We just raised a $30M Series A: Read our story

Schedule a 30-minute demo or reference call with a real user from the PeerSpot community. Available only to members that are in a buying process for this product and have contributed a review that's then published.

Tidal Automation OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Tidal Automation is #4 ranked solution in top Workload Automation tools. IT Central Station users give Tidal Automation an average rating of 8 out of 10. Tidal Automation is most commonly compared to Control-M:Tidal Automation vs Control-M. Tidal Automation is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 50% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is Tidal Automation?

Tidal Software is a leading provider of enterprise workload automation solutions that orchestrate the execution of complex workflows across systems, applications and IT environments. With a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, Tidal optimizes mission-critical business processes, increases IT cost efficiencies and satisfies legal and regulatory compliance requirements. Hundreds of customers around the world count on Tidal for modernizing their workload automation and driving their digital transformation. Tidal Software is headquartered in Chicago with offices in Houston, London, Minsk, Belarus and Chennai, India. For more information, visit tidalsoftware.com.

Tidal Automation was previously known as Tidal Workload Automation, Cisco Workload Automation, Tidal Enterprise Scheduler.

Tidal Automation Buyer's Guide

Download the Tidal Automation Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Tidal Automation Customers


Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Tidal Automation pricing:
  • "...it is a pretty affordable scheduler tool that lets us do a lot. You get a lot of bang for the buck... The licensing model is hugely flexible."
  • "Our yearly licensing costs are between $10,000 to $20,000. They have always been reasonable with us. I like that non-production licensing is about half the cost of production licensing. Licensing is by adapter typically. We have had scenarios where we have had to take an adapter from one environment to another, and they've allowed us to do that. They have made it a very reasonable process. There's definitely a feeling that they will work with you."
  • "The licensing model is very flexible and very transparent... It's flexible for budgeting. I know what I need and I have licenses to cover those needs. If a project comes along that needs a new type of license or an added license, that would just be added to the project."
  • "The new prices that we've received seem reasonable and comparable to the marketplace."
  • "Our annual maintenance cost is competitive for what we have and what they do."
  • "There are project, system, and server costs. Some of the things that they are doing is introducing new products. They are introducing what they call their Repository, which is a way for you to move a job. That doesn't cost anything to us, because it is reusing a tool called Transporter. The repository is the successor to Transporter, so we already own it and are sort of grandfathered in. But that new product requires a server and database, so now we have to go out and get a server and database. So, there is a cost there."

Tidal Automation Reviews

Filter by:
Filter Reviews
Industry
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Company Size
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Job Level
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Rating
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Considered
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Order by:
Loading...
  • Date
  • Highest Rating
  • Lowest Rating
  • Review Length
Search:
Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
BH
Tidal Administrator at a retailer with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives us the ability to see everything across our scheduling universe, without having to access multiple systems

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I find to be valuable, as I'm working with other folks, is the ability to cross-schedule across platforms, and the flexibility that comes with that."
  • "From a management standpoint, when using the solution for cross-platform, cross-application workloads, I've never had a problem with the application. It's very interactive, especially with the different security levels that they offer."
  • "For the most part, the drill-down and the logging are really good. But if we take an Informatica job, for example: We have the ability, and the operators have the ability, to actually drill down and see, at a session level, where the failure is. There is, unfortunately, no way to extract that into an actual output email or failure email. It's not that that information is not available, but extracting it into an email would be a nice-to-have."

What is our primary use case?

We're running jobs on a global scale. Being a global company, we're running scheduled jobs and ad hoc jobs across different regions. Jobs cover backend processing, financials, and the like. We're running on an SAP ERP system and we're also running Informatica for data warehouse. We're running BusinessObjects web reports as well as a lot of straight Windows and Unix command-line things. We run FTP processing, PGP encryption processing, and data services jobs. We're running about seven or eight of the different adapter types that Tidal has available.

We have it on-prem. Both our test and production environments are on fault-tolerant setups.

How has it helped my organization?

When I started here, they had already been on Tidal for about five years. So I'm not really sure where they were before Tidal. They did a lot of mainframe things in the past. From what I've heard from people here from the "old school," once they globalized and got everything into Tidal, the ability to see everything across the scheduling universe was a huge improvement. They didn't have to give different people different access to different systems and check four or five things, just to make sure something was running correctly.

The solution helped to reduce weekend and overtime hours. We're a 24 by 7 support model. Regarding the Tidal application, the one thing that we try to explain to anybody, from a support or monitoring standpoint, is that jobs trigger through Tidal, but not physically in Tidal. So if we have, hypothetically, an SAP job failure, it's not a Tidal failure, it's an SAP failure. So it goes right to SAP support, which saves time. In the environment I came from, they didn't have that mentality. So if, hypothetically, an ERP job failed, they'd call the Tidal person first instead of the ERP support. That type of understanding, as a whole, really helps from a support standpoint. The admins don't get a lot of calls unless there's an actual issue with the Tidal application itself.

In the time I've been here, we've definitely increased staff availability. From a business standpoint, we've started utilizing file monitors more, for what they call "file events" within the application. In the past, when an end-user would drop a file in SAP, for example, they'd contact our operations team, or send an email saying, "Run in this job." There isn't a real need for that in many cases. We've implemented a lot of file events that will actually only run jobs if they need to, if a file's available. Along the same lines, we had processes that would run a process in SAP, and even though it didn't create a file, there were other jobs downstream that would be hanging out and waiting for a file that never showed up. So not from just a staff availability point of view, but in terms of resource availability, it has definitely improved things a lot. From an operator standpoint, I would estimate Tidal is saving us 15 to 20 hours per week, just in manual interaction with inserting jobs on a request, since a lot of that stuff was implemented at our end.

Regarding job counts, we're pushing over seven million a year. That varies, obviously, depending on request jobs and other things. There are some processes that we shut down for year-end processing, so they stop running for a week or two. But from an expansion standpoint, we are constantly looking to see where else we can use Tidal, for new applications that are coming online or things that people are running on their own where they haven't even thought about Tidal's scheduling. In 2019, we did 7.7 million jobs. In 2018, we were at 7.1 million. In 2017, we were at 6.1 million. So with Tidal we're adding on the order of half-a-million jobs per year.

What is most valuable?

The feature that I find to be valuable, as I'm working with other folks, is the ability to cross-schedule across platforms, and the flexibility that comes with that. I'm kind of biased, as I've only used Tidal. I haven't used CA or IBM or any of the other scheduling platforms that are available on the market.

From a management standpoint, when using the solution for cross-platform, cross-application workloads, I've never had a problem with the application. It's very interactive, especially with the different security levels that they offer. We have two or three operators who are at a certain level where they can actually rerun jobs. If they fail, they don't actually have to get ahold of a Tidal administrator. The only thing they don't have access to is changing the master settings on the jobs. That flexibility of access is a big plus.

We do have a few developers who will actually set up processes within Tidal, but only in the test systems. They get a little bit more access that way, but they obviously have to have training prior to that, from me, on how to properly schedule things in Tidal. So the security and flexibility are valuable features.

They have a lot of pre-set stuff, but you can actually create something like: "Run the third Wednesday of every third month on a blue moon," going to the extreme. Their scheduling functionality is really advanced enough where we can create a lot of different kinds of customizations, based not only on a regular calendar year, but on fiscal calendars and regional calendars. We have jobs that process files for our EU operation and when they have a bank holiday over there we don't need to run the job. We can tie up those jobs that don't need to run on their local, European bank holidays.

