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JUNE 2016 NEWSLETTER
 

Welcome to Elyzium Advisor - a regular bulletin from Elyzium, the UK’s leading Workload Automation experts.

 
 
“Elyzium Advisor” aims to inform and educate our readers, by providing a regular roundup of the latest Workload Automation, IBM and Elyzium news. In this issue, we discuss the future of workload automation, share how Elyzium helped YBS Group to cut costs & improve efficiency, advise how to upgrade from IWS 8.5 to 9.3 (it's not too late!), and announce the exciting new features of ILMT 9.2.4.
 
 
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HOT TOPIC
 
THE STATE OF WORKLOAD AUTOMATION IN 2016

What are the next big things in Workload Automation, what's driving them, and how will they affect you?
 
 
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Since the introduction of the early mainframe systems, Job Schedulers have formed a fundamental part of the IT infrastructure. IBM introduced its first z/OS scheduler in the 1970’s, and nearly 40 years, multiple name changes and technology advancements later, IBM Workload Automation technology is still working away in the background of a vast number of well-known organisations across the planet. 

In more recent history came a move from traditional, multi-platform, and resource intense batch scheduling environments towards highly efficient and centralised Workload Automation solutions. Workload Automation may now be a mature technology, however as the foundation for process and technology integration, it must continually evolve to keep pace with digital transformation.

Over the last few years, Cloud has been the major driving force behind many advancements in Workload Automation technologies. Whilst full Cloud adoption has been significantly less than envisioned, Hybrid solutions have become the norm with most IT departments consuming technology “as-a-service” to at least some degree. WLA has had to adapt accordingly, and as a result, over the last few years we’ve seen the introduction of support for Public Clouds (including SaaS, PaaS and IaaS), the new ability to automate and monitor workloads across Hybrid environments from a single point of control, and the choice to consume WLA as-a-service from a few leading vendors, including IBM via Service Engage.

Aside from new Cloud related features, recent advancements in WLA solutions have included critical path monitoring and predictive analytics, options for open integration (e.g. via RESTful API’s), increased out-of-the-box integration with other business applications, and more complex event-based scheduling and triggers.

But what’s next? What advances can we expect to see in the WLA arena in the next few years? What is driving these changes, and how will they affect you?

Digital Transformation
Digital transformation - the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society – is having a massive impact on all IT services, including WLA, and will continue to do so. As user demand grows for the ability to consume services on the move and in any way they choose (from PC’s to Smart Phones) organisations must change the way they conduct business and engage with their customers. Since this includes making services available to clients quickly, in real-time and from a number of sources, the implication for WLA is increasingly shorter windows of time to process larger and larger files

Rapid Rate of Change
The pace at which we require change, in terms of the delivery of new services and applications and the frequency of updates to existing ones, is accelerating. As a result dedicated DevOps and Continuous Delivery Teams have become standard within most organisations, and it is down to the WLA service to deliver self-service, exposed APIs, “what-if” modelling and scheduling capabilities built directly into applications to assist them with delivering changes at the rate now demanded.

Both digital transformation and rapid rate of change are the drivers behind many of the improvements and advancements expected in WLA solutions, including:

  • Embedded Scheduling within applications will increase to assist with continuous delivery
  • Better self-service functionality and more dashboards, mobile apps etc. to allow increased involvement and understanding from LoB stakeholders
  • Improvements to the change management of agents must continue to accommodate increases in Hybrid Cloud usage
  • Increased support for Big Data in relation to awareness, control and manipulation
  • Increased collaboration through user communities to allow users to share their innovations and customisations
  • Automation, monitoring and control of the application release process
All businesses will take a different approach to adopting this new functionality as and when it is released. Some will be key in driving the developments in the first place, and some will introduce the different features gradually as and when they are required. What’s clear however is that Workload Automation forms the backbone of every organisations IT infrastructure, and it is a fundamental requirement for all businesses to embrace it if they wish to keep pace with their competition.
 
 
 
 
 
BREAKING NEWS
 
ILMT 7.5 END OF SUPPORT DATE ANNOUNCED FOR APRIL 2017...

But with the new version 9.2.4 release of IBM’s License Metric Tool (ILMT) come some great new features.
 
