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Score 8.6 out of 101
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Score 9.5 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

ActiveBatch

I used to work in a company that only used SQL Server Agent to handle imports and exports of ETL data. ActiveBatch is far more powerful and easy to use, so I definitely would recommend it. I would think of three questions: (1) Do you handle a large volume of exports and imports in a given week? (2) Do you need a lot of configurable options, such as with scheduling? (3) Do you utilize a variety of ETL processing tools (such as GlobalScape EFT and Microsoft SSIS) but want one tool to work with them all? If yes to those questions, then ActiveBatch would well fit the bill for you then.
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AutoMate

  • A medium to large sized company where there are a lot of similar tasks (FTP, purging, etc.) that have to be done on a regular as needed basis.
  • Also good where you don't have a dedicated programmer or they are too busy to dedicate time to these types of jobs. Creating the tasks is almost an object-oriented scenario. i.e.: drag what you need to where you need it.
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Feature Rating Comparison

Workload Automation

ActiveBatch
6.9
AutoMate
Multi-platform scheduling
ActiveBatch
8.1
AutoMate
Central monitoring
ActiveBatch
8.4
AutoMate
Logging
ActiveBatch
5.0
AutoMate
Alerts and notifications
ActiveBatch
7.0
AutoMate
Analysis and visualization
ActiveBatch
5.3
AutoMate
Application integration
ActiveBatch
7.6
AutoMate

Pros

  • One good feature I already mentioned is that once you create a configuration object (such as a schedule object), you can reuse it as much as needed. This minimizes errors in scheduling because there's less opportunity to make a configuration error with future similar jobs that would follow the same schedule, makes it more efficient to schedule those new jobs, and makes it efficient to make scheduling changes--change the scheduling object once and all the related jobs' schedules are automatically changed.
  • Partial path execution is a good strength, especially for testing/debugging. I can have a decently sized tree of process nodes for a given job, but I can easily deactivate the nodes I do not want to include in my testing.
  • Being able to define test and production jobs in separate environments and easily change the settings of one without affecting the other is another strength. Often I would have a job set up in a test environment and after testing it, it would get ported to a very similar production environment with only having to change 3-4 parameter settings. And then I could easily deactivate the test job while still keeping it all set up in the event of needing it for future enhancement/troubleshooting.
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  • FTP jobs. Flexible scheduling and file watching options (send a file when added to a folder). Also flexible file naming capabilities - when a vendor wants a file with a different format (or vice-versa) Also the new encryption steps are handy.
  • File watching capabilities - If you have files that have to be somewhere by a certain time this is very handy. You can pair this with Automate's email capability (easy to use).
  • File Copying - If you have a lot of files that have to be sent on a schedule this is the way to go. You can also filter by date so only recent files are copied.
  • File Purging - like copying you can use date filters to purge old files - no more clogged folders!
  • Conditional statement functionality - If/Then, Loops, etc. Easy to use and makes the tasks MUCH more useful.
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Cons

  • While I like being able to reuse scheduling objects and the like, more work needs to be done to help one not reinvent the same scheduling object without realizing it and to then find scheduling objects that have similar schedules even if they are worded slightly differently than what I'm expecting. It needs to be "smarter". It was easy to accumulate a pool of scheduling objects that while named differently, had exactly the same schedule. It was also hard to sift through to find the little differences between similarly named scheduling objects.
  • The logger had a clean enough interface but it could be more legible and offer contextual help to describe the messages one is reading. I remember trying to read black text on a medium gray background with Courier size 10-11 font. Not so easy to read quickly and to parse through the relevant parts. I think some selective color coding would be good and links to message definitions or any form of further information would be nice. Maybe the ability to export the log file to various formats would also be helpful.
  • I don't remember a dashboard that at a glance on the top level would highlight what jobs failed completely and which jobs might have warnings or non-critical errors. I got emails because I defined to get them. Maybe again if there was a way to color-code the type of error would be good nice-to-have.
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  • A reporting capability on tasks: enabled, disabled, by folder, by trigger, etc. Currently there is none.
  • An "OR" in their conditional statements - currently there is only "AND".
  • Some kind of temporary backup when changing a task - separate from the current back up/restore functionality (which works well).
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Alternatives Considered

N/A - It was already in place when I was on the scene, but like I said earlier it is much more powerful than SQL Server Agent and probably anything we would've come up with from scratch using .Net. However if your needs are small and traffic is light, then maybe SQL Server Agent or something smaller and less powerful (and less expensive) than ActiveBatch would work just fine.
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Return on Investment

  • I have not been involved in the purchase or contract negotiation of our Active Batch purchase, therefore am unable to comment on the ROI.
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  • Positive: Reliability on FTP jobs - really important on bank files.
  • Negative - annual support a little pricey - but not unusual for this level of software.
  • Positive: Does not require a dedicated administrator, especially after the jobs are created and tested. I perform other job duties and this rarely interferes with them.
  • Positive - Since it is easy to learn and use it makes it easy to have a back up administrator
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Screenshots

ActiveBatch

Pricing Details

ActiveBatch

General
Free Trial
Yes
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Yes
Entry-level set up fee?
Optional
Additional Pricing Details

AutoMate

General
Free Trial
Yes
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Yes
Entry-level set up fee?
Optional
Additional Pricing Details