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Lab Report -
Compaq Batch Scheduler (September 1999)
A product review from the Windows NT Magazine laboratories by Michael P Deignan.

Web: http://www.compaq.com

System Requirements:
200MHz Intel Pentium processor or better or Compaq Alpha processor, Windows NT Server or NT Workstation 4.0, 32MB of RAM

Imagine your company is migrating from an IBM ES/9000 processor complex to a distributed Windows NT network. As part of this process, your group must convert various batch jobs responsible for automatically running reports and other activities. Much to your chagrin, NT doesn't have a batch scheduling system. Fortunately, you can use Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0.

Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0 is an enterprise-level scheduling system that lets you develop and deploy batch jobs. An administrative GUI lets you schedule and modify jobs using drag-and-drop functionality. Because the software is a client/server application, you can schedule jobs on multiple machines.

The software consists of six different components – the Automated Process Scheduler (APS), the Sentinel, the Administrator, the Co-ordinator, the Monitor, and Visual Script. These components work in unison to provide you with mainframe-level job-scheduling capabilities.


The APS and Sentinel components perform the various batch jobs in your environment. Every environment must have at least one APS and one Sentinel, but large organisations can have multiple APSs and Sentinels. The APS monitors the schedules you establish in your system. When the APS determines that the software needs to perform a job, it sends the job to a Sentinel process running on one of your machines. The Sentinel executes the job, monitors its progress, and reports its disposition back to the APS. Then, the APS determines how to proceed, depending on the job's final disposition and what comes next in the APSs schedule.

The software’s other four components are administrative utilities that provide an easy environment to work in. The Administrator component helps you configure your APS environment, set user security, and define various objects within the Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0 environment. The Co-ordinator is the GUI tool you use to schedule jobs. This component lets you use a drag-and-drop interface to change job characteristics. The Monitor utility provides a colour-coded display of jobs on your system and their status (waiting to run, running, or completed running). Finally, the Visual Script component lets you create batch jobs with complex interactions between steps. Screen1 shows a typical Visual Script session.

The Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0 environment consists of several different objects you must configure to manage the job-scheduling environment. One such object is the business calendar that you use to determine when jobs can run. For example, if your business is typically open 5 days a week, you might define your business calendar to eliminate batch processing on Sundays. You can add holidays into your business calendar to restrict processing on those days. Another nice feature is the ability to create calendar templates that you can reuse from one schedule to another. You can also create multiple calendars and use one calendar to define certain schedules one way (for instance, processing orders for your warehouse 24 X 7), while running other schedules using a different calendar.

Schedules are another important area within the software. Schedules consist of a collection of processes you run. This object can have dependencies, meaning that one schedule must finish before another schedule completes its work. Within each schedule, processes can also have dependencies, such as the presence of an extract file that a previous process or schedule created. When you create a schedule, you assign a calendar to define when it will run. Furthermore, when you define processes, you can indicate which machine you want them to run on. For example, you can have processes run on the current machine, the most available machine (i.e., a machine that, according to the APSs load-balancing computations, is not heavily loaded), or a specifically named machine. You can also define events to trigger processes.

Not just for NT

Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0 is not just for NT. Sentinel modules are available for a wide range of OSs, including HP/UX, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, SCO Unix, Digital Unix, and OpenVMS. This availability gives you a wide range of capabilities and platform-independent management, because you can use the software to schedule certain tasks on one platform, and use the results to control other functions on your NT network. For example, you can run a database extract job on your AIX database server, FTP the extract file to NT (or use SAMBA to transfer the file using Common Internet File System – CIFS), and schedule another job for execution automatically (e.g., an invoice-print job that uses the extract file as input).

For an enterprise-level product, Compaq Batch Scheduler 2.0 does not have an enterprise-level price tag. The price includes two licenses and is reasonable considering the software's capabilities. Each license is good for either an APS or Sentinel session. Additional licenses are available, so you can add machines to your environment as your needs grow.
If I could purchase only one batch-scheduling package, Compaq Batch Scheduler would be the one.