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Scheduling Time for Job Management

Starting Wednesday at 2 PM Eastern, MB Foster will demonstrate in a Webinar what Windows-based scheduling software should look like. The template for success comes from a strong jobstream management design: the one on HP 3000s.

3000 managers are making moves to Windows. It's been the most popular migration destination ever since HP announced it was leaving the 3000 space. Going to Linux is popular too, and the older generation of the Linux concept, Unix, had good scheduling software choices. Managers buy their own scheduler for all of these migration platforms, because what's included won't do anything close to what MPE delivers.

MBF Scheduler Webinar at 2 PMOver at the IT operations of Idaho State University, the scheduler that's recommended for the Banner/Ellucian ERP package under Unix has been installed. "We went with Automic's UC 4," said IT analyst John MacLerran. "That is the one recommended for use in Banner and it has worked quite well for us. We are currently on Solaris, with some Windows servers (for our report writer, named Argos), and Linux servers for the Oracle middleware servers. We will be moving the Solaris bits to Linux in the next 12 months or so, as we undergo a hardware refresh on our servers."

That's well and good for Unix or Linux sites, but Windows installations don't have such clean choices. MBF Scheduler is a selection that Measurement Specialties made a few years ago. That 3000 shop added Windows to its IT mix and needed 14,000 3000 jobs managed.

Companies that use Windows eventually discover how manual their job scheduling process can become if they're hemmed in with native tools for Windows. Credit card batches must be turned in multiple times a day at online retailers, for example. Measurement Specialities, the manufacturer which still runs a dozen HP 3000s in sites across North America, China and Europe, uses MBF Scheduler. The product manages a complementary farm of Windows Server-based systems to move jobs among servers in Measurement Systems' 3000s.

Terry Simpkins at Measurement Specialties has been devoted to Infor's MANMAN well beyond that vendor's ability to support the ERP app. Like other customers around the community, Simpkins and his team have compared MBF Scheduler to MPE's mature tools, and favorably. Sites like his don't need a separate Unix or Linux server for job scheduling, which is the usual way to keep Windows 2003 or 2012 on schedule.

At Measurement Specialities, for example, the IT pro who handles scheduling never sees the HP 3000. But enterprise server-born concepts such as job fences are tools at that IT pro's command.

Job listings, known as standard lists (STDLISTs), are common to both the 3000 and Windows environment, and MBF Scheduler was built to provide the best of both 3000 and Windows worlds. The software's got its own STDLIST reviewer, integrated with a scripting language called MBF-UDAX.

At Idaho State, a scheduler that would work with an Eloquence-Unix-PowerHouse mix was an early migration target. Before that PowerHouse project shifted to the Banner ERP, a third-party scheduler filled the university's requirement sheet. It was written for Unix, not Windows. The university's MacLerran reported that the Unix scheduler looked good because it looked like MPE/iX scheduling.

We investigated BatchQue+, from Corporate Practical Solutions ( One of the nice things about BQ+ was that you could set up different job queues that could be used to prioritize and categorize batch jobs, similar to the job queue mechanism in MPE.  Also, BQ+ was one of the only products that had an Operator-type interface for management of the queues. That meant our console operator could see what was executing in batch and which queue it was in, as well as which jobs were waiting in the queue — very much like MPE showjob commands.