BMC Software this week unveiled upgrades to its batch management and job scheduling software the company says will help customers manage systems more securely and with less software.
The company introduced the new features in its Control-M 6.3 batch management and job scheduling software to about 1,500 attendees at BMC User World, an inaugural user conference that encompasses customers of BMC and Remedy. The software -- a BMC staple that helps customers define jobs, configure software to start jobs automatically and monitor their progress and completion -- now collects data agent software.
Control-M installs on one or more dedicated Unix, Windows or Linux boxes and, instead of distributing agents to machines being managed, uses remote-access protocols such as Windows Management Instrumentation or Secure Shell to collect data from the systems, which perform check processing or data warehousing tasks, among others. Without having to distribute agents, BMC customers deploy the software more quickly and manage distributed systems more securely, industry watchers say. In the past, the software required agents to be installed on every system managed.
"Using standards-based remote-access protocols ensures fast deployment and interoperability for a very wide range of platforms," reads a recent Enterprise Management Associates white paper on the new Control-M release. "It also addresses significant issues in security and compliance by ensuring there are no clear text passwords exposed in network traffic and no undocumented holes in firewalls."
Customers say because agent code is not required, they manage more machines with Control-M without adding overhead to existing systems or giving staff additional manual duties, such as distributing and updating agent software. Deploying agents on hundreds of servers can be a time-consuming process and requires staff to have extensive knowledge of multiple systems, they say.
"Control-M lets us take all our Windows, Unix and OpenVMS operating systems and manage them under a common platform, so that saves our staff time in learning three different management consoles," says Robert Stinnett, senior systems analyst and capacity planner at Carfax. "Without agents, we don't have to worry about putting another footprint on a noncritical system."
He has been using Control-M for about three years to manage some 120 systems, and says he is looking forward to upgrading to the newest version by early next year. An enhanced user interface and .Net support are among other features planned for the next version he says he intends to use. In the past, Java in one BMC product "didn't always play nice" with the flavor of Java in another BMC product, he says.
Even with the enhancements, however, Stinnett says he would like to see better integration with other BMC products such as Performance Manager (formerly Patrol). "I'd like that integration so when, for example, Performance Manager notices that a system is missing thresholds and busy, Control-M would stop sending jobs to that particular system," he says.
Like competitors CA and IBM, BMC is pushing its mainframe and legacy systems-management tools to support distributed systems and integrate better with them. For instance, its agentless software support works across distributed systems as well.
Control-M 6.3 pricing starts at US$4,000 for a workgroup server. Enterprise packages are available starting at US$40,000. The Enterprise Manager component of Control-M is available now, and other components are scheduled to be available by year-end.