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ActiveBatch heads to the clouds

The new version of ActiveBatch allows administrators to schedule Amazon Web servers

Advanced Systems Concepts has updated its ActiveBatch job scheduling software to include the ability to schedule and automate tasks in the cloud."We want to help people automate the provisioning of cloud resources," said Jim Manias, Advanced Systems Concepts vice president of marketing and sales.

Version 9 of the software, released Tuesday by Advanced Systems, also includes new workload analysis tools that could help administrators predict what resources they might need in the months and years to come, Manias said.

Administrators have long used ActiveBatch to orchestrate and schedule workloads, eliminating the need to write batch script files. The job scheduling software "allows you to avoid script creation, which is a hidden expense in IT," Manias said. Workloads can consist of a single batch job -- such as running an SAP program or uploading files over FTP once a day -- or it can could consist of multiple programs working together, where the output of one program is fed into another program.

This new version extends this job scheduling capability to the cloud, offering administrators the ability to start up and run virtual servers on Amazon's Web Services (AWS). Now, when an administrator orchestrates a workflow, the software provides the option to deploy a virtual server on AWS. A virtual server can be deployed on AWS at a preselected time, or if some threshold is reached, such as when server memory use grows past a certain percentage. The software does not keep track of billing.

In addition to AWS, the company will also release a service pack in the near future to offer accessibility to Microsoft's Azure cloud service.

The new software will also provide the ability to analyze the organization's job scheduling history, which can provide good tips for planning for future hardware, Manias said. Such metrics can provide the basis needed for establishing service level agreements (SLAs). The software already has recorded in an internal database data about the workloads that have run, including the times they were executed and the how long they took to complete. Workloads tend to grow over time, so the software could provide a predictive view that pinpoints when it might be beneficial to add an additional server to execute the task.

A dashboard has been added to offer administrators a better view of how well SLAs are being met. "You can start to do things on the fly, to make sure you do the right things to stay in your SLA requirements," Manias said. An SLA may state something like a given job must be finished within a specified period of time, or that it be finished by a certain time of the day.

A number of other features have been added as well. The monitoring and alerting capabilities have been upgraded to monitor more sophisticated workloads. The company has added more templates to its integrated jobs library, including ones for running integrating components of the Oracle E-Business Suite into a single workflow. The software has been configured to work with Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 (TFS), which will allow a development team to automate routine processes in the course of developing software within TFS.

ActiveBatch 9.0 starts at about US$20,000.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com


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