it. But it does a really good job of trying to recover gracefully. 

For example, a while back we had a Unix server go down and it was going down because of a bad connection with something that was hosted on another box. Stonebranch was aware of the problems that we were having even finishing. Once we got all the problems cleared, instead of it trying to continue running all 800 jobs that had been started but never finished, it only tried to rerun the last job, which I thought was a really nice solution. We didn't have 800 instances of the same job trying to be rerun.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our production Stonebranch server is interacting with 27 different systems: Unix, AIX, Red Hat, and Windows systems. It's firing off about 1,000 jobs an hour and there's no problem. I don't see it taxing the CPU of the box we've got it running on it. It's incredibly scalable. I cannot imagine what it would take to start getting it overheated.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is very capable. The helpdesk is very responsive and knowledgeable and if they don't know, they will reach out to somebody on the engineering team. About 90 percent of the problems that I've had to talk to their helpdesk about have been through error on my part. Either I thought something was supposed to do something it obviously doesn't do, and I would have known if I had read the documentation better, or I had misconfigured something. They are very responsive and very knowledgeable.

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

We used cron and Task Scheduler from Microsoft and a gut-feel on how long systems should take to process something.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. I've come from a programming background, so distributed systems like this are something I'm very familiar with. It seemed pretty straightforward. It was a simple cut-and-dry task. It seemed very basic to me.

It took us between eight months and a year to deploy it across our organization. The implementation strategy was to get it done and make it work as quickly as we could.

What about the implementation team?

We had a consultant from Stonebranch come down for a week. I worked with him a little bit. He did some work and then I would do some work.

I've made a few calls to their helpdesk, but I have done 90 percent of it on my own, including the upgrades. It's a very simple system. It's not complex, but it does allow you to do complex things.

What other advice do I have?

Go at this slowly and methodically. When they came in, they did a lot of things very quickly, and we didn't really understand the implication of the answers we were giving. We have gone back to re-do a lot of that work. Now that we're smarter, and much better at this, we have found that being slow and methodical pays off in the long-run.

The solution has enabled digital transformation at our company but it's been a very slow process, and that is because the people we have are very traditional, old-school people. This is a little outside of the norm for people who grew up using the Windows Task Scheduler. They are having a little trouble with this. The idea of correcting workflows is still new to some of these people. It is allowing us to have the digital transformation — we're able to move things through quicker — but I don't know that everybody is aware of this or is taking advantage of it. New systems are being bought and spec'd out, and we can get Stonebranch to work with them, but it's kind of as an afterthought. They aren't used to thinking of Stonebranch when they're looking at the new systems.

We've got a couple people in engineering that are using the solution but it's mostly IT people who are using it, programmers and their managers. Our ERP coordinator uses it a lot. In engineering we've got CAE administrators using it to shut down and restart processes for their systems. And we have a couple of other users using it, but their use is very limited. We give them the tasks but we don't give them a lot of tasks as they are a small cog in the wheel. You can't give them too much power or they'll be messing up somebody else's job. We're mostly giving knowledge workers the ability to handle their own tasks if they can do it in a vacuum. That amounts to a few people in finance, a few in production, a couple in engineering and most of the people in IT. I'm the only person who handles deployment and maintenance of the solution. But that is not my full-time job. Once tasks get set up, they go and they run and they just work.

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.
PeerSpot user
Radomir P. - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior DevOps Engineer at ING Tech Poland
Real User
We use it for scheduling Unix and Wintel batches.

What is our primary use case?

Scheduling Unix and Wintel batches. Full package - finance, backups, transfers. Three environments.  

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization could enter the cloud at full speed. 

What is most valuable?

Triggers separate from tasks contrary to the competitors.  

What needs improvement?

Lifecycle management.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

solution in general stable however last OMS updates are blurring out this opinion.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

scalability is good however it is lacking alternative to extend controller cluster's node numer.

How are customer service and technical support?

reaction time is fair, however it happens that their will of help it not necessary handy, especially when you hardening the solution.

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

previous scheduler was TWS 8.5.  More expensive, less stable, less capable

How was the initial setup?

a basic setup is straight forward however during setting some more advansed option it could be complex to achive

What about the implementation team?

in-house

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

for sure unlimited license

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

control m

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Radomir P. - PeerSpot reviewer
Radomir P.Senior DevOps Engineer at ING Tech Poland
Real User

lack of status driven agent monitoring

Buyer's Guide
Workload Automation
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Stonebranch, BMC, IBM and others in Workload Automation. Updated: July 2022.
622,949 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Earl Diem - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Manager - Performance and Automation Engineering at PSCU Financial Services
Real User
Top 20
Allowed us to develop workflows without having to train and develop very specialized skillsets
Pros and Cons
  • "The Universal Agent is the most valuable feature. Being agent-based and being able to go across multiple technology stacks, which is what our workflows do, Stonebranch gives us the ability to bridge those disparate technologies. It enables us to remove the dependency-gap with the agent so we know the status of the workflow at each step."
  • "Occasionally, we have an agent that doesn't come back up after patching. That doesn't happen very often... It's really just a restart of the agent and it comes back up. But that might be one thing that could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for IT workflow automation. We have three main categories: billing, reporting, and analytics. We automate the entire workflow, end-to-end, including the file movement from our managed file-transfer solution to our NAS storage point and then kick off the downstream workflows. Most of them are ETL-based in Informatica. And the loads are done to a database and/or storage with output. It's the entire workflow.

We host it on-prem.

It is our enterprise scheduler; we're migrating everything to it. We'll only have Stonebranch as the enterprise scheduler controlling all of our jobs when we get to the end of our project. So it's being used extensively. We'll be somewhere north of 450 jobs when have completed the project and we will increase usage. As more workflows come online, Stonebranch is the platform we will use to automate them.

How has it helped my organization?

Stonebranch Universal Task allows us to break up our workflows into tasks that are singular and focused and we're then able to string them together by drag-and-drop. What we did is we built up a group of tasks that are templates, so to speak. Once those task templates were built up, it allowed us to go in and build workflows relatively quickly, because all we had to do was fill in the particulars of what we needed that task to do, without building the task from scratch.

One of the biggest issues with workflows is that the completion of a step. When a process ends, it needs to generate a completion through Standard Error or Standard Out, or it needs to generate a completion file so that the workflow knows that the step is done and that it can kick off the next workflow task. We've been able to impress upon our ETL developers that, when they're done, they need the process to drop a completion flag so that the workflow knows it's done and ran successfully. They really didn't deal with that before, because they were using disparate schedulers in disparate systems and simply setting the clock: The file gets here at two o'clock, we'll kick this job off in this scheduler at two-thirty. And then the other technology, downstream in the workflow, we'll set that one for three o'clock. But you end up with problems if the previous workflow step isn't complete when the next step kicks off. The job fails and blows up.

Stonebranch eliminated those dependency gaps because we know for sure that the previous step was completed before we kick off the next step in the workflow. We've eliminated the vast majority of that kind of problem.

Stonebranch has saved us money. From an operational standpoint, we're in a position now where we know when workflows fail and we're not missing SLAs as much. Very infrequently do we now miss an SLA because, if a workflow fails, we know it failed. That means the support teams have the ability to go in and address it before we miss an SLA. That's been the major cost savings.