The solution also enables admins and users to see the information that is relevant to them. The admins have super-user access, so they can actually adjust and transport different jobs from test to prod. Whereas the operators can adjust a job that's already scheduled if they need to, based on direction from support. They can change this variable, or change this setting, or change this text. But they don't have the access to actually change the master copy of that job. So, a one-off change is literally just that, a one-off change of the next compile scheduled. Otherwise, it's going to run as it's normally set up.

Another good thing that Tidal has is in regard to the history retention of job failures. Whereas our SAP ERP system usually has an eight-day history retention for jobs, Tidal can actually go back longer than that. So if somebody says, "Hey, why did this job fail three weeks ago?" we can bring up the failure message, which is something they can't do directly in SAP.

What needs improvement?

For the most part, the drill-down and the logging are really good. But if we take an Informatica job, for example: We have the ability, and the operators have the ability, to actually drill down and see, at a session level, where the failure is. There is, unfortunately, no way to extract that into an actual output email or failure email. It's not that that information is not available, but extracting it into an email would be a nice-to-have. It's minor, but it would definitely be a help. In the grand scheme of things though, you can drill down to session-level failures and get that error message to provide to support. 

Another thing has to do with job events. A job event triggers when a job completes. It sends an email or reruns a job. Right now — and I've even talked to Tidal about this — it will run all the events at the same time. It doesn't provide the logic to say, "I want this job to rerun five times. If it fails on the fifth time, then send an email: 'Out for Failure.'"

The only other thing I would like to see is an easy way to flag jobs running longer than a certain percentage of the estimated time they should take. Right now, you can hard code in a max expected run-time and you can trigger a notification off of that. The unfortunate thing is, in a consumer product-related business such as ours, Q3 and Q4 jobs are going to run longer. So you can't really put a hard-coded expected run-time, because that's going to fluctuate. So it would be useful if we could specify something like "Flag this job if it runs 25 percent longer than estimated," which the solution does track for 30 or 35 days. That's what they usually recommend, out-of-the-box, for keeping track of history.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Tidal for about 13 years. I used it for about eight years at my previous company and then I came over to this company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I came on about four-and-a-half years ago here and Tidal has been really solid. The high-availability and the fault monitoring they use is very good. I can think of twice, in the last four-and-a-half years where we've actually had to failover for one reason or another. And the bottom line was that it wasn't even a Tidal issue; it was something to do with patching. One of the patches from Microsoft was a little funky. From a stability and support standpoint, this is a rock-solid app, in my opinion.

It's very stable, especially for those who utilize what they call Fault Monitor or Fault Tolerance. When we do patching, the jobs, in and of themselves, automatically fail over from our primary to our backup. There might be a slight disconnect in the web UI that the operators use, but that maybe lasts a minute because of the cut-over time. But it picks up all of the backend PIDs, and the jobs just pick up where they left off. From a stability standpoint, this is a really good product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From what I've seen, the scalability is very good. There are companies that I know that run millions of jobs a day. I've been through some user groups that have some people running nine different instances of Tidal, and they're running a lot of different things. So, the 7.7 million a year we run here, coming from where I was beforehand where we were running about 400,000 a year, seems like a lot. But we're still a small fish in the barrel compared to how other Tidal customers are using it.

So the scalability is phenomenal. We're always looking for that next hook and working on trying to tie into other things. We're keeping our versions updated as much as we can, in regard to OS compatibility. Take Informatica, as an example: We're making sure that we're as up-to-date as we can be with the versions that are out on the market.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In my previous company we used the Lawson ERP's internal job scheduler. There were Windows tasks that we had to check on. They were running a lot of VB6 stuff. In my current company, I came onboard years after they had already cut over to Tidal. I know they had some mainframe stuff in the past, but I don't think they converted from something like CA to Tidal. Tidal was their first choice.

How was the initial setup?

I came in at the tail end of the initial setup when I first started with Tidal back in '07. The decision had been made on the application before I got the position of scheduler in the Tidal admin. In terms of the actual setup, I was on the periphery. Once it was set up, I got more involved. But I have been involved since then with the system upgrades and version upgrades.

Upgrades seem to be fairly straightforward. When it comes to hotfixes and partial, mid-version updates, it's pretty simple. You don't have to call the vendor in. When it comes to versioning upgrades, like when we'll go from 6.3 to 6.5 in a couple of years, we do utilize a third-party vendor to come in and assist, because they do a lot of backend database cleanup and scrubbing. We're running in a SQL database for Tidal, and I know just enough SQL to get me in trouble. So we do rely, especially because this is such an enterprise-based application here, on having a third-party come in and take over the upgrade part of it. We work in conjunction with them, making sure jobs are set and that the copies are good.

As for the learning curve, a lot of it depends on the individual's knowledge of the particular systems. Windows is fairly straightforward. If you know some Unix commands, you can help set them up really easily within the application, when you're setting up a job to run from the Unix command line. If you don't know SAP or whatever the ERP system of the company is, at least a little bit — enough so that you can navigate through it — there might be a little bit of a learning curve. But it's really not as big as one might think. Take the SAP ERP as an example. I came from a Lawson background. I came into the SAP environment here, which I was totally unfamiliar with. But within about a month, I was able to set up SAP jobs without an issue.

There are some little things involved in understanding how to up jobs if you want to overwrite certain variant settings. Learning to do that, and making people feel comfortable doing that, was probably the biggest learning curve.

The other thing is understanding using API hooks within Tidal to other processes. That's one thing they could improve on as far as their training materials go. I've talked about that with them during the past couple of user calls that I've been involved in. At this point it's still a little rough, but hopefully that will get better as time goes on.

The amount of training a new user needs in Tidal depends on the level they're at. We have a training program in place for our operators who do a lot of the manual reporting and failures, running jobs on request, etc. We'll start them with just an inquiry only so they can see everything that's happening, but they can't act on it. That way they can get a feel for the application. We'll give them that for about a week or so, and they'll work hand-in-hand with an operator who's been onsite and using the application. Then we can roll them out to a test version with test-operator access, for another week or so. By that time, they're through four weeks of Tidal acclimation and they're good to go with everything. Because of the operator's schedule — they work a four-on, three-off rotation, it's not like they're working five eight-hour days of straight Tidal — plus all the other things that are on their plate for their job requirements, they're not going to see every single potential issue that could come up. But they have a pretty good grasp at the end of that time.

We'll usually get a feel from not only the trainee, but also the person who is working with them, about how they are doing and if they feel that they're ready to start doing stuff in production. Generally, within a month, they're up and running as an operator, in both test and prod environments.

Developers are a different story because of all the different things that they have access to regarding scheduling and building schedules. We haven't brought on a lot of developers since I've been here. It would probably take a good two to three weeks for developer training, if someone wanted to know how to set up a job in Tidal. We'd really try to hand-feed them little things, so they don't inadvertently schedule a job, or an entire job group that runs hundreds of jobs, which could really bog things down from a systems standpoint.

What about the implementation team?

The partner we use is a Tidal partner called BLUEHOUSE. They've always been very helpful and very flexible in terms of scheduling. The way we do it here is we'll have them come onsite to update our test system. We'll bring that up online and run that on the new version for two months or so. Then they'll come back and we'll do the production update. The whole time onsite, between test and prod together, is about four or five days. But they do a lot of the prep work for production, while we're doing the test upgrade. When we're ready to go to the production, they're only here for a day or a day-and-a-half at the most for the production cut-over. When it comes to initial support right after the fact, they're very receptive to fielding the questions.

