BMC adds tool to track batch jobs

Management tools vendor BMC Software Wednesday will unveil an application designed to help IT managers identify and respond to problems in batch-processing jobs.

The Batch Impact Manager software tracks batch data flows and can notify data center workers of potential delays, said Gur Steif, director of application management at BMC. If batch processes fail, IT managers can restart the ones that are most important first.

Cambridge Integrated Services Group has been using Batch Impact Manager for the past three weeks, primarily to help process workers' compensation claims, said Laurie Kenley, the company's production control coordinator.

IT staffers have to ensure that batch jobs for check processing and data warehousing are completed within a tight schedule mandated by service-level agreements between Cambridge and its customers, Kenley said.

"Long runtimes and delayed start times can throw our whole production cycle out of whack, and it can be very difficult to catch this before our deadlines will be missed," she said, noting that Cambridge also faces fines if it fails to meet state government deadlines for issuing workers' compensation checks.

Batch Impact Manager runs on top of BMC's Control-M batch management software, which Cambridge already used. Control-M gives Cambridge's IT staffers insights about individual batch jobs, but Kenley said Batch Impact Manager can monitor multiple batch data flows. She added that it "helps me correct an issue that was driving me nuts: How the heck do you monitor for 'what if'? Now I can."

"It's not at all unusual to have many batch jobs that must finish on time, and if there's something wrong early in a 10-hour processing window, you can have a real problem," said Rich Ptak, an analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates.

He added that large banks and insurers often use custom software to provide functionality similar to what's in Batch Impact Manager. Users would need to weigh whether converting from their current software to BMC's would be cost-effective, Ptak said.

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