Had we stayed on Cisco Tidal, to do the caliber of work that we've done in Stonebranch, we would have had to hire additional people. I only had one person on Tidal and those resources would cost more than the resources I'm using now, because of the specialized skillsets you need to do the work in Cisco Tidal. On our automation team, we have one senior person. We took two guys out of our network operation center and put them with him. They're Linux administrators and they learned the Stonebranch product over the first year and got very proficient in it. We're doing automation but their cost to the company is a lot less than going out and hiring somebody with the skills in Cisco Tidal or Automic or one of those other platforms. So there is an HR resource savings as well. I would estimate we're saving about $20,000 a year per head-count.

Stonebranch has also saved us man-hours during implementation and production. If I compare it to Cisco Tidal, to build a workflow in Stonebranch, beginning to end, is less time-consuming and less complicated than it was in Tidal. I'm sure it has saved us money. It has saved us about 20 to 25 percent per workflow. When you spread that over 400 workflows, it's a pretty significant number.

What is most valuable?

The Universal Agent is the most valuable feature. Being agent-based and being able to go across multiple technology stacks, which is what our workflows do, Stonebranch gives us the ability to bridge those disparate technologies. It enables us to remove the dependency-gap with the agent so we know the status of the workflow at each step.

Workflow development in Stonebranch is straightforward. There is something of a learning curve, but it's not very steep. Being able to develop workflows without having to train and develop some very specialized skillsets to use the tool is very useful.

Stonebranch absolutely helped enable digital transformation in our company and it still is. In our automation efforts, we're pushing everything to Informatica and, as we move those ETLs, we're automating the entire workflows. In phase-one and phase-two, there were 244 jobs migrated in from other ETL platforms to Informatica, and we've automated all of those. We have almost 200 jobs remaining. We're going to have something approaching 450 workflows in Stonebranch when we're done.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Stonebranch for just under three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Universal Controller is very capable, very stable. We really haven't had any problems, stability-wise, with the Controllers. We've been very happy with the resiliency of this solution. We really don't have problems with Stonebranch. Once we get agents in place and configured, they're stable. Our Stonebranch Universal Controller runs. It is very stable. 

Occasionally, we have an agent that doesn't come back up after OS patching. That doesn't happen very often. But everything is getting patched on a monthly cycle on the analytics side when the repos come out and get pushed out from satellite. But that issue is so infrequent that we don't make a whole lot of noise about. That's probably the most common issue, though: After patching, every once in a while we have an agent that will hang on the way back up. It's really just a restart of the agent and it comes back up. But that might be one thing that could be improved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We're yask-based, so if we get to a point where we need to run more monthly task, we can scale our license to monthly task. 

We haven't come anywhere close to having performance problems or capacity problems running the jobs that we're running at this point. But if we needed to scale larger, because we are transaction-based, it's a matter of scaling up or scaling out the Stonebranch Controller. With the 450 jobs that we're going to be running, we're running on a single Universal Controller. We have DR, we have it in another data center as well, the databases are replicated. But with the one Universal Controller on a good size virtual machine, and being transaction-based, being able to run 400 to 500 workflows is good. We can scale horizontally or vertically as we need.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we have a problem, we create a support ticket with Stonebranch. Usually, inside of two or three hours, we're talking with somebody at Stonebranch. They're really responsive and we're very happy with the support side of the product.

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

We had Cisco Tidal going before Stonebranch. It was an older product which was being retired. Cisco's core competency is not automation, it's networking. The product was somewhat clunky and difficult to work with. Stonebranch is a lot easier to work with. We made the decision to do a PoC and find a different scheduler and selected Stonebranch.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. Everything is running on virtual machines, such as the installation of the Controller and the installation of agents across the first several platforms which we set up to do the integrations on with Universal Agent. 

Start to finish, until we were ready and configured to start building workflows, the deployment took inside of about four days.

Our deployment plan was building a Stonebranch environment and connecting to our current ETL environment and storage environments, so we could start automating ETL workflows. We had a couple of problems with the NAS storage. We haven't had that problem since. A lot of it was just because of the particulars of how our NAS was set up. That was the only complication we ran into.

We were able to get deployed and configured according to our plan, to set up the Universal Controller and agents to get across to our ETL environment and our storage environment. Within those four days, we had built our first workflow with the first job which we had targeted for the implementation work with the Stonebranch.

What about the implementation team?

The Stonebranch team was onsite when we deployed, so the installation was pretty straightforward. We had support. They were outstanding. The two gentlemen who worked with us through our PoC and install - Tracy and Mark - we still talk with those guys quite often. We're part of the user community and we get up to Atlanta for the Stonebranch conference every year. They're at our building about once a quarter.

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

We're transaction-based, as far as our licensing goes. We have 50,000 task a month and our licensing cost is $55,000 a year, if I remember correctly. There are no additional costs. Support is included in that.

At the time, Stonebranch was about 30 to 35 percent of the cost of Automic. Because we also run IBM Sterling File Gateway, and we run IBM WebSphere and IBM middleware for our applications, we looked at the IBM Tivoli solution but it was just cost-prohibitive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In terms of Stonebranch’s agent technology and compatibility with other vendors, it's been very good. We migrated off of the SAP platform or BOE; we had an old instance of Data Integrator. There were a lot of things that the other tools that we looked at when we did our PoC - tools such as Automic and Automate It - just simply wouldn't do. They had problems integrating with the old version of Data Integrator. We PoC'ed three platforms before we made the decision to go with Stonebranch. Automic was one, who was subsequently bought, about four months after we made our decision, by CA. 

We looked at a Windows-based solution called Automate which wasn't anywhere close, at the time, to Stonebranch as far as schedulers go. Automate had a lot more UI-manipulation capabilities, which Stonebranch and Automic didn't really have - you don't usually go in and automate processes with the latter two. They're more straightforward workflow tools, rather than automating UI processes.

From our experience in the PoC, Stonebranch's web-based platform wasn't converted from a client-server platform like some of the other platforms we looked at. And being agent-based, it was easy to use. It didn't require a steep learning curve.

And, again, that integration to some of the technologies that we were using was important. We're now about 75 percent of the way to migrating all the Data Integrator services and some of the SSIS ETL jobs we have running out there to Informatica. Stonebranch integrated to all three of those ETL platforms right out-of-the-box through the REST API. We really didn't have to struggle with those integrations, so that was great.

What other advice do I have?

My advice applies to the implementation of any automation platform. Have a solid plan for what your approach is to automation and develop a common approach to workflows. That is what we did. We took a step back and looked at what our workflows actually do. We really only have four fundamental workflows so we built templates for those, and all but a couple of our workflows fit into those templates. So analyze your workflows, understand what they do, build templates to do that, and then go off and do the automation once you've got the templates built up.

I'm not getting any complaints from my automation team about the platform. The guys are really happy with it.

I really haven't spent a whole lot of time in the Stonebranch Marketplace.

We looked at Stonebranch's file-mover product for internal file movement in our workflows where we're moving files. We did a PoC with it and we decided to go with another product. We have three managed file-transfer platforms in our enterprise. The biggest one that we move most of our files with is IBM's Sterling File Gateway. One of the biggest challenges there, when you're moving data across the enterprise and doing workflows, is managed file-transfers platforms. They drop them in in the landing zone where processes will consume them. What we found was that those files were just sitting there waiting for somebody to manually do something with them. In the meantime, we've automated all that. We moved it from the landing zone to a retention zone where they sit in tier-two storage for 60 days. We then move them off to the data domain, which is tier-three storage, archives. The automation really helps slow down the eating up of tier-two storage platters at $40,000 a pop. Everybody's has this problem, but we've automated that process. We've even automated deleting those files off of tier-three storage and realized a savings with our Storage Spend.

