REVIEWER: Robert Stinnett, senior analyst for CARFAX.
BACKGROUND: The most trusted provider of vehicle history information, CARFAX is used by millions of consumers each year. CARFAX Vehicle History Reports are available on all used cars and light trucks model year 1981 or later. Using the unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN), a CARFAX Report is instantly generated from our database of more than 6 billion records.
PLATFORMS: CARFAX uses a variety of platforms, such as OpenVMS, Windows and Linux to help the business achieve its goals. Through the use of BMC Software’s workload automation solution, BMC Control-M, we have been able to integrate our workload processing under a common interface so no matter what platform it is on, the interface is the same.
PROBLEM SOLVED: CARFAX currently uses BMC Control-M, to manage more than 100,000 daily job executions. CARFAX wanted the ability to have a “big picture” view of everything that was going on in the workload environment, thereby relieving us of having to maintain multiple, independent scheduling systems. We turned to BMC Control-M for Databases to allow us to remove PL/SQL wrapped scripts around SQL calls and stored procedure calls. This gave us the ability to integrate database processing with the workload that BMC Control-M manages for CARFAX. The business benefit is that the integration with the other batch processes provides a single point of control for all batch and batch-related workload, increasing our span of control and decreasing the potential for errors. Furthermore this has enabled CARFAX to integrate its database processes with batch service level agreements and expose them to the enhanced compliance, audit and alerting mechanisms available within BMC Control-M.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: BMC Control-M for Databases extends all of the facilities of the leading workload automation solution to database management processes. BMC Control-M is now able to submit, manage and monitor every aspect of database management as regularly defined and schedule jobs incorporating the standard facilities of BMC Control-M, including security, alerting, auditing, reporting, forecasting and SLA management. Cross-platform applications, complex dependencies, automatic recovery and time-sensitive considerations are all catered to in this extension to BMC Control-M, helping to reduce manual intervention and provide better control costs. Production-control personnel can analyze events and problems in a timely and efficient manner. Additionally, CARFAX is currently migrating production SQL scripts and Oracle PL/SQL scripts to BMC Control-M for Databases. This will allow us to have more granular control from an administrative and operational perspective and also provide a much more secure means of knowing how a database process was introduced into the environment. It also makes our audit stakeholders happy by retaining a complete lifecycle of any changes that were made to these workload elements. Thanks to BMC Control-M’s auditing and security functions, we can really make sure that we have control over production changes and that we can track and manage processing across the enterprise.
STRENGTHS: The greatest strength of BMC Control-M for Databases is the ability to eliminate PL/SQL scripts. This simplifies administrative tasks, reduces the potential for error and speeds change and recovery times. Other strengths include the way that it allows us to seamlessly integrate database processes with the rest of the batch workload environment, giving CARFAX a single way to manage our business processes. Administrative functions are simplified by the secure way it handles permissions and controlling. The solution also gives us a better way to understand which users are able to access specific databases and various tables within the environment.
WEAKNESSES: In its initial release, BMC Control-M for Databases did not yet support pointing to service names in Oracle. Currently, a user must point to a node, and if that node happens to be down, the job simply will not run. This is currently a temporary roadblock for some of our projects, but the delay is expected to be resolved as BMC Software has included this capability on their product development roadmap and we were told they will deliver it to the market in an upcoming release.
SELECTION CRITERIA: CARFAX looked to the strength of the BMC support community for BMC Control-M as an attractive benefit when identifying potential vendors. In addition, Gartner recommended the solution and gave BMC Control-M a high ranking, which also influenced our decision. Another benefit we saw was the ability for BMC Control-M to integrate with other products such as help desk solutions, notification systems and event management systems.
DELIVERABLES: Automating business processes reduces the need for manual intervention and allows employees to focus on more challenging tasks.
VENDOR SUPPORT: BMC has been very supportive of the entire BMC Control-M product line, including the database add-on line. BMC has come on-site to help us with issues numerous times, and their phone support is one of the best I have personally encountered. In addition, a strong community of BMC employees and customers on various mailing lists, social media sites and online communities means that most questions can be resolved in less than a day.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation of the product is complete but could use some more examples of Oracle-specific job processing. We can tell that the manual was written with SQL Server in mind. However, from an administrator point of view, we had no trouble installing the product by simply following the documentation.
BMC Control-M for Databases
2101 CityWest Boulevard
Houston, TX 77042
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