Enterprise job scheduling with schedulix

Computing with a Plan

API and Architecture

Schedulix has an open and well-documented API that all components use to communicate with the job scheduling server. In principle, then, it can be controlled from any user program. Jobs can use the API to, for example, set arbitrary result variables , which can then be evaluated by a monitoring program – thus improving the results and providing a clear overview. Thanks to the relational repository, the API, and the use of open standards such as Java, JDBC, and SQL, schedulix is well equipped for integration into many system environments.

Schedulix mainly consists of the schedulix Job Scheduling Server, which is written in Java, as the focal point of the architecture for handling all of the job scheduling logic. The server continuously and exclusively stores its configuration, its modeling and logging data, and its process states in a relational database. Schedulix and the matching JDBC driver support PostgreSQL, MySQL or MariaDB, and Ingres. The commercial variant, BICsuite, also supports Oracle, IBM Informix, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server. Schedulix requires at least the Oracle (Sun) Java SE JRE version 1.7.

Install It Yourself

Setting up the schedulix environment (i.e., compiling and installing all the required components) is not a point-and-click task; however, aided by the complete documentation, it is well within the capabilities of any admin. The system does not require root privileges for the install or for operations on any of the systems involved. After installing the job server and database, setting up the environment to suit your needs, and launching the database, you can then launch the Job Scheduling Server by typing server-start.

If you also install the Zope-based web interface, first launch the application server to access the web interface on http://localhost:8080/SDMS (alternatively, use SSL). For your first steps, it makes sense to install the large collection of examples as desrcribed in the installation guide. Examples are then selectable in the navigator (Figure 1).

Figure 1: schedulix newcomers are advised to follow the examples to familiarize themselves with the workflows.

The schedulix Job Server can also be installed as a client/server architecture that distributes the client installations across multiple hosts. The clients need the Java Native Access (JNA) program library. This supports access to platform-specific dynamic program libraries (Shared Libraries, DLLs for Windows) without needing to write platform-specific code as is the case with JNI.


Schedulix can be managed fully via the web interface, but it also comes with a command-line interface, including its own command language. Use of authentication throughout for all users and components guarantees security. The graphical management interface, which is accessible using HTTP or HTTPS, is implemented on the base of the Zope application server.

The Python source code for the web front end is completely open, as it is for BICsuite. The installation guide states that a C/C++ compiler is required for building the (still) current schedulix version 2.6.1 from March 2015 [9] because of the Java job executor (jobexecutor.c), a small job server component.

After successfully logging in, the system comes up with the main desktop – the main window in the web interface. Its design is typical of the Zope-Python architecture and, correspondingly, not exactly modern. You will not see any sign of active Ajax functions that imitate the native look and feel of a desktop application, and having to press the refresh button to retrieve the object list from the server is certainly not state of the art.

Although more than 10 years of history have certainly benefited the functional diversity and quality of the software across the board, when it comes to interface design, this history turns out to be a burden, according to the developers. IndependIT is obviously aware of this issue and has recently re-launched the interface shortly after the test for this article). Figure 2 shows a before/after comparison of the main desktop window.

Figure 2: The web interface in its legacy (left) and upcoming (right), completely revised version.

On top of the slightly outdated design, which is attributable to the Zope-Python architecture, a collection of 20 icons with similarly jaded designs organized in a matrix again does not exactly contribute to a clear-cut solution. The way these elements are ordered does not seem to reflect the workflow intuitively at first glance. However, if you take a closer look, the arrangement does follow some kind of pattern. In the bottom part, you find modules for defining templates and definitions, such as exit state definitions, exit state profiles, resource state definitions, resort state mapping, and so on.

In the middle, the GUI displays the modules for creating resources, environments, users and groups; at the top are the starting points for submitting or executing batches and jobs. For production use, it is still essential to get to know the schedulix control concept and work approach by poring over the documentation and the examples provided. Experienced admins are unlikely to be fazed by this, but a four- or five-day introductory workshop could be a good investment, especially considering that you are then given BICsuite Basic, including installation, free of charge.

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