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Mixed Unix/NT Shop Expects Savings with Job Scheduler

Cypress Semiconductor purchased Advanced Systems Concepts' ActiveBatch job scheduling software to manage an implementation of i2 Technologies planning software. Cypress' director of technical operations envisions a growing role for the job scheduling tool.

Dennis Bell, Cypress' director of technical operations, needed a cross-platform job scheduler for an i2 Technologies manufacturing planning solution that goes live this month. The i2 software, which allows Cypress to plan the entire semiconductor manufacturing process, runs on Windows 2000 but works with five servers running Solaris.

Representatives from i2 recommended job scheduling software from BMC Software, which Bell found excellent but expensive for the size of his operation.

"When you get to the point where you have thousands of jobs, then you can justify it. When you have hundreds of jobs, you can't," Bell says.

Cypress began a search of about a dozen to 15 lower cost products to do the job.

"It turns out that cross-platform capable products that are cost-effective are few and far between," Bell says.

The company settled on Hoboken, N.J.-based Advanced System's ActiveBatch tool, which worked out to about $1,000 per server.

In addition to having all the job scheduling features Cypress needed, Bell found Advanced Systems extremely responsive.

One example, is that the product was not initially certified for Solaris 2.6, the minimum Y2K-compliant version of Sun Microsystems' Unix OS. Cypress asked about it. "They said, OK. They had it done in less than a week. We were amazed," Bell says.

Cypress will be rolling out i2 Technology supply chain management software next, and Bell expects to use ActiveBatch with that as well. But he says the increasingly heterogeneous data center at the company headquarters in San Jose, Calif., has many other uses for the job scheduling software.

The data center has 70-80 Solaris servers and nearly 30 Windows NT/2000 servers, Bell says. Traditionally, job scheduling has been done through Unix 'chrontabs,' but the approach doesn't work for distributed applications. The company's development team recently standardized on Windows as a development platform, making distributed applications inevitable for Cypress.

Eventually, Cypress will redo all of the hundreds of current chrontab-managed jobs in ActiveBatch. Bell expects to save money directly and indirectly by redoing the jobs in ActiveBatch.

"Directly, you have a much greater chance that a particular complex set of jobs will complete. You can build in dependencies and retesting that are not strictly time dependent, that are more event dependent," Bell says. "The indirect stuff is all related to what happens if it doesn't complete properly. You end up over time carrying quite a few person hours against just keeping things going."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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