Training: New Features of AutoMate BPA Server 7

by Dallas Li, in AutoMate News, posted 8/8/07

From the previous AutoMate Training, we had an overview of our newest product: AutoMate BPA Server 7. In this issue of AutoMate Training, we will look at AutoMate BPA Server 7's new features and its differences from AutoMate 6 more in depth.
To start off, let's look at the most significant difference from AutoMate 6 - the new architecture.

New Architecture
AutoMate 6 is a powerful and easy-to-use automation tool. Developed tasks can be deployed across to other AutoMate installations with just a few clicks. As shown in the picture below, a common scenario is to have a centralized location for task development with other machines (Agents) connected for task execution.

Agents

Task results, as you may notice, are not communicated back to the administrator for further processing. Agents maintain their own task lists, making it cumbersome to manage larger implementations. AutoMate BPA Server 7 answers this demand with its client/server architecture - see picture below. In AutoMate BPA Server 7, all the information is stored in a centralized location (Server). Communications between different machines (Agents) and the Server are conducted via TCP/IP. With this, AutoMate BPA Server 7 allows business process automation over multi-machine, cross-platform networks.

 

BPA Computers

Agents can be installed on as many machines as is determined by the Server's capacity. Capacity is measured by the number of client access licenses (CAL) held. A CAL must be purchased for each machine that will be connected to the Server concurrently. Additional CALs can easily be added to expand the Server's capacity.

New Interface
Aside from its new architecture, AutoMate BPA Server 7 also introduces a new graphical interface.

SMC

Server Management Console (SMC)
The SMC replaces the old Task Administrator and is the centralized resource for management and administration of all automated processes in distributed networks.

It offers several powerful features:

  • Workflows - allows creation of workflows and workflow folders.
  • Repository - allows administrators and developers to have access to all previously used objects such as tasks and conditions.
  • Users - allows administrators to assign roles, rights, and views to a given user.
  • Agents - allows the installing and uninstalling of agents responsible for workflow processing.
  • Reports - provides a rich reporting interface including a wide variety of graphs, charts, and tables to display the status and information of your workflows.


WFD

Workflow Designer

Workflow Designer is a new tool for creation of workflow, or a high-level graphical representation of a business process. The available objects offered by the Workflow Designer include tasks, flow controls, events, and conditions. Flow controls are new objects found in AutoMate BPA Server 7. They handle situations based on the success or failure of tasks, as well as on the evaluation of conditions or data results. Events and Conditions are treated similarly to the way Triggers were treated in AutoMate 6.

New Actions
The new Task Builder from AutoMate BPA Server 7 consists of over 220 actions. This is an addition to over 60 new available actions comprised of five new action groups. The new available action folders include the following: Timer, Cryptography, Environment Variables, XML, and Active Directory.

  • Timer - contains actions to start, stop, or read a timer session during task execution.
  • Cryptography - offers actions to encrypt or decrypt files using the specified type and algorithm. The encryption and decryption actions also support PGP encryption/decryption, provided that PGP is installed on the system. It also provides actions to generate Public/Private key files and key containers.
  • Environment Variables - provides actions to manage Windows environment variables.
  • XML - contains 15 different actions to handle XML files, from starting an XML session to merging two XML files.
  • Active Directory - allows users to create automation processes for Active Directory, including creating an Active Directory User.

Conclusion
Along with all the capabilities of AutoMate 6, AutoMate BPA Server 7 offers more actions and features, including a client/server architecture to automate business process over mutli-machine, cross-platform networks. Despite all the powerful features and additions made, AutoMate BPA Server 7 is still easy enough for any user to create automation tasks and now workflows, without writing any code.