We have an automation team of three employees. We have another six members of that team who are offshore contractors. We have four users and the analytics team which are actually doing workflows on their side as well. The way that works is that we have a dev, a test, and a production environment with Stonebranch. We have a Controller running in each of those environments. The analytics team builds its workflows up in dev. We do basic testing there and then push them to the test environment where the automation team makes them work. Then we push into production. We're mostly working with the analytics team, the dev environment, with them developing their triggers there.

For deployment and maintenance of the solution we need three people on the automation team.

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.
PeerSpot user
Consulting Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Agent resiliency helps us process a lot of workload, reducing the latency between jobs
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the reliability of the agents, because we need them accessible and we need to run stuff. The agent technology and compatibility are top-notch."
  • "The Universal Controller is decent for the money it costs... It needs some work to have full features, compared to other products that are out there, specifically IBM's Workload Scheduler."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is automating the workload for the company. It's used quite extensively. We run over 500,000 jobs a week with it.

How has it helped my organization?

The resiliency of the agents helps us to process a lot of workload through them, reducing the latency between jobs.

The solution has saved us money over other potential vendors.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reliability of the agents, because we need them accessible and we need to run stuff. The agent technology and compatibility are top-notch. The agents are wonderful. I've spoken at several of their conferences and always give them high marks. I would put the agents' resiliency at number one in the industry.

We have used the Universal Task a little bit and it seems to be fully functional. It's good.

The Stonebranch Marketplace is decent as well.

What needs improvement?

The Universal Controller is decent for the money it costs. We host it on-promise - some local virtual servers. It still doesn't have all the features and functionality of our mainframe scheduler, but hopefully it will get there. It needs some work to have full features, compared to other products that are out there, specifically IBM's Workload Scheduler.

Also, regarding the Controller, there should be a much cleaner method of looking at dependencies between workflows. 

I would also like to see, when there is a workflow that's going to kick in at a certain date, the option to pick the time for those dates.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for eleven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the agents is wonderful; the Controller, again, needs a little beef.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not experienced any limits, so it should be scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give tech support 9.827 out of ten. There's always room for improvement.

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

We are still also using the IBM scheduler. But we completely switched off of the IBM agents to Stonebranch agents. So Stonebranch replaced the existing legacy system as far as the agents go. That went great. It was a very affordable solution, works like a champ, so it's good.

We're still using the mainframe scheduler, but we're looking at phasing that out over this next year.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. We did a proof of concept. Stonebranch came in and we had questions. Then, of course, you can always tweak things. But we didn't have any trouble.

It took us two years to migrate all of our stuff from our old agents to our new agents. And we're working on migrating work in the Controller. We got the agents first, because Stonebranch did not have a Controller until several years ago. So when we bought the agents we needed to migrate workload from the old agents to the new and that took two years. So we were done in 2010.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a third-party.

What was our ROI?

ROI is tricky because it's really more of an expense item than it is an investment. We all like to say "return on investment," but we are not a profit center. It all works itself out.

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

There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We price-lined options including Computer Associates, BMC, IBM's product, etc.

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking at this or a similar solution, get with a company that's done it before. We have consulted with other companies and helped out a number of them to go to this solution.

We've already done digital transformation, so Stonebranch is part of our continuous improvement. I'm not going to say it's transformational, it's just continuous improvement, using our tools to exploit them for the betterment of supporting company goals.

In terms of the solution's users, we have people who build things in order to use it. We have a core of about five people who set up workloads to use them. They perform somewhat traditional scheduling roles. For deployment and maintenance, we do it all with those five.

The agents are a ten out of ten, the Controller is a nine. The agents are top-notch, Controller has some room to grow.

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.
PeerSpot user
Mike Booher - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Programmer II at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Allows us to monitor tasks on our open-system and mainframe sides, giving us a one-window view of all our processes
Pros and Cons
  • "The ability to monitor tasks that are on the open-system side as well as our mainframe side gives us a one-window view of all our processes."
  • "I love the Universal Controller. It's been great for us. We host it on-premise... It's High Availability, meaning there's failover from one server to the other if one goes down."
  • "I have a request regarding our agent on the mainframe. It may time out when communicating to the Universal Controller, when the mainframe is extremely busy. That can cause a task which is running at that time to not see the results of the job that ran on the mainframe. It happens sporadically during times of really busy CPU usage. We're expecting that enhancement from them in the fourth quarter."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for enterprise scheduling and workload automation. For the most part, it runs our internal mainframe batch jobs and does file transfer processes in and outside the company.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we put in Stonebranch, compared to our older scheduler and systems, we've had better visibility, better alerting, better restart-ability, and better retry-ability. For instance, if a file transfer fails and it doesn't send, we can tell it to try 30 minutes later, and that reduces manual intervention for a once-and-done type of failure.

The Stonebranch Marketplace has been helpful. We've obtained a few items from there and have started to implement them.

In terms of our company's digital transformation, it's definitely become a central component of our processing and our workflows. It's allowed us to integrate disparate systems into this system, so we can monitor and schedule activities on those servers.

We have also saved on the licensing cost, although I don't know how much compared to our old product. The way it runs our workflows has saved people-time. If something fails and we don't necessarily have to intervene, we can take another pass at it within the scheduler and do automation in that situation. It takes away from manual intervention which would take time. There's a soft benefit there.

It has saved us about ten hours a week, depending upon who had to field the issue.

What is most valuable?

The ability to monitor tasks that are on the open-system side as well as our mainframe side gives us a one-window view of all our processes.

I love the Universal Controller. It's been great for us. We host it on-premise. It resides here on their own servers within our network, within the company. It's High Availability, meaning there's failover from one server to the other if one goes down.

The Stonebranch Universal Task is very flexible. There are many different tasks that are available for use.

What needs improvement?

Usually, when there's something that I need from them, I put in a request for an enhancement. It typically takes a few months, but they deliver.

For instance, I have a request regarding our agent on the mainframe. It may time out when communicating to the Universal Controller, when the mainframe is extremely busy. That can cause a task which is running at that time to not see the results of the job that ran on the mainframe. It happens sporadically during times of really busy CPU usage. We're expecting that enhancement from them in the fourth quarter.

For how long have I used the solution?

In August it will be our three-year anniversary of using this solution.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very resilient. You have multiple agents and you have High Availability, so we're able to do maintenance to one server without affecting its availability.

It's been rock-solid for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. You can run as many agents as you need, depending upon how many servers you're monitoring or integrating into it. We're running about 10,000 tasks every day. I've heard of other companies doing hundreds of thousands. I'm not concerned about scalability.

Usage is increasing at a steady rate. It's heavily used. It's a very integral piece of our batch processing daily.

How are customer service and technical support?

I typically communicate with them a couple of times a year if I have an issue. They have a good helpdesk process and ticketing process that work very well.

Tech support is excellent.

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

We used a product from ASG. It was their Beta 42 solution. It's something that they purchased and it was pretty old. It ran on the mainframe. It just didn't give us the flexibility we needed to do enterprise-wide and to be able to integrate server tasks or open-systems tasks with the mainframe.

Stonebranch replaced our old, mainframe scheduler, and we got much more flexibility in the new product, compared to the old product. Our file transfer processes are much more resilient. And one of the biggest benefits is that when a job fails it sends an email to us and alerts us about the failure. In addition, it sends it to our ticketing system and it opens up a problem ticket automatically.

How was the initial setup?

Setup and installation are pretty easy. Converting from an old scheduler to a new one with all of the nuances of scheduling-criteria was a challenge. We used their Hired Services to help us do that.

