What users are saying about

ActiveBatch

7 Ratings

Chef

31 Ratings

ActiveBatch

7 Ratings
Score 8.6 out of 101

Chef

31 Ratings
Score 8.5 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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Chef

Chef is useful for maintaining the servers in a known stable state for in-house datacenters. It helps to achieve infrastructure as code and helps in deployments as well. It is suitable for when there are a huge number of servers and you have to bring up the entire application stack in a safe and reliable way. It also helps in baselining the servers with same packages and corresponding versions.
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Feature Rating Comparison

Workload Automation

ActiveBatch
6.9
Chef
Multi-platform scheduling
ActiveBatch
8.1
Chef
Central monitoring
ActiveBatch
8.5
Chef
Logging
ActiveBatch
5.0
Chef
Alerts and notifications
ActiveBatch
7.0
Chef
Analysis and visualization
ActiveBatch
5.4
Chef
Application integration
ActiveBatch
7.5
Chef

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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  • Provides a programmatic approach to automation that makes sense for developers.
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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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  • Agent-less
  • Push type jobs support
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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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We were evaluating Ansible as it was agent less, SSH based, simple to use and is completely based on SSH protocol. As and when the servers count increase the performance might degrade. One main disadvantage with Ansible is it is more suitable for linux based systems where SSH is possible, but doesn't work that great for Windows systems natively. In the contrast, Chef works great when the servers are huge in number and is also OS neutral.
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Return on Investment

  • Definitely increased ETL tool testing and deployment efficiency for the IT DevOps staff.
  • Troubleshooting and retesting of problems with using ETL tools is enhanced, but there's definitely room for improvement there. Emails and logging helped but didn't really provide any additional help to those provided by GlobalScape and Microsoft. So a positive, but not a strong positive there.
  • For as much data that it manages coming in and out, the errors that came up were certainly important to deal with very quickly and this product could make that aspect better, the errors were few and far between and almost always the errors had nothing to do with ActiveBatch itself (usually with the quality of the data it was handling)--so in that sense, it brought visibility to areas of quality improvement to be made between the company and the clients.
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  • Chef is a good tool for baselining servers. It will be a good ROI when there are huge number of servers. For less number of servers maintaining a master will be an over head.
  • One good ROI will be that the Operations Team also gets into agile and DevOps methodologies. Operational teams can start writing scripts/automations to keep their infra more stable and their application stack more reliable.
  • Implementation of Chef eliminates the manual mode of doing things and everyone aligns to automation mind set. It helps in change of culture.
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Pricing Details

ActiveBatch

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

Chef

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details