What was our ROI?

I would say we have seen a return on investment by going with Tidal, and not only because of the volume of jobs we're running, but because of the variation of jobs that we're running. It gives us the ability to manually adjust processes on-the-fly, and having that visibility and quick reaction to failures has been a big plus for us.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At my previous company they looked at IBM, CA, and one other solution. The reason my old company went with Tidal back then, was that it was the only one that offered integration with Lawson.

What other advice do I have?

As with any product you're looking at, first of all, don't get pigeonholed into it. Don't have a laser-focus on an individual product. But with Tidal, especially now that they're rebuilding the customer base, reach out and work with their salespeople, and network with current users. One thing I found, especially being on some of the network boards — they used to have a Yahoo Group for Tidal — people aren't afraid to say, "Hey, this works great and this doesn't." I'll be the first to tell you what works great and what still needs some work. And now that Tidal has put its own forum together, the company is monitoring and responding to concerns and questions a lot quicker than they used to when they were under Cisco's umbrella.

The biggest lesson I've learned from using Tidal is that it's always growing. In user calls that we've had since Tidal went back to its own environment, they're really looking to rebuild and invest in the application, and make sure that things are up to date and validated. They're working on making sure they're as current as they can be with certain connections. 

It's like they have a renewed vision since Tidal was divested from Cisco. They seem to have a real yearning to get back into the way things used to be in the pre-Cisco days. I'm not trying to knock Cisco, but it is what it is, because I worked with Tidal before Cisco acquired the product. Now with the STA Group and a lot of the older Tidal developers and folks "back in the saddle," there seems to be a renewed interest in rebuilding, making it a lot easier, and opening up a lot more process availability for users and customers.

We've got a handful of developers, five or six people, who actually have the ability to create jobs in our test system. We have a team of six operators who have access to Tidal as well. They do the 24-hour monitoring and ad hoc jobs, etc. And we have two Tidal admins. We do have some other folks who have inquiry access into our production system. We'll give people who might be developers in our test system view-only access to prod. Overall we have 15 to 20 people who have access to the system, with varying security levels. I'm responsible for maintenance, upgrades, job migration, and production. I also work with people who don't have access to Tidal and on helping them get jobs set up properly. I also make sure we get the email notifications correct.

For what we're using it for, and what we have, it's very good.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
EW
Sr System Engineer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Alerts when things are falling behind schedule, or something unexpectedly fails, enable us to jump in and address an issue

Pros and Cons

  • "The first, big thing that we got out of using Tidal Workload Automation was having a centralized view of the status of all of our batch processes across all these systems... We can look into the schedule at any given time and see if things are running on track or if they are falling behind. We can also see if something failed."
  • "Their software installation and update process could use some improvements. I'm pretty sure they're working on that, but that's definitely an area where it could be streamlined a lot. There's still a lot of manual work that you have to do with the schedule when you deploy masters or do the agents."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to manage our batch processing. For us, it came in as a replacement for a lot of different systems running crontab. In our case it's primarily for Unix/Linux systems that don't have their own mechanism for kicking off all these batch processes. It's the coordinator of all of our background processes and batch jobs that are running overnight and during the day.

We use it to kick off custom Unix/Linux scripts that will launch our application processes. It's almost entirely Windows and Linux shell scripts that it's kicking off.

How has it helped my organization?

For administrators, the alerting has been a big plus, in addition to having a place to go and look at the status. They can be notified when there's something happening in a schedule, like things are falling behind schedule, or something unexpectedly fails. It definitely helps speed up the time to jump in and address an issue and get things back on track.

It has also given us a framework for standardizing a lot of our processes. Before we had all these things in Tidal, there were so many custom services and applications written. Tidal has given us a way to say, "Here's a standard way for you to get your jobs scheduled and automated." It hasn't necessarily enforced it, but it has given people an opportunity to say, "Oh, if I use the tool and if I set up my jobs to be able to run in the scheduler, it will be that much easier for me to get this delivered to production, or to test it and validate it." It has helped us put a framework around how developers are going to get their application code deployed. It's not really pushing the code, but it has encouraged some consistency in how they design their processes.

It would be really hard to quantify how much staff time it has saved, but for sure, before that initial move into the solution, some things would take forever. It was just complete spaghetti going through dozens of boxes with different crontabs trying to figure out: "Okay, I had an incident in the middle of the night. What ran, what didn't run? What ran but didn't complete successfully?" and those kinds of things. Tidal has resulted in a huge gain there. I don't think there's any way I could quantify how much it's simplified those outage scenarios. 

And even a planned maintenance was just as hard as an outage before we had Tidal. Now, with a scheduler, we can schedule a big maintenance that's going to require a lot of people to be on hand, one where time is of the essence. The more efficiently we can adjust a schedule for an off-hours maintenance and essentially disrupt what our typical schedule is, the more it helps us with those maintenance procedures. We know in advance that we have the capability to move jobs earlier and to move jobs later so that they're outside of the maintenance window and that we're not going to conflict with anything. When we're done with our maintenance, we're able to just press a button and let everything run and go.

Tidal has definitely reduced weekend and overtime hours. In our environment, there's no way to eliminate those hours, but that's nothing to do with Tidal. That's our own design. 

Our team does the majority of the work with the scheduler. It gives us the ability to do a lot of the scheduling tasks pretty quickly, so that the developers or business folks who are making requests don't need to deal with it. It gives us the leverage to make what they feel is a bigger change to the schedule, and to knock it out really quickly. They don't have to code something or make changes to handle it. We can do a lot of those adjustments from the scheduler itself.

The solution has enabled us to do more in terms of job capacity because, in the past, we had all these different crontabs running around out there. There was really no good way for people to condense jobs together, as soon as the previous one finished, unless they customized every process flow or job flow into a script. Doing so was essentially a custom program or process that they'd have to create for each one, and that's pretty difficult to manage. With the scheduler, we can squeeze those jobs together with their native process runtimes and say, "Okay, we're going to run through steps 1 to 10, allow those things to run in a sequence, and get them done in the shortest window possible. It has definitely helped with that.

Our environment is really different now compared to what it was when we started with Tidal all those years ago, but there's really no way we could have sustained that old model without having the functionality that's in the scheduler get our schedule done quickly. As our company has grown, it's been difficult for us to find maintenance windows or quiet periods. Every minute that we can save reduces the time an overnight batch process impacts daytime business users. The quicker we can get things completed, the better it is for the user experience and our environment.

What is most valuable?

The first, big thing that we got out of using Tidal Workload Automation was having a centralized view of the status of all of our batch processes across all these systems. We're not a big environment compared to some of their customers, but these are all business-critical processes that we're running and there are at least 100 different systems in our environment. To manage all these processes, it gives us a single point of view. We can look into the schedule at any given time and see if things are running on track or if they are falling behind. We can also see if something failed. The big thing is having that visibility into everything.

We use it for cross-platform and cross-application workloads, although they're not that different from each other. A lot of our workloads are similar, but they're technically different platforms and applications. We have some different OS's, but they're all Unix or Linux systems that are running the same sort of back-end technology. In our world, internally, they're different platforms. It gives us a really simple view into everything that's happening. 

I've been using it for a long time, so to me, it's a pretty intuitive way to, at a glance, look at how things are progressing in the day for the batch schedule. I don't know if that would necessarily be the case for a new user. To me it's intuitive and that is what helped us choose it over some other scheduling technologies in the past. It seemed like the most intuitive way to look at a lot of different batch processes running on lots of different systems.