In terms of the testing process, we were able to test during the next three months and we were able to run in parallel. By executing the Stonebranch version of the scheduler, we were pointing to dummy jobs but we were able to basically parallel our mainframe scheduler. That enabled us to make sure things were kicking off at the right times and in sync. That was something I did, not something that they did. That really helped us get a comfort level that everything was going to kick off properly, in the right order, and the right times. By doing that parallel running, we were able to resolve a lot of potential problems.

It was about a four- to five-month engagement for the conversion.

What about the implementation team?

We used Stonebranch people to do it. It went very well. They were very helpful.

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

I don't have pricing information, but I do know it's cheaper than our old legacy system. Other than the standard licensing fees there are no additional costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a few automation schedulers. The long-term direction is that we're looking at a ten-to-15-year plan to migrate off the mainframe. It made sense to get an enterprise solution that was open-systems based. That's what Stonebranch brought to us.

What other advice do I have?

Try it out, get to know the product and see how it works.

We have two system admins or schedulers, master schedulers, me and my co-worker. In our test and dev environment, we have four staff involved, counting me and my co-worker. Since everything was cut over to production and stabilized, we have had to spend about ten hours a week on it. We have operators monitoring it 24/7.

I would rate it at nine out of ten. I work with it every day and it does what I need it to do. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I need as an enhancement at the moment.

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.
PeerSpot user
Senior Technical Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
We throw a lot at it from a resiliency perspective and it stays up, reducing maintenance costs significantly
Pros and Cons
  • "We lean a lot on the multi-tenancy that they offer within the product, the ability to get other people to self-manage their estate, versus having a central team do all the scheduling."
  • "When it comes to agent technology and compatibility with other vendors, from a platform perspective it was the one vendor that fit all the platforms that we have, from your old platforms - mainframe, NSK, IBM i - to the new ones, going into cloud and container"
  • "There is a component called the OMS, which is the message broker. We rely on infrastructure, resiliency, and availability for that piece. If that could change to be highly available just as a software component, so that we don't have to provide the high-available storage, etc. for it, that would be a plus. It would just be cheaper to run."

What is our primary use case?

We started off with replacing mainframe batch scheduling for some of our distributed applications, and then it grew into not just batch but workflows and file transfers.

The volumes that we throw at it are in excess of 15 million tasks per month.

How has it helped my organization?

Our biggest relief was the file-transfer piece, the way they do it securely and the way they do that handshake and the way they farm out that dependency to give to users - versus admins - the ability to control that little subsection within the environment. We probably would have needed a team of 20 people to centrally admin, manage, create schedules, do file transfers, and support all that stuff. Instead, we have a team of two.

My biggest pain point was the agent. When it comes to the controller, it's one point of failure. You monitor it, it's just another application. You take a look at it. You know what items you need to keep an eye on: memory, log files, entries. You can be proactive because it's one important single point. When you look at all your endpoints, it becomes a management nightmare if you have to monitor every single one of them. Past experience has been that people want to run their batches. They don't want to care about the scheduler. They want to just set it and forget it. They tend to run the machines very hot. When the endpoints are resource-starved, because people's scripts are taking over all the capacity on the box, the agents fail and their workflow gets impacted and you take an SLA hit. We have yet to see that with any of the Stonebranch agents.

Regarding digital transformation, we were already down that road before we even looked at Stonebranch. I wouldn't say that it was the reason why we did it. It does help in the journey, where you're looking at a mainframe scheduler and you think, "Oh my God, I don't think we're going to be able to use this." Going digital, everything is software-defined where you say, "Alright, APIs, plugin, off we go."

This solution replaced an existing legacy system and the benefit was in the area of the support staff supporting those aging systems. We're no longer a bottleneck or a risk. We have a lot of those folks retiring right now, and it is tough to get that expertise on the market nowadays.

Finally, it helped us save money, and that was one of the drivers for getting it in. What I can share with you is it did 90 percent more than whatever solutions we had. We ended up saving a considerable amount every year. We got more for less. It has also saved us a lot of man-hours in support and maintenance. We were able to go down by three FTEs by implementing the solution. We went from less to more with half the staff that we had.

What is most valuable?

It's very feature-rich, but our focus has been mostly around resolving the file transfer problem: We did not have a standard way of transferring files internally. That was a plus. I don't think anybody in the market does it like they do. When it came down to our standards and compliance and hardening down systems, it was the most secure solution.

We also lean a lot on the multi-tenancy that they offer within the product, the ability to get other people to self-manage their estate, versus having a central team do all the scheduling. That's what we lean on the most.

Regarding the Universal Controller, to give you a bit of history without getting into the details of it, we've tried multiple solutions across the years. The one thing that we wanted to get rid of was the lack of resiliency of all the solutions that we had. What I liked about the agent at the time, before we got into the scheduler, was how robust it was. It just does not go down easily. When we looked at the resiliency of the scheduler, it was on par. It wasn't something that was developed in a basement somewhere. It was top of the class. We throw a lot at it from a resiliency perspective. It stays up. That is a major focus for us. It has reduced the amount of time we have to throw into keeping it up and running, which is translating into a lot of dollars. We host it on-prem.

When it comes to agent technology and compatibility with other vendors, from a platform perspective it was the one vendor that fit all the platforms that we have, from your old platforms - mainframe, NSK, IBM i - to the new ones, going into cloud and containers, etc. It is able to work across the entire suite of technologies, and it works very well with our core, which is the Windows and Unix platforms. It fit what we needed it to do. Other, bigger companies tend to forget one or more of those platforms, because they're in competition with each other, so they do not support some platforms. Stonebranch is very platform-agnostic, so if a customer uses it, they will support it.

What needs improvement?

There is a component called the OMS, which is the message broker. We rely on infrastructure, resiliency, and availability for that piece. If that could change to be highly available just as a software component, so that we don't have to provide the high-available storage, etc. for it, that would be a plus. It would just be cheaper to run.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been pretty good. It's been the best out of all the solutions that I've had to deal with.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

What I like about it is the configuration that they allow you to get to, how granular it can get. Something that we used to struggle with - because we farm out the work to the applications and say, "You run this, this is just distributed cron for you," - was that people would run their scripts and sometimes do something silly like send their debug to standard out, and standard output is two gigs. Usually, our old tools would go capture that and send it back to the controller. That two-gig amount of data is huge. It's going to break either the agent or the transfer or take the controller down when it gets there. Stonebranch lets you tweak that stuff to say things along the lines of, "How much of the standard output do you want? Do you want 100k, 100 lines, 2k?" You decide. Scalability depends on that. If you want to run 100 million tasks a day, you have to figure out how much data you want to retain, and that's the power of this tool. Other tools don't let you do that.

How are customer service and technical support?

Stonebranch is one of the best support vendors. They leverage their expertise on the mainframe and IBM i. I could not find that anywhere else in the market. That is something that we really needed. Their Unix knowledge is impeccable. They've always helped us. They're always able to do deep dives easily; same thing with Windows. They're quick to getting to the solution. They're quick in helping us to recover outages if there are any. They're always quick to escalate up the chain on their side of the house if they need to. If the level-one person is looking at a problem and says, "You know what? It's been 30 or 40 minutes. I don't see it," they will get someone from level-two or a developer to take a look.

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

We have many other solutions. I don't think I can mention those solutions as we do have NDAs with all our vendors on that side of the house.

How was the initial setup?

When we ran our proof of concept, there were two larger companies, three-letter names, that came in and their installs took us a few days just to set them up. When Stonebranch came in, it was 40 minutes. In fact, I had to triple check it when Colin came in and I had to ask, "Are you sure? Did you half-ass it? I need to take a look. Is it running? Can we go through the components?" It took us longer to verify that it was up and running than it took to install.

