Operations

When was the last time you thought about your job scheduling software? More than likely, it was when you had a problem with your scheduler or had to sign the check for the annual maintenance bill. Most people don’t view job scheduling software as cutting-edge technology. It’s been around for more than 20 years; a dependable workhorse that continues to automatically submit jobs based on calendar requirements such as time and date. It really hasn’t changed much, right?  
If you believe that, then you should ask yourself the following questions: 

Are all the applications in your environment designed with an online component and a batch component that never overlap?
Does every business process have the luxury of being initiated and then waiting several hours to actually complete?
Can every job be initiated at a predefined time and date without considering any other activity in your enterprise?
 Is every application in your enterprise an “island of information” requiring no input from any other application? 
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it’s time to take a close look at recent advances in job scheduling software—specifically event-driven scheduling. In a report titled “Use Event-Based Enterprise-wide Job Scheduling to Exploit Your Data Center Resources,” IT research firm Robert Francis Group interviewed several clients about their job scheduling strategies. A common response was: “Our scheduling is archaic; it’s a mess. We are going to have to address this and upgrade within a year or so.” 

Traditional Job Scheduling Approach 

Traditional job scheduling software is limited to triggering jobs based on calendar requirements such as time and date. Many older schedulers can also trigger the start of jobs based on the arrival of a particular file. In addition, schedules must be loaded in advance of a run and that means ad hoc execution isn’t practical. Triggers based on the occurrence of a business event were simply not a consideration when traditional job schedulers were designed. 

Event-Driven Job Scheduling 

In the report, “Hype Cycle for IT Operations Processes and Tools” (2004), Gartner views event-driven job scheduling as an emerging technology on the rise, and describes these products as those that “provide batch application integration capabilities to automate straight-through processing requirements based on events and schedules. They manage dependencies across applications and infrastructure platforms, both within and between companies.” 

Event-driven job scheduling takes scheduling processes to a new level of sophistication. As its name suggests, an event-driven job scheduler automates jobs based not only on calendar requirements, such as time and date, but also on application and infrastructure events. When a specified event occurs, such as an incoming invoice from a Web transaction or a business-to-business message, event-driven job scheduling responds instantly in real-time (see Figure 1). 

According to Gartner, event-driven job sc

heduling is designed to impact business by lowering costs for IT operations, improving quality of service, and reducing business risk. 

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