As far as its ability to allow admins and users to see the information relevant to them, the interface is good, once you have access to it. We have had a little bit of an issue with some browser compatibility, but other than that, it's been a good tool for people to come in and look at where is their process is at from a business point of view. They do have to have a little bit of familiarity with what it is that they're looking for, the programs in the back-end. This is nothing to do with Tidal, but our technology environment is a bit hard to digest early on. Things can be a little bit difficult to navigate in our technology stack, at times. Tidal helps those users who are new to it to get a view of: "Here's the thing that I'm interested in. I know the program name, but I don't know when it runs, or how long it takes." Without having to get into the back-end of our technology, it does give them a way to look at what's happening in the schedule.

What needs improvement?

Their software installation and update process could use some improvements. I'm pretty sure they're working on that, but that's definitely an area where it could be streamlined a lot. There's still a lot of manual work that you have to do with the schedule when you deploy masters or do the agents. 

The other thing is that the performance of the web interface has not been great. It's feedback I get quite a bit, that the web interface can be sluggish at times. We've got to recycle it to get it to be more responsive. We brought up this issue a while ago. A lot of what we may be dealing with is that we are running on an older version. A lot of the performance stuff, I suspect, has been corrected in the later versions. We are running on 6.2.1 but they have got 6.3.5 out there now.

As for stuff we'd like to have, I'd love to see the database back-end have PostgreSQL or MySQL. Right now the choices are Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used Tidal Workload Automation for about 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been rock solid for us. We've had it for 15 years and I have really never had to make support calls to either Cisco or Tidal. The only times I ever really have to contact them are when we do our renewals or we migrate to a new version and we have to get a different license key.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't think we've ever pushed a limit of the schedulers, the masters. We haven't really had any kind of scalability issue with regard to the scheduler or the agents. The only thing that we've run into as far as scalability goes would maybe be the web interface, which can get pretty slow at times, so we've got to cycle it. The web client is just sluggish and has an issue where that performance degrades over time. That's why we do the recycle and we notice it helps quite a bit to recover it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I really don't have to make support calls almost ever.

I'll ask a question sometimes, and they've been great. They've been very responsive. I haven't even had to do that for quite a while now. We set up our current implementation when they were still with Cisco. 

It was a little bit difficult with Cisco to get to the Tidal software engineers who are now their own entity. It's definitely gotten a lot better now that they're not part of Cisco. I can just call in. They know who I am and what I'm asking for right off the bat. When it was with Cisco, there was a whole triage system you had to get through, and a lot of people at Cisco didn't even know what the product was or that it existed.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We only had crontab on a bunch of Unix systems. We looked into Tidal because we were having so many missed processes. Our environment is so much bigger and more complicated now compared to 15 years ago. But even back then it was almost like having things in crontab made it easier for there to be issues because they were all arbitrarily set to run at different times, different users, different systems. If there was some sort of conflict or collision, there was really no way to even regulate the fact that there were too many processes running at given time. 

It actually helped prevent some issues then, and now we have so many things cranking through Tidal. Getting all this to work in crontab would be impossible.

How was the initial setup?

Installing is not terribly complex. I don't have experience with other scheduler products, so I can't compare it to them, but it does have more manual install steps than some other software in general. For instance, there isn't an RPM installer. We use a lot of Red Hat in our environment. We can use RPMs for our Unix platforms and our Linux platforms. It would be nice if it was just packaged like that, so you could run the install or do the configure, perhaps with a few prompts. It's not far from that. It does have a shell script that runs, which isn't too different. But it would be nice to run updates for our scheduler along with all the other OS updates that we do in our environment.

If you know what you are doing, you can really get through the deployment, easily, in under an hour. I don't even know if it would take that long. If you have access to create your database and you already have your OS environment provision, the install and setup is really not very time-consuming. There are just the few manual steps you need to do, here and there, to configure it. But it's definitely doable in an hour. 

Assuming someone has access to do each of the steps that they need to do, one person could definitely do the install. I've done it in a VM lab and definitely knocked it out in under an hour. As long as you can create your database, create your database users, and run the software install, it's definitely a one-person job.

In terms of an implementation strategy, we've really stuck with one model. There's not a lot of leeway there. Essentially, you are going to have three master servers, a client manager, and you're going to have a database somewhere. The only difference might be the choice of operating systems or whether you're going to run on a VM or a physical server. But that's pretty removed from Tidal itself. There isn't a whole lot of variation there.

When it comes to a learning curve for Tidal, I've been using it a long time, so it's pretty intuitive to me. New users need to get their bearings and to know how they can filter, and what they need to filter on to answer the questions they have. It takes them two or three times of logging in and working with it. Sometimes we provide some guidance on best practices to find their program. It can be a bit overwhelming. I don't think Tidal necessarily makes it hard, but it's just the nature of all these processes running and the things that are there. Tidal helps with it, but it doesn't keep it from being a complicated thing to try and follow and to try to understand.

What was our ROI?

Tidal Workload Automation is a no-brainer for us, given the importance of the processes that we have. The cost for coordinating, managing, and getting all these things to complete, while warning us when things are not running on time, to me, makes it a no-brainer. 

I do not know how to quantify our ROI. We get everything that we pay for in the product, and there are even features that we do not use.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Another advantage of Tidal is that it is a pretty affordable scheduler tool that lets us do a lot. You get a lot of bang for the buck. It has always seemed pretty reasonable to me.

The licensing model is hugely flexible. In fact, sometimes we get a little bit lost on which model should we go with. Over time, it has adjusted and changed. But the current model that we have is to run with enterprise license agreements. We do not have to worry about how many agents we add and remove. That has been the easiest for us.

They have options to do one-, two-, or three-year renewals. You can space out your renewals or do things like an enterprise license agreement. You can dial into, "Hey, I just want to run this many hosts." They cover a lot of options for you. It may not make sense for a smaller shop to run an enterprise agreement. They might just want to run five agents. In their case, having that option is huge.

Given that there are no costs for upgrades and other enhancements, it is really easy to budget for Tidal. We have not had any issues.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we did the initial implementation, we did a full product comparison. We looked at the top four and did a comparison of the features of what seemed like the best products at the time. Over the years, I've reached out to other vendors just to get an idea of what other features are out there in the product space. We have never really found anything that had a compelling advantage over Tidal Workload Automation that made us want to switch. It has been really stable and has definitely gotten the work done for us.

We looked at CA's AutoSys at the time, but CA has so many schedulers now that it's hard to say exactly which one that is today. IBM had Tivoli Workload Scheduler, at the time. Since then, we have had someone from ISC reach out a fair amount. We looked a little bit at Control-M from BMC Software as well. JAMS was another one that popped up.

Tidal is familiar. We know how it works and what it is doing. It also keeps a fair amount of accessibility about it. One person could sit down, deploy it, do the install, get it up and running, and then it is just a matter of setting up the agents and the workload. I have not looked at the other products in so long now that it is not even relevant today, but BMC and a couple of other schedulers were overly complex, or their user interface just was not intuitive enough for our users.

What other advice do I have?

The big thing I would say to someone who is deploying this new, aside from having a naming standard and the structure, would be to get their security groups right, up-front. That is a pretty big one. Set your owners and who your users are going to be. Think about how you are going to structure it from a user point of view.

