The Department of Sustainability and Environment is the Victorian government department that manages the Australian state’s water entitlements and water share trading.
The Department of Sustainability initially used .NET Windows Services, Windows Task Scheduler and SQL Server Agent to manage its batch processing. These tools caused several pain points for the department’s IT staff. Failure notifications were frequently unreliable and lacked sufficient information to identify specific points of failure within scheduled jobs. None of the three scheduling tools had the granular controls needed to restart jobs from the point of failure. Moreover, the system of schedulers in use meant that there were three distinct areas from which to schedule jobs. According to IT Manager Julian Callahan the three schedulers had “no interdependence or process flow capability.”
Following a review of a number of solutions, the department chose JAMS from HelpSystems to consolidate its IT automation. Callahan and his team cited the ability of JAMS to meet all of the department’s requirements as well as the easy-to-use GUI as reasons for their decision. The department runs batch processing overnight to maintain maximum system availability during normal business hours.
“The GUI, the ability of JAMS to interact with our existing systems out of the box without any major coding or scripting overhead – SQL Server, Dynamics AX and .NET – drove our decision,” said Callahan. “Within about a week we were ready to migrate all of our existing schedules into JAMS and we built on the capability of the system from there.”
The solution allows interdependence between the different subsystems, such that an interruption to a stored procedure, will allow subsequent .NET or AX processes to wait or execute an alternative process to handle the fault condition.
The granularity of process flows, along with a single interface point for all scheduling and processes, has enabled the department to adhere to its Service Level Agreements (SLAs) more strictly and to identify and resolve failures more efficiently. With JAMS, the department has been able to eliminate the human error component from repeated operational tasks such as software deployments and daily backups. Callahan maintains that JAMS is a valuable tool for both IT support and IT development teams.
Callahan explains, “Since its implementation we have developed quite a few jobs that have been deployed across our production, test, and development environments. The jobs are customized using an environment variable for each environment. This way of doing things provides consistency in behavior of our systems and reduces the troubleshooting often required to maintain the separate instances of our application.”
By providing a more reliable, efficient and trustworthy Water Register, the Department of Sustainability and Environment has gained a number of benefits. With JAMS in production, the department has increased the reliability of its system as a whole, which has increased “confidence in the Water Register System both internally and by its business partners.” According to Callahan, “This has impacted positively on relationships and cooperation between DSE’s Water Group and its business partners.”
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