Westfield State University: a UC4 customer profile

Legacy, non-standard, batch environment combined with a need for tool allowing easy to control, automated process control drove Westfield State College to use UC4's Applications Manager
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

I spoke with three people from Westfield State University (located in Westfield, MA): Rudy Hebert, Director of Administrative Systems; Marty Tyler, Assistant Director of Systems Administration; and Eric Patrick, Database Administrator.They told me how their organization is using UC4's technology. Thanks for taking the time to communicate with me Rudy, Marty and Eric.

Please introduce yourself and your organization

Founded in 1838 by Horace Mann, Westfield State is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, creed or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

I was also told by UC4 that Westfield has an absolutely fabulous IT department!

What were you doing that needed this type of technology?

The organization had a legacy batch environment that was non-standard. It was in need of process control that would allow batch jobs to be run in an automated, easy-to-control fashion. This tool needed to offer the capability to running job flows and create an environment of automatic job processing. The University was looking for a product with a standard front end, the ability for the environment to recognize and execute Sungard Higher Education Internet Native Banner jobs, Oracle scripts written in PL/SQL as well as allow multiple key IT staff  members to manage the environment using a standard easy-to-use interface.

What products did you consider before making a selection?

At the time, we considered using the Solaris operating system utility Crontab, Reportcaster, UC4 Applications Manager, and UC4 Operations Manager.

Why did you select this one?

We chose UC4 Applications Manager because of its ability to recognize SunGard Higher Education Internet Native Banner jobs. We are also excited that the functionality between the two UC4 products, UC4 Applications Manager and UC4 Operations Manager, are now blended together into the newest product version known as the UC4 Automation Platform. We have been a beta site for UC4 Automation Platform over the past year and are especially thrilled about the upgrade tool within UC4 Applications Manager environment that imports UC4 Applications Manager chains into the new UC4 Automation Platform Processflows. Westfield State University’s Information Technology department is also proud to be the first UC4 client worldwide to install it in a production environment!

What tangible benefits have you received through the use of this product?

Our administrative staff was able to more readily handle Sungard Higher Education Banner jobs such as admissions letter generation, feeds to finance, as well as paperless reporting to our EPRINT server for example. Other benefits include the ability to run other processes on a schedule such as systems checks, Veritas cold and Oracle hot backups as well as integration with internal and external systems, like our third party emergency response system.

What advice would you offer others who are facing similar issues?

Find a system that works well with your major applications. Life is a lot easier if the product is able to integrate well with those applications. The product should offer many options, inform the administrator about the success of the jobs and make the environment more systematic. The other major issue besides functionality is support after the product purchase. UC4 is there when you need them, and that is a big factor to consider when choosing a job scheduling system that supports your major applications.

Snapshot analysis

I've spoken with UC4 in the past (see UC4 Software automates system and workload management for more information). It is clear that today’s datacenter is extremely complex. The proper tools are required to allow staff to see what is happening, become aware of pending issues and deal with them before they turn into application or workload slowdowns or failures.

UC4 is one of the few management technology suppliers that offer products that address the needs of users of mainframes, Linux and Windows.

It would be worth knowing UC4 if your challenges include managing a heterogeneous systems environment.

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