It’s not so much if you need a job scheduling solution for your IBM i, it’s more what type of job scheduler you need. IBM i processing thrives on solid batch processing that runs business production jobs in the correct order, on-time, and corrects for any errors that occur.
But what type of IBM i job scheduling software should you be using? Let’s look at the options IBM provides for job scheduling and put together a simple list of what you should look for in an IBM i job scheduling product.
IBM i Options for Job Scheduling
IBM i users generally have three options for job scheduling:
- Job scheduling using the Submit Job command (SBMJOB) – Used to run jobs either manually or from within another running job.
- Using the generic IBM i job scheduler included with the IBM i operating system – IBM i offers a basic job scheduling function that can be accessed either through the green screen Work with Job Schedule Entries command (WRKJOBSCDE) or through the Management Central Scheduler feature that comes with IBM Navigator for i.
- Using a third-party licensed program, such as SEA’s absScheduler.
WRKJOBSCDE isn’t enough for job scheduling
Many people start out using the basic WRKJOBSCDE job scheduler and find that it either doesn’t meet their needs or they need a more flexible and robust job scheduling solution. People using WRKJOBSCDE frequently run into the following problems:
- WRKJOBSCDE cannot schedule jobs according to an external calendar (such as a holiday calendar) or on floating dates (such as the last day of the month).
- WRKJOBSCDE cannot create complex job workflows where a series of jobs are executed in sequence, with each job being dependent on other jobs completing.
- WRKJOBSCDE cannot specify and start alternate job workflows when a problem occurs within a scheduled job.
- WRKJOBSCDE cannot control and schedule jobs running on different IBM i partitions.
- WRKJOBSCDE is not able to pass parameters or variable data to a scheduled job.
- WRKJOBSCDE is not able to alert IT responders when a problem occurs in the job scheduler.
- WRKJOBSCDE cannot insure that all related jobs in the same job stream run with the same attributes, library lists, job queues, output queues, etc.
Because of these limitations, many companies find they can’t use the WRKJOBSCDE job scheduler for their needs and they must turn to third-party scheduling products such as SEA Software’s absScheduler, to provide the robust job scheduling environment that will run on all their IBM i partitions.
What to look for in an IBM i job scheduling solution
If you’re looking to move away from IBM’s basic WRKJOBSCDE job scheduler, we found the following items are the most critical features to look for when evaluating any third-party job scheduling solution.
- Multi-system scheduling – Allows you to schedule jobs to run across multiple IBM i systems and partitions
- Scheduling complex job workflow – Allows you to schedule job workflows where each job must execute in succession.
- Specifying conditions and dependencies for scheduled jobs to run – Scheduling jobs to be run or skipped based on complex dependencies, such as another job’s completion or failure status; files being created or changed; time of day; and calendaring functions to designate jobs should run on specific dates, days of week, holidays, fiscal dates, or days of months (1st, 15th, last day, etc.). Job workflows can automatically react to other information and change their setups while running, depending on system conditions and dependencies with other jobs.
- Passing user-defined variables into submitted jobs – Allows you to change processing parameters for submitted jobs automatically, without having to change your programs.
- A graphical dashboard to view job schedules and the status of running jobs across multiple IBM i systems and partitions. This provides IT Ops with a single pane of glass for viewing and analyzing all running IBM i jobs, regardless of which system the job is running on.
- Group options to allow you to group and change specific jobs and workflows in one pass—This allows you to group jobs and workflows together, for easy identification, tracking, and modification of all jobs within a specific group.
- Alert options, to define and create alerts to be sent to IT responders based on unusual events within a running job – Alerting scheduled responders when a job ended abnormally, or when a job ran too early, too late, or too long.
- Automatic corrective action launch when a job is running off-schedule or ended abnormally, reacting to events occurring within a job stream. To automatically adjust your job stream when things go wrong.
- Report on job history and future runs – To easily determine what happened the last time a scheduled job was run and when it’s scheduled to run again.
These are the most critical items to look for in an IBM i job scheduling tool. Visit our website at www.seasoft.com for more information about IBM i job scheduling and products.