Workload Automation vs. Job Scheduling
The terms workload automation and job scheduling are often used interchangeably. Workload automation and job scheduling are in fact closely related; however, workload automation solutions cover a broader range of capabilities than traditional job scheduling.
In short, workload automation is an advanced, flexible form of job scheduler.
Defining Workload Automation and Job Scheduling
A job scheduler is a tool for automating IT processes. In most cases, this is done on a platform-by-platform basis. For example, there are many native job schedulers built into operating systems. Microsoft Windows features Windows Task Scheduler, while Linux and UNIX platforms have cron as their native job scheduler. These job schedulers emerged as tools for executing tasks during the "batch window,”—that is, running batch jobs after hours when business processes are finished. Job schedulers take care of activities like database maintenance and prevent the need for operator intervention during the job schedule.
Workload automation is also a method for automating a series of background processes and back-office business systems. A workload automation solution may support multiple business applications and workflows that include cross-system dependencies. With the constant rise of new enterprise technologies, workload automation software satisfies the need to make sense of the many different (and traditionally siloed) schedulers used for disparate systems.
Workload Automation: A Transition to Broader Automation
Streamlining business processes is central to both workload automation and job scheduling, the difference being mainly one of scope. Workload automation can be thought of as a successor to job scheduling because it attempts to automate entire systems that may contain heterogeneous server environments and, by extension, disparate job schedulers.
Moreover, workload automation is very much a response to the rise of more complex business processes and diverse server and device platforms, as well as applications and web services that must support a broad cross-section of users. For these reasons, job scheduling on individual platforms is being woven into the larger process of workload automation. Workload automation extends the core benefits of job scheduling—automation and saving time by switching tasks from human to machine operators—to multiple platforms working in concert. Ultimately, this creates better compatibility with the huge set of third-party applications and operating systems now in use among businesses.
Workload Automation Trends
There has been plenty of incentive for businesses to adopt workload automation in recent years, especially as they continue to roll out complex ERP tools and other services that require coordination of operating systems and schedulers. Still, adoption of complete workload automation programs is in its early stages.
According to the HelpSystems Data Management Survey, less than half of enterprises feel that their applications and systems are fully integrated with data sources. This statistic reveals a pressing need for an automation solution that can work with any database or third-party application for centralized, enterprise-wide workload automation.
Using a workload automation tool like Skybot Scheduler simplifies complex workflows and addresses some of the issues that might arise when using older or native job scheduling solutions. Some potential problems with more traditional tools are:
- Poor synchronization between different job schedulers
- No integrated or managed file transfer capabilities
- Difficulty of moving jobs across different platforms
- No compatibility with systems management solutions
- Limited ability to evaluate run times via service level management
Clearly, there's a big opportunity for workload automation software to streamline activities like file transfers and data migration from one platform to another. In addition to those specific pain-points, enterprises have realized that sticking with siloed legacy job schedulers costs more in terms of personnel time and energy than implementing a modern solution.
Workload Automation with Skybot Scheduler
Skybot Scheduler is an intuitive, powerful job scheduling tool that can integrate automation on Windows, UNIX, and Linux server environments and across multiple business applications. Skybot Scheduler makes it easy to build complex schedules and create a sophisticated workload automation strategy.
With Skybot, your IT team can take advantage of the following features:
- Event-driven scheduling and advanced options for ensuring that tasks are completed on time and in the desired order
- Custom notifications via email, SMS or SNMP trap
- Simple file transfers without the need to enter syntax
- Central monitoring, including a dashboard that provides detailed data on job scheduling trends and forecasts schedules based on historical activity
- Real-time database replication to a standby server in order to prevent unplanned downtime
- Granular logging and auditing of job creation in order to make meeting regulatory compliance easier
Skybot Scheduler delivers the benefits of job scheduling in the era of workload automation thanks to its cross-platform functionality and robust features.