We have two core systems here. One is for our loan origination system and the other is for allocating leads and directing leads, and they both rely on Tidal heavily. If the scheduler were to shut down for some reason and we couldn't run it, it would have a huge impact on our business. Thankfully, that's not a scenario that we encounter, but we really rely on it to drive so many of these business processes. In terms of increasing our usage of it, other business areas have started take some interest in it, but we haven't made a dedicated effort to get, for example, our SQL Server systems to be managed by the scheduler, or to do things with Amazon. We haven't really had anyone driving that effort.

In our environment, one person, me, maintains the Tidal software. That's more an organizational question of how many people do you want to have who are capable of supporting it. We have a team of six people, all systems engineers. They're not all as up-to-speed on it as I am, but if I gave them my notes for doing the install, I'm sure they could all do it.

The number of users of Tidal, in our organization, depends on the definition of "users." It touches things that impact every user in our organization. But with respect to users of the interface who log in and use it, it's only about a dozen people. Aside from the system engineers, the next biggest users would be developers or program engineers. They are people who are involved in researching updating a task to a procedure or process and they want to know what the scheduled processes are and when they run. They are also looking at what their rules are for running and how long it takes. Sometimes business analysts will be involved in that as well.

Tidal is a nine out of 10. I would say it's a 10 if we didn't have some performance struggles with the web interface.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Tidal Automation. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.
LeeAnn McLennan
Application Engineer at Columbia Sportswear
Real User
Top 5
Scheduling across multiple applications gives a holistic view

Pros and Cons

  • "Thinking of all the people involved in checking jobs on a daily basis, manually running jobs or auditing them through standalone tools, and trying to connect them. We have saved hundreds of hours weekly, which is substantial."
  • "I'm still hoping with Explorer to be able to see end-to-end job streams. That's not really something that's easy to see today in the web client. However, I haven't worked with Explorer yet. One of the things that we have found frustrating is not being able to see an end-to-end job stream across multiple applications within Tidal. We use jobs for that right now, but I have high hopes that we'll be able to see that in Explorer."

What is our primary use case?

We use Tidal to run jobs across multiple application platforms, such as SAP, ECC, PDN, and Informatica, as well as jobs that run in Azure cloud. We also use it for several warehouse management jobs with OS/400 and AS/400 connectors. We have a lot of different types of connectors, then we are bringing all these jobs into Tidal so we can set up dependencies between jobs that run, e.g., an SAP job and a OS400 job may be dependent on each other in some way, allowing a cross-platform job flow.

We are currently on the most recent version.

How has it helped my organization?

We are using it for cross-platform workloads. That is probably the biggest reason that we are using it. The solution is generally good. Over the years, we have needed to do our own learning about how to manage it in terms of understanding dependencies and successors, then setting up times and so forth. However, this is the type of stuff you would have to learn with any scheduling app. We find it to be really useful. I'm hoping with the Explorer tool that they'll have better reporting so we can do some full cross-platform job stream reporting that they haven't really done much in the past. Therefore, we should be able to see some of that. In terms of managing it, I find it very useful other than the learning curve.

We use cross-platform management for so many things. We use it a lot for our warehouse management replenishment type things: to and from SAP. Once we implemented our job stream flow, things gets sorted out of house for delivery and can be update in SAP (and vice versa). Having the job stream has been helpful. Also, having it all automated makes a difference to replenishment. 

We use the ability to enable admins and users to see the information relevant to them specifically in our production environment. We can, but don't always, limit someone to only seeing data that they need to see. Then, they are not overwhelmed by other data. We do allow most of our users to see all the other data just for information and to understand the environment. However, you can begin to narrow in on what you need, if you're using policies and work groups correctly. Depending on how we use it, especially in production, it lets users only be able to do what they should be doing in production. They should only be managing their jobs, possibly see other jobs, and understand if there is a delay upstream which could be impacting them. They won't be able to manage those jobs. They need to contact the right people who understand those jobs to manage them. The solution lets them work within their lanes and do the work correctly without having a negative impact upstream, and hopefully, not downstream. 

There is an awareness that we are scheduling across the multiple applications and understanding that all applications don't live in their own silos. There is an impact across the organization. It gives us that holistic awareness, in general.

In the past couple of years, I have done education and we have leveraged creating alerts that go to the right people. It has allowed us to do that. Therefore, I don't get alerts for something that I shouldn't be dealing with. Now, people who own the jobs get the alerts and they can figure out if there is a problem with the application that they need to work with or if it is something with Tidal. Then, if necessary, they can elevate it up to me. Fortunately, that doesn't happen as much anymore, which makes me very happy. It gives us the alerts in time so we can handle things ideally before they become critical, and hopefully, we're doing our jobs so the right people are contacted.

What is most valuable?

I love the "where used by" feature where you can find out where a particular job action, job event, or even a connector is being used. That is really good. 

I've seen a lot of improvements in the logging. It has become more useful. 

I'm looking forward to working with Explorer and Repository. I haven't had time to implement those yet, but I'm pretty excited about both of those tools. 

We get a lot of use out of variables within Tidal to help schedule jobs, help track things, create alerting, etc. I find those variables have a lot of use.

What needs improvement?

The solution’s drill-down functionality, so admins can investigate data or processes, depends on what we are looking at. In some places, it is better than others and getting a lot better. In the five years that I've been supporting this solution, I've seen them get much better at allowing us to get more detailed information in the logs and job activity. 

I'm still hoping with Explorer to be able to see end-to-end job streams. That's not really something that's easy to see today in the web client. However, I haven't worked with Explorer yet. One of the things that we have found frustrating is not being able to see an end-to-end job stream across multiple applications within Tidal. We use jobs for that right now, but I have high hopes that we'll be able to see that in Explorer.

The reporting piece needs improvement. They are working to improve it but this is the piece that they can continue to work on. By reporting, I mean things like end-to-end job streams, historical reporting over the long-term, and forecasting. Those are some areas that I've expressed to them where they need to up their game.

We have the transport functionality where you move ops from one system to another. Right now, it's a manual process. I would love to be able to have more automated transports. Then, I'd love that to be able to tie this into our ITSM system so we can have change approvals, which are then approved, then transports automatically happen. 

For how long have I used the solution?

It feels like forever. We have had it at Columbia Sportswear for seven years. I have been supporting it for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has gotten a lot better. Every time that they level a version up, there are a few months where it is a little rocky, especially because they are trying to make some real changes on the back-end. Sometimes, I'm guilty of being a bit too cutting edge with the patches that I put in place. I have learned to hold back a little and give it a couple of months. Usually by that time, they have worked out the bugs and things are pretty stable. I would say this about any system.

I'm the only one who supports Tidal, then I pull in a dev person. There is usually one person involved with setting up the VMs. However, they have that automated so it is just a request for a standard set of servers. They just push a button and the servers are built. When we get to where there is QA testing, we're usually trying to align that with a lot of other QA testing. Therefore, people are naturally testing the system as they would with any other work that they are doing. Essentially, this is all of our schedulers, which are 15 to 20 consistently. I'm not asking them to do anything that they are not already doing, except tell me if there are problems.

