The utility gives users a view of all jobs and their dependencies across multiple platforms and will send the operator a trouble alert by email, text, or voice.
There are a number of reasons that fewer IBM i operator jobs exist today than in the past, but among them is the fact that job scheduler utilities have proven themselves reliable and today do much of the work that operators did manually decades ago.
Some familiar names exist among IBM i job schedulers, but the type that seems to be most useful to system administrators today is the cross-platform variety that can schedule jobs on the IBM i, UNIX, and Windows servers from a single user interface. One of the lesser-known schedulers, which has emerged to support the IBM i platform over the past couple of years, comes from MVP Systems Software, Inc., of Farmington, Connecticut. The company's JAMS job scheduler has individual software "agents" that allow it to work with just about any operating system. In fact, the company brags that it has not yet come across an operating system that is not compatible.
Admittedly, JAMS (Job Access and Management System), which is said to be the only .NET batch scheduler on the market, has been more focused on Windows in the past than the iSeries or Power Systems servers. Its users, however, who were happy with how it managed their Windows environments, went back to the company and said, "Hey, why not allow us to use this to schedule jobs on the IBM i platform?" So they did.
"Our clients have been asking for System i support, so we delivered," says Rick Smith of MVP Systems Software. "We tested the System i Agent in more than a dozen existing client installations, and the feedback was extremely positive," Smith says.
The JAMS product has supported the IBM platform for the past two years, but the new IBM i agent announced this past April has a number of enhanced features that make it appealing to shops running a wide variety of servers. For one thing, there is now better integration between IBM i jobs and those running across the enterprise on Windows and Linux servers. With the centralized JAMS Scheduler, users are now better able to resolve dependencies between processes running on the IBM i platform and those running on other enterprise servers. A GUI JAMS Monitor displays a real-time view of all the running jobs on all the servers, including those on the IBM i, and the dependencies between them. The Scheduler, which offers detailed control over different time zones, can trigger tasks on the IBM i from events occurring on other Windows, UNIX, or Linux servers. From the JAMS GUI, users have access to the IBM i batch log files to view and report on a complete batch run. The company notes that all changes to JAMS objects are audited, and there is a GUI differences tool that can be used to see what changed and who changed it.
The utility has a Report Generator that can be used to create custom reports with current, generated, historical, and definition data, and an Integrated Reports Viewer. You can even use the report viewer to automate report generation using a JAMS job definition.
Since many batch jobs run at odd hours, it helps to be notified if things go awry, which is why JAMS now has integrated voice and SMS text communications to notify the operator of any problem. You can even communicate back to JAMS using a portable device.
What's really handy about JAMS is that it not only does job scheduling and workload management, but as of V 4.8 (the current version is 5.2), it also handles file transfers—FTP, FTPS (FTP over SSL), SFTP (FTP using SSH), and Secure Copy employing SSH. The file transfer features support wild cards and automatic retries while maintaining an audit log of all transfer activity. Customers reportedly use JAMS to schedule critical business processes that have to run once an associated file transfer is complete.
However, JAMS isn't just for the operations team. Developers can use JAMS to integrate scheduling and workload automation directly into their applications, according to the company. Using JAMS, developers don't have to write their own automation functions in the application.
While JAMS has an increasingly long list of features, it is relatively easy to install on its own dedicated .NET server. MVP Systems says that from installation to deployment, a company can be up and running within three days or less.
Developers are welcome to download a free copy of JAMS to try it after first registering.
as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1