 

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ILMT v9.2.4 is now available, and includes key features which significantly assist customers to reduce software costs, manage compliance, and mitigate security risks. Highlights include:

License metric thresholds for IBM products
ILMT 9.2.4 allows users to specify a metric threshold (for PVU or RVU per software products) to show how the metric consumption they would like to maintain relates to actual consumption. When these values are set ILMT automatically compares them to the gathered PVU and RVU MAPC utilisation and provides delta counting. Email notifications can be scheduled to be sent automatically when the threshold for any product is breached, and a new “Exceeded Thresholds” predefined report provides a list of products that have exceeded their threshold.

Customers are now able to better manage their IBM compliance, avoid over-deployment of software, as well as identify IBM products that are highly under-deployed resulting in cost reduction and optimisation.

New Platform & Hypervisor Support
The new version of ILMT introduces BigFix client support for:

  • Oracle Linux 7
  • Power Linux on the Little Endian architecture
  • PowerKVM

You can find a full list of supported platforms and hypervisors here.

New Software Classification panel (preview feature)
ILMT’s new Software Classification panel provides users with advanced sorting and filtering capabilities, and supports both pre-defined and custom reports in order to simplify the task of classifying products (bundles, suites and more) in a well-structured and effective way.

This new feature provides ILMT users with a flexible and effective way of analysing IBM products, delivering significantly improved visibility of the types of IBM software bundles that are applicable to their environment. They can also updated and modified easily, thus reducing operational and administrative costs as well as improving compliance visibility.

This is a preview feature, and whilst fully supported, it will be enhanced in stages following customer feedback and recommendations for further development.

With the end-of-support (EOS) date for ILMT 7.5 having recently been announced for April 2017, now is a good time to upgrade! For more information about ILMT 9.2.4, including installation instructions, please visit developerWorks

If you have any questions, or require assistance with the upgrade process then Elyzium can help, just drop us a line.

 
 
 
 
 
ELYZIUM UPDATE
 
CLIENT REFERENCE; YORKSHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY GROUP

Yorkshire Building Society Group cuts costs and improves efficiency with IBM Workload Automation Hybrid Licensing Model.
 
 

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About Yorkshire Building Society Group
Founded in 1864, Yorkshire Building Society Group has grown to become the UK’s second largest building society with over 3.5 million members, over 4,000 employees and assets of over £30 billion. As a member owned, mutual organisation, Yorkshire Building Society Group’s vision is to be the most trusted financial services provider in the UK by delivering financial security, long-term value and excellent service to its members.

The Challenge
IBM Workload Scheduler (IWS) has been operational within Yorkshire Building Society Group’s infrastructure since the late 1990’s. In 2012, they were using IWS across just 20% of the YBS Group server estate, and native schedulers such as CRON and WinTab for the remaining 80%. The use of multiple tools had led to a complex environment that was difficult for the Production Services Team to manage, and a requirement to run jobs manually where integration with applications such as Oracle Financials and Business Objects was required. In addition, the lack of a centralised view meant that errors could easily be missed.

To overcome their challenges, Yorkshire Building Society Group wanted to extend the use of IWS to a far larger proportion of their server estate. Their requirements however entailed running a small number of jobs across a large number of servers, and since the traditional processor value unit (PVU) based licensing model for IWS was ideally suited to a small number of servers running a high number of jobs, the cost for purchasing the additional licenses they would require was prohibitive to YBS Group.

The Solution
Yorkshire Building Society Group started speaking to Elyzium, IBM’s most experienced IWS Business Partner, in early 2013. They commissioned Elyzium to undertake an assessment of the YBS Group scheduling environment, not only taking into consideration the existing small IWS environment, but additionally YBS Group’s server estate as a whole. The assessment included a licensing cost analysis, which demonstrated clearly the costs for YBS Group to extend their IWS scheduling capabilities to a larger percentage of servers, using firstly the traditional PVU licensing model, and secondly the newly introduced per-job-pricing (PJP) model. The PJP model is designed for organisations running a low number of jobs on a high number of servers, so was the ideal solution for YBS Group to extend their existing IWS environment in a cost effective manner. As a result of the assessment and licensing cost analysis, the YBS Group team were able to build a strong business case to take to the Senior Management Team, which was subsequently approved.

YBS Group is now using IWS across 50% of their servers in 6 different environments.