I have a very loose backup person but I'm very motivated not to get calls on the weekends or vacation, which is why we built in our alerting systems. We try to keep them strong, so before anything gets to me, it's been vetted by the people who can solve the problem if it is job-specific. If Tidal itself goes down though, I'm the one who gets called because I'm the one who can fix it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Tidal does a good job. We periodically have them do a performance review every six to nine months by sending them our logs. I open a ticket, then send them a bunch of logs. They take a look at them and we do any necessary tuning. We have discovered over the years, going from a small to medium to high-medium organization, that Tidal is very responsive in terms of helping us figure out how to tune systems so we have the best performance. It can handle very large scale organizations job-wise. It is just how you tune your servers, and they're very willing to help with that. The best thing that a person can do is work with Tidal support to find out exactly what is necessary on the back-end to have their system scaled out correctly. It can be done. We run about 8,000 jobs in production, but I know there are some systems which run tens of thousands of jobs of production. We haven't hit a scalability issue at all.

Regularly, 20 to 30 people use it in our organization on a week by week basis. We have about 100 users in the system. Their roles are developing, creating jobs, QA, testing job scenarios, events, and actions; everything around developing a job or job stream. Then, we have our service desk people who do the transports from QA into production. There are about four people who do this.

In production, people from each scheduling team are responsible for the health of their jobs, which can include if there are issues with the jobs running, maintenance that they have planned, setting those jobs on hold, asking me to put an outage on an adapter, rerunning jobs, or disabling/enabling jobs. It is general job development and job management.

How are customer service and technical support?

The standard tech support at Tidal is very good. You can call or open a ticket, if you get stuck on something. They are usually quick with answer or at least quick to respond to you with more information. When I have gotten stuck, I have always been able to get help and get out of it. I once spent eight hours on a weekend call with one poor guy. 

The reality is you will always have issues that you have to escalate. That is just the world that we live in. 90 percent of the time, I have had a very good experience and gotten what I needed. I have been able to get support people on the phone. If we find something, and they haven't seen it, they are good at pulling in development. They are good at saying, "Okay, this is new. We will put it in a development." Now, with their new website where you can see your tickets and track things, they make it a lot easier. If you have a bug that is in development, you can track where it is and when it will probably be released. Now, there's a lot of transparency that makes it comforting to know your stuff is being worked on. These are improvements that they made as they moved away from Cisco. 

When it was supported by Cisco, it was okay but it wasn't as good. Since Tidal broke away from Cisco two years ago, that was when we saw the most improvements in terms of things that we had been asking for and the delivery on them. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I think we had a variety of solutions that were sort of stitched together.

How was the initial setup?

Its setup is around mid-level complexity. You need to do a little reading to understand how Tidal works. You need to understand things like connectors and the whole fault tolerant environment, but the data is all there to get to.

Whenever we are moving to a new operating system, I work with my infrastructure team to get new VMs built up in the right OS. I start to set them up with all the things that I need in order to build Tidal. At this point, I usually get a demo license from Tidal as I'm doing the build. This way, I can build and test but not take up a license. Then, when I'm ready to go live, I always go live in development first to QA, then production. So, I have a cut-over from the old system to the new system, then we migrate our database over. I work with my DBAs to do that. Then, I do testing in development to make sure everything is right, doing the same thing in QA. I also do more rigorous testing with the schedulers, then eventually it goes into production. It is about six weeks from development to production.

The migration to the cloud has been an extensive project. It is going generally well. A lot of what was running in the Informatica environment has now been shifted over into the Azure environment over the last couple of years. That is where some of the migration has been occurring.

What about the implementation team?

The initial setup was done by somebody else who no longer works with the company. Since then, we have moved to new operating systems over the years. These are always new systems that we build up, then migrate from the old system to the new system. I've set this up several times, so systems that we are currently running are the ones that I've set up.

What was our ROI?

Thinking of all the people involved in checking jobs on a daily basis, manually running jobs or auditing them through standalone tools, and trying to connect them. We have saved hundreds of hours weekly, which is substantial.

I am able to create something predictable and manageable in such a way that we know that we will get alerted if there's a problem and know how jobs are going to run. People can see and manage their jobs on a daily basis without having to talk to me about them. The return on investment is scope of jobs, making it so the management of jobs is not something that is handled by one team. It can be parsed out to the schedulers who know and understand those jobs so they can have some control over them, then I don't have to worry about all the different jobs streams. I just have to look from above and be able to help make sure that the system itself works. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our yearly licensing costs are between $10,000 to $20,000. They have always been reasonable with us. I like that non-production licensing is about half the cost of production licensing. Licensing is by adapter typically. We have had scenarios where we have had to take an adapter from one environment to another, and they've allowed us to do that. They have made it a very reasonable process. There's definitely a feeling that they will work with you.

Budgeting is pretty predictable. They changed their model last time, which is why I'm not sure exactly how much it ended up costing. I know that our licensing guy did make a decision to license us in such a way that now we have a lot more flexibility based on adding VMs that can connect to Tidal and run jobs. So, it's not a problem to budget for it. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have on occasion looked at other options simply just to be aware of what is out there. We don't plan to change anything right now that I'm aware of simply because we don't have the time or budget. I'm not even sure we have the need. Every once in a while, we do look around because it's useful to go out, compare, and ensure that it's still something that fits our needs.

What other advice do I have?

Depending on how you will roll it out, engage people who will be managing the jobs earlier in process so they are aware and can help plan how Tidal is used across the environment. That is something that I wish the people who had rolled it out had done. I don't know if that was even a consideration back then. There were definitely things that I would love to change about how we do our scheduling which are just so baked in at this point that it would be such a large change. Also, make sure that you engage and use Tidal's resources. They have some great resources and know what they are doing. Work with them, as they can help you figure out how to use this tool.

There are ways that it makes life more convenient in terms of ensuring the right people get alerted for issues. We are able to see job health, jobs over a couple of days, and have some predictability, but not as much as I would like to see in terms of forecasting. If we were to stop using it, we would go to something similar simply because it's so useful to have an overall scheduling application.

I have developed some training specifically for the learning curve. The basic job stuff is pretty quick, especially because we have a lot of people who can be leaned on. When you start drilling down into things like using variables or more ad hoc type settings, the learning curve is a little higher. However, we have a lot of people using those features or settings who help each other with learning them. While it's not incredibly steep, there is a learning curve. I do an hour to two hour sessions, which are either classroom led or recorded. That is usually enough for most people to get started. Sometimes, people will come back with more questions, which I totally encourage. Then, if they start to get into some of the deeper things, like ad hoc variables, I have additional sessions that they can attend. These are usually about an hour long and get them going down the right path. I know that Tidal has developed some training, but I had put some stuff in place before they did, as I wanted to train everybody so they could do their job and not have to talk to me.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt from using Tidal is train people. Make sure that the people who manage jobs understand what they are doing and educated to the best of your ability. That has been one of my key takeaways from this. Also, don't go to the latest patch when it first comes out. 

There is a lot of power within Tidal, probably a lot that we're not even using today in terms of managing jobs as well as how we can set up alerting. Also, they have great support, so I can usually get what I need.

It's pretty extensively used right now. We might shift some of our job scheduling to more on demand, then still leverage Tidal for more of the batch scheduling. At least for now, we will be using it as we are continuing to have systems added in. I even have a ticket open because we have an adapter that we just added in that is not quite working right, potentially due to me not understanding the adapter. Therefore, we're continuing to add job streams, but it will always be dependent on what applications we are adding.

Two years ago, I would have given it a six (out of 10). Today, I will give it a nine (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
JonFredrickson
JDE Manager at Oshkosh
Real User
Top 5
We know when we schedule a job it will submit and we'll be notified of any errors, enabling us to be proactive, not reactive

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution also enables admins and users to see the information relevant to them. They're able to actually run jobs that they weren't necessarily able to run before. They can see the output and they can be notified when there are issues and resolve those issues before they cause more issues."
  • "One thing I would like to see is better training on both how to set up and support the product as well as on how to make use of the product, especially regarding the scripting that is available."