After getting it installed, implementation is nice and slow because we're a pretty big organization and converting the things that application teams tend to have takes a while. We plan two years in advance. This is technically an infrastructure initiative, where we have to go and get people's time. To get it started, it took us 12 months - just to get started and scheduled. From a migration perspective, it's very cookie-cutter with their Professional Services. They'll come in, look at what you have, and say, "Here's the format we need to convert things to," and they'll do it really quickly.

In terms of an implementation strategy, at that time, we were scheduling application based on their availability. We had 110 apps and we had an excess of 100,000 definitions. We broke it down by application and scheduled them in waves when our resources and our side of the house were available to do the conversion, to throw it in there, and get them to test. We had a whole workflow planned out between the work that we had to do on the infrastructure side, on the application side, and we organized it in a dependent, wave-by-wave approach. The vendor was here. They converted. Then: 

  • we threw it into the dev, app tested, made changes
  • promoted it to QA, app tested
  • promoted it to production, and then we shut down the old stuff in the old schedulers.

On average, it took an application three to four weeks to get to production. That was not that long based on our size. I've seen it take longer with a lot of other tools. The step-by-step approach on the resourcing that we had bottlenecked us so that we could probably only have four of those running in parallel.

What about the implementation team?

We used Stonebranch Professional Services to come in and help us. We did the majority of the design because that's what we do. We depend on the way our business runs, and we schedule with the business. Then we brought Professional Services in and said to them, "Here's how we're going to be able to do this. You guys tell us what the technical capabilities are and help us through it."

What was our ROI?

The way we run the shop is that Infrastructure has a specific budget. I don't think we did a business case to see how this would improve the business at all. We just looked at what we spend a year and decided, let's spend money on this. It's less work for us, so we went ahead and did it.

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

Outside of licensing fees, there aren't any other costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate many other options.

What other advice do I have?

Look at also having the database solution be HA as well, because the product is highly available and you can stretch it to also be your BCP where you just fail over from one data center to the other. We suffer because our database solution is not. I would urge everybody to go down that path and set it and forget it. If you lose a part of your data center, this thing will stay up.

The universal task is something that we started dabbling with. We haven't used it fully yet.

We don't rely on the Stonebranch Marketplace a lot. It was something that we discussed with Stonebranch over a period of time. It's something that we, as a culture, need to look into internally as a company. We tend to trust the things that we write, versus looking into things like a marketplace where we can extract thoughts or automation or universal tasks that other people have put out there. If it breaks, we need to be able to call somebody when it does.

At last count we had around 650 defined users, and around 50 logged in at once.

Right now, to do the scheduling and maintain the environment, it's two bodies, and we have one to help support the file-transfer piece. Those three bodies are responsible for administrating the environment. If somebody needs to be onboarded, that's all automated. You come in, AD groups are created, the security stuff is in, it's all automated via ServiceNow. All that those three guys do, from an admin perspective, is troubleshoot production issues. If something breaks, the app goes, they sit down with the application and explain why it broke. The other roles that we have are operators, schedulers, and the read-only users. The applications are broken into dev and production teams. Dev teams usually have access to schedule and promote to production. Operators only have access to production, and they do the operations role. The scheduler basically has read, write, delete, update access to everything. The operator only has that access on the tasks so operators are able to rerun, stop, that type of role. Those are the four roles that we have defined.

I would estimate that ten percent of the business uses this product. Are we going to expand it? Anybody is welcome to use it. It's slowly growing by itself. As soon as you mention the file transfer solution to people, they say, "Okay, I'm on board. Let's go." Are we going to make it a strategic tool that everybody has to use? It's just one of the many tools that we have in the toolbox. I think within our organization, we probably have in excess of 500 tools.

I would rate Stonebranch at nine out of ten. I would never give anybody a perfect ten. I always want people to work harder. I'd give them a nine because, if you deal with all the other vendors, you're used to a sales guy coming in with an agenda - that he needs to maximize the sale. I didn't get that from this vendor. It was very weird dealing with them because all the other vendors act a certain way, except them. They show up, very transparent, very honest, and they're always willing to negotiate.

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.
PeerSpot user
Sr. System Programmer at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
These are the simplest agents to work with - I'm up and running within 30 minutes
Pros and Cons
  • "I can name the aliases on the agent, so if we need a passive environment for an agent, that's one of the nice features. If our primary goes down, I can bring up the passive one and I don't have to change anything in the scheduling world. It will start running from that new server."
  • "I have found the agents to be so much simpler, when compared to ESP."
  • "One hiccup we've had is due to the fact that we have other internal scheduling tools. We're able to talk to them, but we have trouble with some of the networking between them, so we're still trying to work out the kinks there."

What is our primary use case?

It handles all of our scheduling. All our batch workload runs through it. We use MOVEit for our file process transfers, so we don't use Stonebranch for that. 

We have MOVEit integrated with our scheduling, so we run commands to MOVEit from scheduling.

We're running about 46,000 tasks per day.

How has it helped my organization?

Stonebranch enhanced the digital transformation at our company, through the dashboard. We run a customized dashboard for our operations team, where we can quickly see the issues. We can see running task. We use a lot of started and finished, late finished, late started. We also have some gauges where we can see jobs that exceed their average runtime or estimated end-time. It's helped our operations team see issues ahead of time, instead of four hours later when we've already gone past the point of no return.

In terms of our system operators, we're bringing guys off the street that pick this stuff up within two weeks, and they're flying with it. It just seems like it's so easy, once they get the baseline down. Then it's just boom, and they're off and running. There's some work to get that initial understanding, where to go to find what you want, and then these guys are flying with it. Our older people that have been here for a few years were the ones that struggled with the new technology.

What is most valuable?

Their agents are the simplest. They're easy to install, they're easy to get up and running. We do a particular kind of access on our servers for ubroker and then I have the directory created by my Unix admin. After that, I don't have to get them involved anymore. I can install, upgrade, I can name the aliases on the agent, so if we need a passive environment for an agent, that's one of the nice features. If our primary goes down, I can bring up the passive one and I don't have to change anything in the scheduling world. It will start running from that new server.

The agents have treated me very well. I have found the agents to be so much simpler, when compared to ESP. I haven't been exposed to the other tools, how they run their agents, but Stonebranch's agents are by far the simplest I've seen to download, install. I'm up and running within a half hour on it.

Task monitors work extremely well. We haven't had any issues with them: jobs monitoring another job to finish. We do have some that look into the future, but most of ours look backward. We have some that look back two days. The job running on a Friday looks for something that ran on that Wednesday and knows it ran successfully, and the schedule keeps right on going.

They brought in a web service task, which saves you running an agent on a server. I can send http commands directly to servers, which can start processes on that server itself, based on a file coming in. There is an agent cost, but there's a certificate that you have to put on. There's a little more background work for myself, because I have to keep the certificates up to date.

What needs improvement?

One hiccup we've had is due to the fact that we have other internal scheduling tools. We're able to talk to them, but we have trouble with some of the networking between them, so we're still trying to work out the kinks there.

Also, there's the z/OS agent. We've had troubles with GDGs, with recovery. Say we have a job that fails on a Saturday and there are other jobs that update that generation. If they go to fix the one from Friday, it picks up right where it left off. It doesn't know about the future generations that were created. We've been trying to have Stonebranch correct that for us, and that's probably the biggest open issue. And they're the hardest ones to install and upgrade. Mainframe, in general, seems to be a hurdle, in my opinion.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of resiliency, we run the high-availability, so I have two controllers, one in passive and one primary-active. We switch every month for patching, and the passive one takes over without an issue. 