“Elyzium’s expertise and advice has been invaluable to YBS Group. As experts in the field of Workload Automation, and as IBM’s most accredited IWS Business Partner, Elyzium was able to advise us about IBM’s PJP licensing model, enabling the significant expansion of the IWS environment within YBS Group without exceeding budgets. We are now able to deliver the benefits of a modern, robust, flexible and high availability workload automation environment with little manual intervention, and enjoy peace of mind that our future needs are catered for.”

- Nigel Jowett, Yorkshire Building Society Group.

The Business Outcome

  • The hybrid licensing model increased IWS usage from 20% to 50% of servers 
  • Reduction in management effort required and associated operational costs
  • “Single-pain-of-glass” control 
  • The hybrid licensing model using PVU and PJP allowed YBS Group to install and use IWS where previously it was perceived to be too expensive
  • Gradual eradication of all the different types of manual batch submission, including CRON and WinTab
  • A more flexible and agile IT Workload Automation solution with the ability to easily cater for existing and future Workload Automation needs, including mobile technology
If you have any questions or require further information then please get in touch.
 
 
 
 
 
TWS INTELLIGENCE
 
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO UPGRADE!

The end-of-support (EOS) date for TWS 8.5.x is looming. But don’t worry, upgrading to the latest version not only brings a plethora of new features and benefits, but is also far easier than you may have thought!
 
 

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On 30th September 2016, Tivoli Workload Scheduler v8.5.x will no longer be supported by IBM – you can read the announcement here.

If you are using TWS v8.5, then it’s not too late to upgrade to IBM Workload Scheduler v9.3. We’ll tell you how to go about it later in this article, but first, aside from the EOS date, why should you upgrade? IBM Workload Scheduler (IWS, formerly Tivoli Workload Scheduler/TWS) has been improved significantly in the last two years - from the addition of multiple new features to the introduction of more flexible licensing options – leading to IBM Workload Scheduler being named the most improved product in the EMA Radar for Workload Automation earlier this year. Key highlights of IWS 9.3:

  • Predictive impact analysis and what-if functionality allows potential problems and future behaviour to be anticipated, aiding decision making and optimisation planning.
  • Standard integration with many additional business applications and tools to assist with application developer’s autonomy, including (but not limited to):
    • Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft
    • Salesforce.com
    • IBM WebSphere MQ
    • IBM Sterling Connect: Direct
    • IBM Netezza Performance Server
    • 140
    • RESTful Web Services
  • Simplified and enhanced SAP scheduling integration, including new support and certification of the Solution Manager interface hence now enabling Workload Scheduler to act as an external scheduler for SAP.
  • Customisable “drag and drop” dashboard capabilities allows users to quickly and easily build a personalised monitoring dashboard to provide an “at-a-glance” view of their Workload Automation environment.
  • Significantly enhanced automatic patching and upgrade for fault-tolerant and dynamic agents, from a single point of control.
  • Improved self-service catalogue now delivered via mobile interfaces in simple language exposes scheduling services to technology management professionals
  • The ability to define more complex scheduling rules with fewer steps using Run Cycle groups

Upgrading from v8.5.x to v9.3 of IWS is reasonably straightforward. Watch this video to see a short overview of the 5 steps involved, or for more detail visit developerWorks. If you have any questions or need assistance with the upgrade process then Elyzium’s XpertCare team are on hand, just drop us a line.

And finally, once you’ve upgraded to IWS v9.3, you may want to apply Fix Pack 2 to start benefiting from even more improvements and functionality. Released at the end of May, FP2 highlights include enhanced security management, centralised Hybrid Cloud management, and a new plug-in for Apache Oozie. Further detail regarding all the new features, enhancements and fixes can be found in the IBM Workload Scheduler 9.3 FP2 Read Me file, and the Fix Pack itself can be downloaded here.

Additionally IBM’s Workload Automation YouTube channel has a dedicated playlist with videos featuring the new enhancements released with IWS v9.3 Fix Pack 2 – you can view them here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance.

 
 
 
 
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HAVE YOUR SAY IN OUR NEXT NEWSLETTER...
 
 
 
 
 
We want to make Elyzium Advisor as informative and interesting to our readers as possible, which is where you come in! Maybe you have a burning question about TWS or Workload Automation in general that you would like our experts to answer? Perhaps you’d like to benchmark your organisations use of Workload Automation tools against your peers? Or could you even be a budding subject matter expert that wants to write an opinion piece? Well here’s your chance! To contribute your ideas for future issues of Elyzium Advisor please drop us a line. So what are you waiting for?
 
 
 
 
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