What is our primary use case?

We have a product called J.D. Edwards which is our ERP system. Our biggest use case for Tidal is to automate jobs that we submit through J.D. Edwards. Our second use case would be automating maintenance — stopping services, deleting logs — your "keeping the lights on" type of stuff. And our third use case is using it for any automation tasks that we come across. Tidal is our product of choice at the moment. If we're going to automate something, we're going to use Tidal to automate it.

We integrate Tidal with Linux, Windows, iSeries, SQL Server, and Oracle, in addition to J.D. Edwards.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest thing we see is the fact that when we schedule a job we know that it will submit, and if there are any errors we will be notified and able to resolve them. That's our biggest benefit. That way we're being proactive instead of being reactive.

We use the solution for cross-platform and cross-application workloads. We'll submit a job in J.D. Edwards and that will create a CSV file. We'll take that file and we'll either copy it up to SharePoint or we'll FTP it to another location where it gets used by something. Through J.D. Edwards we have an MRP, which means run a bunch of jobs. If it wasn't for Tidal, and we had to use any of the standard tools, we wouldn't be able to run those jobs sufficiently.

If there's an error with a job, there is an alert with a PDF. In that alert, we can customize any messaging that would assist people in resolving it. If it was a specific file location that they need to go look at, we can put a link to that file location. If it's something with logs, we can attach to the logs to the email so they have one place to start looking. We can even attach work instructions to that email notification: "Hey, if this job errors out and you received this email, here are the steps to resolve." So people don't have to go looking for that information. They can just start resolving it right away.

Tidal has also definitely helped to reduce at-night hours. It's able to monitor itself. If a job fails, we're able to resolve the job and let the customer know, instead of the customer calling us and saying, "Some job failed. Go fix it," and having to research it. It could save my team about an hour's worth of work in each of those situations.

Overall, it saves us about 20 hours of work each week, hours where we would have been stuck trying to determine what the issue was instead of having an alert that tells us exactly what the issue is.

In terms of the number of jobs we run, I don't know if Tidal has increased it, but it's made it more flexible. For example, with J.D. Edwards there is no way to email attachments, so we had to have a developer spend some time to create a custom application. That application is built into Tidal and I have a lot more flexibility to make changes. Instead of being tied to just sending emails, I can also take the files and copy them to a SharePoint or FTP them to a location outside of the company. We didn't have that ability before.

What is most valuable?

The most important features are being able to schedule jobs and being able to monitor and act on those jobs if they fail. Even if they're successful, we're able to act on them.

The solution also enables admins and users to see the information relevant to them. They're able to actually run jobs that they weren't necessarily able to run before. They can see the output and they can be notified when there are issues and resolve those issues before they cause more issues. It allows them to concentrate on doing the work they're supposed to be doing instead of fixing issues.

I like the integrations they have with ServiceNow and J.D. Edwards. A selling point to me was the fact that they actually have a J.D. Edwards driver and that works the way it should.

What needs improvement?

One thing I would like to see is better training on both how to set up and support the product as well as on how to make use of the product, especially regarding the scripting that is available. 

Another place I'd like to see an improvement is that there are certain agents that I don't have access to. It's on the wishlist but they can't do everything for everybody. The one that I'm looking for particularly is IBM's Data Store driver. I understand why they haven't created one, but my life would be better if they did.

They also need to make sure they have the adapters, or have a mechanism to get the adapters, that people need. There's an adapter that I would really like. I've even said, "I'll pay for it. Just tell me how much and I'll get it paid for." They're just not in a position to do that.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Tidal for about a year with my current company, and at a previous company I used it for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Tidal is very stable. I have J.D. Edwards systems, Robot, Control-M, and I worry more about them not working than I do about Tidal not working. 

In fact, we ran across a case where Tidal was too smart for us. It submitted a job and was detecting that the job wasn't acting correctly and kicked out an error, even though the job was actually completing. I took it to the developer and he was able to determine there was a problem with the code. Tidal was responding to that error, but we had never seen that before. I haven't seen any other system work as well Tidal's J.D. Edwards adapter does.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. We haven't seen a limit yet with Tidal.

The one limit we saw was actually caused by a third-party design issue. It wasn't a Tidal issue, it was a J.D. Edwards issue.

We plan on using this as our only job scheduler. This will replace other solutions on multiple boxes, including our Robot scheduler. This will cross four different J.D. Edwards implementations, including production and non-production scheduling of jobs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their tech support is the one reason why I can get away with not having additional training. When we have issues, we're able to open up the case with their tech support and they will help us with what amounts to our training issues. 

Their tech support is top-notch. They take ownership of the product and they support it, regardless of whether the system isn't doing something right, all the way to a situation where we're not doing something right, and they help us to do it the correct way.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Yes, we've used Robot, JDE Scheduler, Smart Scheduler, and batch jobs.  None of them offer the amount of intergration and monitoring that Tidal supports.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward. We had it up and running in a day.

An employee of mine was actually upset with me that I had wasted his time with another product trying to get it to work. We spent over $40,000 having that other vendor come in, and we spent at least two weeks of my employee's time trying to get the integration to work with J.D. Edwards, the way it should, and ultimately we failed. We were able to do that same functionality within a day with Tidal, start to finish: Load the server, connect the adapter, and submit a job.

We've slowly been growing this to all of our other segments and adding some of the scripting that makes it work — the nice-to-have stuff. In the beginning, to have the system up and running, it took us about two weeks of solid work. To bring a new J.D. Edwards system on may take about 20 hours to get all the little pieces correct and be able to submit a job successfully. It's not really an issue with Tidal. It's really an issue of making sure all the services on J.D. Edwards are up and running properly.

We have multiple segments or systems, so our implementation strategy was to get it up and running as a proof of concept on one of our systems and then use that system to show the other segment owners how it works, and what the benefits are. We've been rolling it out to them. We start off with taking any new requests. For example, "Hey, we need this schedule change." We'll do it in Tidal and it will run there from now on. We'll go back and move all their old jobs over.

In terms of the learning curve for Tidal, I made a statement once: "It's so easy that it's complex." What I meant by that is that the interface is truly, really easy. And it is very powerful. You can do pretty much anything you want to do with it, and that's what makes it hard. Sometimes, when trying to implement something there are so many ways to go about it that you don't know which way is the best until you try it a couple of different ways. You learn which ways work better for your environments and which ways don't.

I had a guy who worked for weeks on another system, and he was truly upset with me that I put Tidal in here. But within five minutes of my showing him how to create his first submitted jobs, he did the rest of them on his own. I said, "Here's what it should look like," and he said, "Okay, I got it." And he did the rest of the scripts for the jobs that needed to be created. So it's really easy to use and pick up, but it's also really powerful in the flexibility that it has.

The amount of training new users need to begin using the solution depends on what you consider to be a new user. First, you have the operators, and then you have people who design the scripts, and you might have another person who is an administrator of the system. 

In terms of administering it, there is a document out there that walks you through how to install it, so we were able to do that. That document shows, at a high level, how to create different types of jobs. When you get down into the details, it becomes a little harder to know what exactly goes where. That takes a little bit of testing and trying and retrying. For brand-new users the documentation is really good and it gets you to know what you're doing. When you're going to try and do more complex stuff, that's when you start really wishing there was more training.