With our database patching, we can see when that stops and when the controller goes into a pause. But less than 15 seconds later, we're back up and running again. There are no job failures associated. It takes off right away. In the patching world, we've seen a significant improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has high scalability. It's easy to use, it's easy to run with, it's easy to get it turned on and going.

How are customer service and technical support?

I found tech support to be very knowledgeable. They seemed to go above and beyond. I will admit, my former copilot here actually started working for Stonebranch. She went beyond expectations but she's no longer working with support. She moved on to a storage administrative role. But overall, they seem to be very knowledgeable. Within hours, they're getting back to you on a fix. Most of the time, they will provide the fix right upfront or tell you what you need or how to do it. I'm very comfortable with their expertise.

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

The Universal Controller is what I'm running. I like it for web interface. There were four or five products we were reviewing. We came from an ESP shop but we didn't like their web interface. We were leaning toward a web interface and this was the only tool that had it. I believe a couple of them are close, but we didn't like their features. We liked this one better. We have the Controller on our own server, inside the company. I have read some of the cloud stuff and we have other products going in that direction, but I haven't been asked to go that way.

We had an elective in 2013 to get off the mainframe, so we jumped to get going with a different scheduling tool but, guess what, we're still on the mainframe.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't very Unix-savvy when I started, but Stonebranch came in and showed me how to do it. One of the hurdles we had was that we went with their 5.1 version, and then they had to completely change their mapping, and I ended up doing that all by myself. I ended up copying everything over into a new version, I promoted everything we had over into the new one, and it took me less than an hour to do it. So the conversion to an entirely new server was very easy.

We were 97 percent effective when we converted, but they converted most of it for us, upfront. They were onsite to help us with the conversion. We had a couple of kinks with them. ESP had some inherited dependencies that we overlooked and that was the biggest hurdle we had. We had to break some of the connections for predecessors and successors, but they built all that the same night we went live. We were able to get that going and fixed. There was an AIX agent we had some issues with, but an hour later I had the new version installed and up and running and we were on track.

Our initial deployment took us a little over a year. Stonebranch was onsite. They started converting. We ended up identifying some 50 schedules that were stand-alones, where they didn't impact anything. In the space of seven months we turned them on, and then our peak window hit and we couldn't do any changes from November 1st to January 1st. We waited until after our peak window and I believe it was during the first week in February that we went with everything else. We got a taste of what was happening, and then we put everybody else in.

Our implementation strategy was to get everything converted. We did that first seven months by ourselves, we just turned things on and let them run. We had three people from Stonebranch onsite for our go-live night. They worked eight-hour shifts. My co-compliancer and I ended up pulling two 12-hour shifts, and then we had a third person who helped us out in between them, so we could at least get a bite to eat, or walk away, or unload some of the issues that we were seeing. But most of them were pretty minor. We met our SLA opening morning for our batch processing. We were not behind.

It went very smoothly. There are always going to be some hurdles you have to figure out, but we were expecting bigger hurdles, and we didn't see those really big hurdles.

What about the implementation team?

The Stonebranch reps were extremely knowledgeable. It didn't take much for them to figure out what we wanted, how to do it. Danny Provo was one of the primary guys for us. We had some unique things that we had to have converted, and they came up with a solution for every one of them.

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

When we reviewed this solution against other vendors, Stonebranch blew everybody out of the water in terms of cost.

There is a maintenance cost that is required every year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated BMC and we looked at CA's products - we already had CA in house. Tivoli was another we looked at. There were four or five on the list, and we dropped it down to three pretty quickly.

BMC would have been in the running, but they were... "arrogant" is the word I want to say. They just brushed us the wrong way. I think they have a great tool but the sales pitch that they sent to us did more chopping of other products instead of selling their own.

What other advice do I have?

If I were to go to another company, this would probably be the tool I would push for. It's a very sound product. I feel Stonebranch is on the technical edge. I've been to a couple of their conferences. They are going into areas and blowing my mind with where they're going with some of this stuff. They're trying to stay on top of the cutting edge.

When you go to their conferences, you hear how other people are utilizing the tools. Something might spark a concept, where I say, "Maybe I can do that."

We use ServiceNow as our problem management tool, so I'm trying to automate tickets to go into that, but we haven't made it that far yet. We send an email on every task failure over to a public folder, and that's what our operations team copies and pastes. Then they update another gauge in our dashboard so they know that somebody's working on that. Then we have some warning issues. We have things that go into define states, because they could be a sub-apple of a main workflow. Or we have workflows that stack up behind each other because they're the same name. We use resources to control everything. If we do have a maintenance window, I'm using a resource to set it to zero, so any workload coming in after that is waiting for our operations team to release or get the okay after a maintenance window has been performed.

I'm the primary for the maintenance. I have a backup, but he's more my MQ guy. I support MQ as well. I do all the maintenance and controller, so it's one person primarily doing it all. We have three production-control people who do batch scheduling, for new schedules, obsoletions. They reverse their procedures every week. One's doing scheduling, we have one doing user-requests, ad-hoc requests that are coming in on a daily basis to insert into the schedules to run. We have a schedule that we call Production Control and that's where all our user requests go; users who want to run this or that today, that's where they would insert it and run it.

We have about 120 users. They include our DevOps team. We used some business services to lock down some of their pseudo test schedules. We run a production internet environment, and the data that comes out of that actually goes into our development environment, for their testing. We use business services to lock that down. They have eight people who can update tasks, create tasks, etc. That's the only place we're using business services.

We have seven groups. The Administrative group and the "Everything" group comes with the tool. But then we created seven more groups. We strayed away from the default groups and made our own. We have ops-wise-admin, which is the administrative group. We have an ops-wise-all group, which is just readability. Somebody can get into that group and they can see ops-wise, they just can't make changes. Developers is our biggest group. In production, they only have read access, but in our development areas they have full-blown access. We manipulated the permissions to help control production over development. Ops-wise-IT is another group similar to ops-wise-all. I don't know why we had to have that one to give IT some extra abilities, but that's what we did. And we have an operations group for our system operators. They have capabilities to restart workload based on a programmer's request, a plan of failure. They can make modifications to the active instance, but they can't make modifications to the definition. That's how our change control comes into play. Product control has the same access as ops-wise-admin, but they just can't do upgrades.

In terms of the prospect of increasing our usage of the solution, we're looking into the cloud situations, but I haven't been asked how to go that route. Doing it would be a matter of putting an agent out there in the cloud world. Security is the biggest hurdle for me, sometimes; trying to get access. Some of our servers are behind firewalls. It's usually a matter of talking to the right people to get the job done, but I probably have seven agents that are behind firewalls and working just fine.

I run four controllers, but I have six in place. I have two that are high-availability. We were struggling and this is probably an issue with Stonebranch. We had developers who were making changes in our test and development areas, and then we would promote them up to production, but we started having conflicts with sysids. What would happen was that a developer would make a copy of what he wanted to change, and he would go back and rename the original task to "old" or something like that, and then rename the new one to the originally named task. The sysids were now out of sync. Sometimes they would bundle up okay, but once we started seeing a larger volume of them, we started having bundling issues and failures. We elected to go with what we call our change-control environment. It's almost a mimic of our production environment, but now our production control team actually updates the original task upon request. They make the changes in their development and then they submit a change request to have this copied into production or updated into our change-control environment, so we can keep the sysids from getting out of sync. Sysids were probably one of our bigger hurdles, after the fact.

