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UPS drives down costs with job scheduling

Despite rising demand for batch processing, UPS kept staffing costs down, thanks to job scheduling software from Cybermation.

Job scheduling software keeps the IT operations at the United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) running efficiently as its deliveries, it claims.

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UPS uses Cybermation Inc.'s ESP, an automation tool to schedule batch processing across mainframe and distributed systems. The company uses it to schedule jobs for payroll, ledgers, tracking packages and managing customs regulations.

According to John Horuzy, project manager at UPS, the company has 15 mainframes and 30 supporting servers in the system, performing 1.2 million jobs per week with data centers in New Jersey and Altanta. "But [Cybermation] gives me one view of all of our processes," he said.

Before Cybermation, Horuzy used CA Inc.'s CA-7 job management software to schedule batch processing. But he said Cybermation's ESP mSeries was much easier to schedule commands.

"CA-7 was panel driven. You really needed training and it wasn't as flexible. You had to put the right information into each panel, and you had to know how to get that information," Horuzy said.

UPS' batch processing demand grew 40% over the last five years, but Horuzy has kept the same staff levels for monitoring production. His team includes 26 technicians.

Job scheduling software started out on the mainframe. Traditional batch processing workloads queue several calls for a specific processing request and perform them overnight. For example, applying for insurance would take a company five to seven days to execute the applications involved in the process. But today, a lot of those jobs are running as Web-applications over distributed servers, and that Web-based processing has to happen in real time.

"A lot of technology that's started on the mainframe has moved down the platform, and that also reflects the enterprise data center's evolution," said Charles King, principal analyst with Hayward, Calif.,-based Pund-IT Research.

Horuzy uses batch scheduling across both mainframes and distributed systems. "I don't see mainframes going away in the next 10 years," Horuzy said. "We're just using them smarter."

Ray Nissan, CEO of Cybermation said job scheduling is becoming an integration point between Web servers and the traditional mainframe workloads.

"Any large company that's been around for 20 years will have a large back office that they've built themselves," Nissan said. "They've also got event driven, Web services style apps. We work with both and supply a single, unified product for the enterprise, rather than piecemeal approach."

According to Nissan, Cybermation's biggest competitors are the big systems vendors: IBM, CA, BMC Software Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. But while those companies sell job scheduling software as part of their overall packages, Cybermation's is a point product.

"If you're managing Windows, Web-apps and Linux -- all of that is managed with one product," Nissan said. "IBM will sell you five tools to make it all work."

King said one of the ways a smaller company with a point product can get in the door past the big players is through long-term business relationships. "They understand the peculiarities of their customers' IT environments and they understand the processes."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, Site Editor

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