Sponsoring TechEd North America 2014 presented us with the opportunity to speak with attendees across a wide range of Microsoft users including system admins, DBAs, enterprise architects, IT operators and managers. The attendees use a variety of Microsoft solutions including SQL Server, SharePoint, Active Directory, Exchange, System Center and more, in addition to many other non-Microsoft applications and technologies.
No matter who the user was, one common trend we saw throughout the week was the need to automate each of these products within a single IT Automation solution. Attendees are currently dealing with multiple automation tools and scripts scattered throughout their IT environments. They immediately saw the value in implementing a single, enterprise-wide solution that could help them in reducing the cost of operations while improving IT agility.
One particular area of interest for the attendees we spoke with was the dual integration between ActiveBatch and Orchestrator. Orchestrator (SCORCH) users value the product for the automation of datacenter and IT operational processes, but find that they must turn to additional automation solutions for workflows and batch processes that support other aspects of the business. While the use of Orchestrator can be considered complicated, the creation of scripts to automate business processes like SAP, Oracle EBS and others takes it a step further and turns a complicated situation into a complex situation. This can generate the implementation of multiple “point” scheduling tools within a single environment, increasing costs and complexity. Since ActiveBatch provides a framework for the automation of Orchestrator runbooks as well as other IT and Business Process automation (e.g. SAP, Oracle PeopleSoft, EBS, Cognos, PowerCenter, Dynamics AX, etc.), it provides a single, “architectural”, approach to unify each of the user’s automation problems without scripting.
Adding to that ActiveBatch’s robust set of integrations offered as product Extensions, attendees were excited about the idea of easily building compound workflows that integrate different technologies which were never designed to work together. For example, users can create a workflow in ActiveBatch where an SSIS package can run then once it is complete, trigger an SAP job that will process the output files or variables from that SSIS package. The result is easy, seamless integration that is easy to develop, manage and maintain.
We enjoy attending TechEd every year for the quality conversations we have with attendees. We are able to learn about attendees’ wants and needs within an IT Automation solution and ensure that ActiveBatch meets and exceeds these points so that we can continue to provide a true “architectural” approach to solving the IT Automation problem.