There are no agents running on our product-control system. We variable-ized all our agent definitions and we variable-ized all our credentials. With scheduling, if you hard-code the agent name or the credential, it will actually bundle it up like that, but if you variable-ize them, you can keep them unique between the two systems. In production, this is a production credential, but in test they use an LE-dev credential name. When we go to move that up, it still thinks it's just LE, because we variable-zed it.

Especially when going to a new server - if they want to rebuild a whole new server - all I do is install a new agent as "_new," and the alias name will be whatever, and then, go-live, I just swap the names and scheduling isn't impacted at all. It's pretty sweet the way that works, using the aliases.

I can remember with ESP, we had to have tons of schedule changes and agent name changes to the new one, whereas ops-wise took a lot of that away with the use of variables.

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.
PeerSpot user
reviewer958350 - PeerSpot reviewer
User with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
It has really helped scale automation efforts, but FTP tasks have been an issue

What is our primary use case?

We had no enterprise solution in place for our application. This was meant to support Linux and Windows.

How has it helped my organization?

The organization supports an application which impacts multiple platforms. This has helped a great deal with the initial setup and ongoing maintenance, in terms of being able to do so in one place.

What is most valuable?

  • The layout of the UI is solid.  
  • It has really helped scale automation efforts.
  • I also like the existing templates.

What needs improvement?

  • FTP tasks have been an issue. 
  • It has also been challenging to support PGP encryption which is a fairly standard encryption method.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with the stability of UAC, it has really never been a problem for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The tool is consistently executing large batch jobs. Issues that we attempt to correct are more often than not within the application itself and not UAC.

How are customer service and technical support?

Not much interaction personally.

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

At other organizations, I have used CA Unicenter. It was OK, but on working with UAC, I prefer this tool.

How was the initial setup?

There were some complexities, but that was our own doing in terms of our application and the platforms we support.

What about the implementation team?

We used Stonebranch, they were solid.

What was our ROI?

We have far fewer folks running jobs manually from a command prompt. We have visibility into our job streams. ROI continues to grow.

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

Found it to be reasonable and worth the investment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, CA Unicenter was considered.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer958347 - PeerSpot reviewer
BI - BO Data Services Architect with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Email feature can be customized based on the variables and parameters

What is our primary use case?

  • We are using Stonebranch to automate our MDM solution with all inbound and outbound systems. 
  • We also use it for scheduling jobs or process to extract data from our business app to data warehouse solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

It really helped with the heavy lifting of the integration and scheduling gaps within our MDM solution and other systems. We have ETL solutions with native scheduling feature, but with Stonebranch we have improved our scheduling making it so autonomous and easy.

What is most valuable?

  • Ready-to-use standard API or interfaces available, and flexible scheduling. 
  • The beautiful part of scheduling is you can do weekdays or business days or custom business days. 
  • The template format is very helpful when you have 100s of jobs to be scheduled every day.
  • Email feature can be customized based on the variables and parameters.

What needs improvement?

For me, Stonebranch can do more than integration and scheduling, like real-time interfacing services and point-to-point to integration. With this, we don't want to invest money on multiple tools for different purposes.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

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

We didn't have one enterprise scheduling to automation tool before Stonebranch. With Stonebranch, we are able to bring all enterprise automation to once place.

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

I'm very much pleased with the setup process or installation process, and licensing. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are a SAP shop, we have evaluated Redwood, WorkFusion, and Stonebranch.

What other advice do I have?

No.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Charvi Sharma - PeerSpot reviewer
Technology Analyst at Nike
Real User
You can integrate a lot of applications by using this simple tool, and it holds all the details in a very simplified manner

What is our primary use case?

I am a part of a production support team, and we automate most of our work using this. It reduces all the manual work.

How has it helped my organization?

Earlier, it used to take us a lot of time for file transfers and creating a backup, but after this automation, the pain and time have been reduced a lot.

What is most valuable?

It is very user-friendly, and it is quite easy to use. Moreover, you can integrate a lot of applications by using this simple tool, and it holds all the details in a very simplified manner.

What needs improvement?

More number of FAQs should be provided because I found it hard to configure when I started using this tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I see it as a stable tool so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer support is really helpful.

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

No, I did not.

How was the initial setup?

It was a bit complex for me.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

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

Pricing is very comparable to other tools in the market.

What other advice do I have?

No.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Application Manager at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
User
It has the possibility to connect multiple tasks in a workflow across domains and operating systems

What is our primary use case?

Centralized scheduling and file transfers running on a couple of hundred agents (Windows/Unix/Linux).

How has it helped my organization?

  • We migrated multiple scheduling applications to UAC for less costs and more efficient management.
  • Scripting is also centralized in one library.
  • UAC has a lot of scheduling options for various tasks.

What is most valuable?

  • The possibility to connect multiple tasks in a workflow across domains and operating systems.
  • Also the UDM file transfers and the possibilities which can be achieved with UDM scripting.
  • The GUI is also easy to operate and does not need installation since it is web-based.

What needs improvement?

  • Virtual resource priorities could be better.
  • Maybe in the future, the use of queues.
  • Promoting objects to multiple environments at once.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability of UAC is good. When problems do arise, they can be quickly solved most times, so downtime is minimal. We are running a high-availability environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its processes are easily scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Throughout the years we have been working with UAC, the experience we have had with support has been very good. Technical know-how is great and also second line support is very helpful.

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

We used: 

  • IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler
  • Redwood CPS for scheduling SAP tasks
  • Redwood Cronacle
  • Opalis, also
  • AT scheduling on Windows, and
  • Crontab scheduling. 

We switched to UAC because we did not want all the other schedulers and corresponding teams. It is also more cost-efficient.

How was the initial setup?

Since we do have many security rules in our company, we needed to use some external scripting for setting permissions, etc. Without these, installing is a breeze.

What about the implementation team?

We hired an external business consultant who helped us with the installation. Also had a small vendor team (one person) to help us migrate one scheduling application to UAC.

What was our ROI?

No clue.

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

Choose an enterprise license to have unlimited agents, tasks, etc.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at UC4 (Automic Software), but after evaluation, UAC had more to offer.

What other advice do I have?

No additional comments.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Kay Lützel - PeerSpot reviewer
System Engineer at Fiducia & GAD IT AG
User
It is really stable and just needs minimal maintenance

What is our primary use case?

Using Universal Agent as a distributed agent (like extended agents), managed with IBM Workload Scheduler for z/OS.

How has it helped my organization?

It runs unbelievably good because when we installed it, it ran perfectly. It is really stable and just needs minimal maintenance.

What is most valuable?

  • Runs without problems 
  • The joblog (STDERR, STDOUT) is spooled online to z/OS, so it is easy for the z/OS user to manage a distributed job.

What needs improvement?

  • Run in Unix and Windows environments

Additional features:

  • Migration tool for encrypted username/password to use the new Keystore feature
  • UDM third-party file transfer
  • Enable proxy certificates for IBM System SSL.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Manager of Scheduling at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
The bundling promotion feature will greatly save time and improve implementation

What is our primary use case?

We are currently converting a segment of our distributed batch scheduling requirements from another vendor. The new model will give each application the ability to build, maintain and monitor their own batch flows.

How has it helped my organization?

This product will allow us a safer HA environment both in production as well as development /preproduction.

What is most valuable?

The bundling promotion feature will greatly save time and improve implementation by reducing the manual intervention required to move workflows from our test/staging environment.

What needs improvement?

  • The API's need to fully meet the capabilities of the user interface.
  • Better support of workload balancers (F5).

For how long have I used the solution?

Trial/evaluations only.

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

We had a number of schedulers over the years, leading the conversion discussion is usually surrounding vendor support as well as reliability issues.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated seven products and brought in three for proof of concept.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer958344 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
User
The easy-to-use interface gives access to the shell environment of the target system

What is our primary use case?

Universal Agent is used as a distributed scheduling agent with IBM Workload Scheduler for z/OS. It's used in different environments (development, production) for scheduling jobs on open systems.

How has it helped my organization?

Universal Agent and its infrastructure make it very easy to schedule jobs on every system using one scheduler.

What is most valuable?

  • Universal Agent runs very stable and just needs very less maintenance. 
  • The easy-to-use interface gives access to the shell environment of the target system.

What needs improvement?

  • A migration tool for encrypted username/password to use the new keystore feature.
  • Enabling proxy certificates for IBM's System SSL would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It runs very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale the environment by adding new clients to the server pool. However, you have to do some manual work.

How is customer service and technical support?

In most cases, the customer service replies in less than one working day.

How was the initial setup?

Setting it up for your environment and security concepts needs advanced knowledge about the basics.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer951501 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Provided us with a central overview of our Linux and Windows agents and the ability to monitor the exact software-versions of the installed agents.

What is our primary use case?

Scheduling Linux and Windows tasks from a 3rd party scheduler running on IBM z System. Integrating mainframe workload with distributed ones.

How has it helped my organization?

Provided us with a central overview of our Linux and Windows agents and the ability to monitor the exact software-versions of the installed agents.

What is most valuable?

Agent overview with clustering, monitoring and filtering the different operating systems and/or software versions.

What needs improvement?

Dealing with customer requirements and enhancements. The process now is a little bit non-transparent. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is very stable. When problems occurred, they were due to the environment and not the product itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Can be scaled.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer service and technical support are very good and have quick reaction times. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is straightforward but finding the optimal settings is not always trivial.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

IBM zCentric

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer948108 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
My team uses UAC to create workflows based on business requirements, creating patching campaigns and provide support.

What is our primary use case?

We use UAC on a daily basis to serve our internal customers. My team uses UAC to create workflows based on business requirements, creating patching campaigns and provide support. 

How has it helped my organization?

It provides good automation capabilities, our company decided that UAC will be a group standard. It provides great value to our business. 

What is most valuable?

From a Product Owner perspective, I can say that for me, the most valuable features are: web interface, business services allowing to segregate users, reporting capabilities. 

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, training materials and FAQ/support should be improved. For people who start using UAC in a DevOps model, it's hard to understand configuration and how UAC works, how to create workflows, etc. More online classes or tutorials. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, it happens from time to time that UAC is not available, we work with the Stonebranch support team when it happens, it's not 100% bulletproof. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Good, but response time should be improved. We had to chase the support team several times after P1 to get RCA.

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

No.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't part of the team when setup was done.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Radomir P. - PeerSpot reviewer
Radomir P.Senior DevOps Engineer at ING Tech Poland
Real User

affirmative about challenges which should be picked up to improve the support and user experience.

reviewer948102 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Most valuable option is creating tasks and triggering them on scheduled time.

What is our primary use case?

We are scheduling applications and tasks for our internal customers.

How has it helped my organization?

My peers are often contacting the Stonebranch Universal Automation Center to get some help and they often get necessary feedback.

What is most valuable?

Most valuable option is creating tasks and triggering them on scheduled time. It is so helpful that tasks can be added to Workflows and many dependencies can be created between those tasks. 

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, scheduler sometimes is getting turned off due to causes that Opswise was not predicted.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes it fails.

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

No, I did not use any other schedulers. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer948099 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a real estate/law firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Has improved our organization by exposing many dependencies between our batch jobs that would not be visible before.

What is our primary use case?

Automate batch processing jobs that used to run on cron and had very ambiguous logging. It really helped us automated many manual jobs as well that were time-consuming and tedious.

How has it helped my organization?

UAC has improved our organization by exposing many dependencies between our batch jobs that would not be visible before. This helped us improve our job scheduling by managing dependencies and better scheduling of jobs.

What is most valuable?

Workflow editor and the ability to visually see how a particular job or set or jobs will run together, when and under what conditions. 

What needs improvement?

REST API can be improved by exposing more information about running instances. For example, the failed error message of a Stored procedure task cannot be seen through the API. Other features that would be helpful is to dynamically insert new tasks to be run at run time when certain conditions are met. Currently, that's possible with a web service task but only one task can be inserted at a time for one instance which is limiting possibilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We always get great service and support from all of the staff. Lisa has been one of the main contacts and helpful support representatives that has helped us through the years. Thank you Lisa!

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

No.

How was the initial setup?

I was not part of the initial setup of the system so I'm unfamiliar.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not part of the decision process of picking a solution.

What other advice do I have?

Keep up the great work and awesome support!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer948096 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Originally purchased as a replacement for CA7/11, now used for full-blown enterprise automation

What is our primary use case?

Originally purchased as a replacement for CA7/11, now used for full-blown enterprise automation. We utilize agents on Linux, Windows, iSeries, and zSeries machines.

How has it helped my organization?

Made the job of automating tasks easier, especially tasks that cross application boundaries.  Since we have applications that cross multiple platforms, this simplified where tasks get automated from several locations down to a single controller.

What is most valuable?

Workflows in general. It's great to automate across multiple servers through multiple applications. It is also useful to be able to use the universal templates to create our own automation types. We have found this useful for several different applications, as well as our own internal FTP task type.

What needs improvement?

The FTP tasks. Ever since UAC changed to using cURL for FTP, we have had a lot of issues.  90% or more of our FTP tasks have been moved away from the UAC task type to our own FTP task using WS-FTP pro (which has more flexibility, that UAC does not offer such as PGP encryption)

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In some of the earlier releases (5 and prior). Nothing in newer releases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer support was superb! I can't say nearly enough great things about Lisa and the whole gang!

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

CA7/CA11 - switched due to cost.

How was the initial setup?

I was not there for the initial set up of the single environment. That being said, I implemented a tiered environment and it was very easy to set up.

What about the implementation team?

StoneBranch assisted setup.

What was our ROI?

Unknown to me.

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

The pricing of this product, compared to competitors is great. There is a general ease of set up for agents on all systems (except the mainframe which can be a little trickier).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not there at the time of the switch.

What other advice do I have?

UAC is a wonderful product, and as an end user, I would fully suggest looking into this product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
reviewer948087 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a financial services firm
Real User
Helped us automate manual tasks.

What is our primary use case?

FileTransfers and batch automation in Java environments. Implement daily checks on database tables with SQL tasks.

How has it helped my organization?

UAC helped us to automate manual tasks and reduce the time for people to do manual tasks. 

What is most valuable?

Create Java between tasks and show this in a graphical overview. Integrate easily different application with UNIX tasks.

What needs improvement?

Have a better graphical workflow overview, more information on icons, the UI uses. We would like to have information in dependencies in virtual recourses.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's good.

How are customer service and technical support?

Awesome and fast.

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

Our own implementation.

How was the initial setup?

Easy, upgrade was a bit complex.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

Cheap and reliable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Workload Automation Report and find out what your peers are saying about Stonebranch, BMC, IBM, and more!
Updated: July 2022
Product Categories
Workload Automation
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Workload Automation Report and find out what your peers are saying about Stonebranch, BMC, IBM, and more!