What about the implementation team?

The first time I used it I used an integrator, and it went fine. I was truly new to it. But the second time we did it on our own.

What was our ROI?

We have an MRP process that runs nightly, but we could not go live unless we got that to work. If it wasn't for Tidal, we would not have been able to get that to work the way they wanted it to work. None of the other schedulers could be doing what we're doing with Tidal in our MRP process, which is part of our manufacturing of our firetrucks. I don't know if I can put a value on that. We wouldn't be able to run our MRP process if it wasn't for that.

Also, being able to know that the jobs are going to run or that we're going to be alerted when they don't run is very beneficial to us because we do a lot of integrations to OSN. If we don't send out invoices we don't get paid. There's a lot of value to what Tidal does.

There are savings in our total cost of ownership because we're able to go from running Robot on five different servers down to just Tidal running on a fault-tolerant server. The money we save almost gets us to break-even given the amount of money that we would be spending on Robot. We're going from our admin person supporting robot on multiple different systems to supporting just one implementation of Tidal. His job is four times as easy.

For the administration side of Tidal, there's my team of six senior analysts and me. We also have BAs and developers who have access to view jobs and submit jobs. We also give them the ability to create jobs, but they haven't really embraced that. They would rather that we do that. We're trying to implement a paradigm shift along the lines of, "We're just here to make sure the tool works. You guys actually use the tool," but they just want to see that it works and have us do everything on the tool. I'm trying to decide which way is better and eventually we'll decide on one or the other. But right now we let the end-users, business analysts, and developers create the jobs, submit them, and test them.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing model is very flexible and very transparent. I wish we were at a point where we could have a truly enterprise-wide license, but the way we licensed it limits our financial exposure in the most effective way.

It's flexible for budgeting. I know what I need and I have licenses to cover those needs. If a project comes along that needs a new type of license or an added license, that would just be added to the project. Then, at the end of the year, we would have a new value that we would pay. The licensing is very supportable. I can handle it year-to-year. I know that the more people see Tidal, the more they're going to want to do stuff and the higher my licensing costs are going to go, but that's okay.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've used Control-M, we've used the JDE scheduler, and we've used Smart Scheduler. None of them can do everything that Tidal can do. 

None of them is really good, once you submit a job, at knowing when that job finishes. A lot of them are submit-it-and-forget-it, so you really don't know if that next job can start running, because you don't know if the first job has finished running. And if there's an error that stops a script at a certain point, none of the others do a really good job of alerting you and then letting you try to determine the best next action.

Only one of the others, aside from Tidal, has a valid JDE adapter. Robot and Control-M are both dependent on the RUNUBE command, which doesn't give you very much functionality. Smart Scheduler is submitting it within JDE, but then you're tied to only stuff that JDE can see. Smart Scheduler also has an issue with handling multiple time zones.

Tidal enables you to FTP and to copy files from different locations. For any other third-party stuff that you may want to do, it is a true enterprise solution.

Also, the calendaring is much better in Tidal. The scripting is much better. You can integrate across multiple different systems and platforms. I don't know that any of the others can do that. I could literally run a job on one EnterpriseOne system, move that data over to the other one, and run another job on another system. I don't know how I would complete that task on any of the other systems, without having to run two separate jobs. Even then, how would I know that it's done before the other one started up? Tidal knows, "I can't run this until this other one is done."

What other advice do I have?

Don't feel ashamed that you'll wonder why you waited so long. I've used so many other products, gotten them up and running, but I don't know of any other product that works as easily as Tidal does for scheduling jobs for J.D. Edwards. I'm sure there are other people who use Tidal for other stuff, but J.D. Edwards is what I mostly know. I think it's the only scheduler you should use if you run J.D. Edwards.

The biggest lesson I've learned using Tidal is don’t wait so long. It took me five years to convince my boss that he should let me buy Tidal. He even brought in another product, and I sat there the entire time I was getting that other product up and running, saying, "I sure wish I had Tidal." Another lesson learned is to be prepared because the more people see the functionality and the abilities of Tidal, the faster they're going to want to make use of it.

Another lesson learned is that it is truly a product that the end-user can run instead, of IT supporting it. To me, it's no different than somebody logging into production and submitting a job in production. Why shouldn't they be able to submit it through Tidal? If I can give them an easy way to do that, all the better.

I rate Tidal at eight out of 10, because everybody else in the industry is about a five. For Tidal to get to a 10, they need more traction in the industry and to be recognized as the leader of scheduling in J.D. Edwards. I think they have the product for it. Now, they just have to market it and get it sold. They also need to work on the people who make use of it. The more training opportunities, the more hands-on, the more interactions with it, the more people will see the value of it. 

There is a lot of room to for Tidal to grow, but over time they'll get there.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
JasonJavitz
Tidal Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Robust calendaring enables us to set up very specific job run-times to even account for holidays

Pros and Cons

  • "For us, the calendaring system is very robust. Some of the teams have very specific requests for when they need jobs to run. That's been really valuable, because a lot of times, when people run scripts, if they run on a holiday, they're going to fail... A couple of times a month it probably saves us work and the necessity of logging in from home and checking to make sure everything's okay."
  • "Especially in the newer versions of Tidal, the segmentation of user permissions enables us to give people operator permissions for their jobs, to rerun jobs, but view-only for other groups' jobs. We're able to keep people from hurting themselves or other groups accidentally. The permissioning is really good."
  • "I don't know if Tidal wants to get into the business of monitoring long-running jobs, but that could be a feature for the future: a job launching and monitoring tool. Using Tidal for monitoring doesn't seem like a good fit, but if they could offer something that did that as an add-on or include it, it might be helpful."

What is most valuable?

For us, the calendaring system is very robust. Some of the teams have very specific requests for when they need jobs to run. That's been really valuable, because a lot of times, when people run scripts, if they run on a holiday, they're going to fail. We've even started adding some European holidays and other times when scripts should not run because they're going to fail, because they try to connect to external exchanges that are closed on a holiday. For things like that, things you can't do in a lot of built-in scheduling tools, Tidal has been very helpful. A couple of times a month it probably saves us work and the necessity of logging in from home and checking to make sure everything's okay.

Especially in the newer versions of Tidal, the segmentation of user permissions enables us to give people operator permissions for their jobs, to rerun jobs, but view-only for other groups' jobs. We're able to keep people from hurting themselves or other groups accidentally. The permissioning is really good. We have 20 different root-level job groups that hold all of the jobs for each team underneath it, in our shared space. I can set it so that the database group only sees database jobs, if that's all they want to see, so it's not cluttered with everyone else's jobs. But if there are teams that need to see all the spaces, we can do that as well. We can let them see only certain servers or certain users to run jobs. You can edit it too so that people don't see too much or don't get confused and lost in this sea of the thousands of jobs that they could be seeing, when they only need to see their own. That's been nice to set up over time.

In the past year, in particular, the client has gotten tremendously better. If you asked me three years ago, I would have said that the client was the biggest problem with Tidal. The backend was always really solid, but the client was pretty bad for a while. In the past year, with the new company taking over and putting a lot of development effort into the clients, especially the web client, it has really made people a lot happier when having to use the client and work with it. In the past, they begrudgingly used the client, but now they're happy to use it, which is a big change.

Because we've been with Tidal for so long, I can't compare it to the way things were before Tidal. Back before Tidal, there was much less electronic trading.

But an example of how we benefit from it is that we have Tidal jobs that load all of the trading symbols into our database every morning before trading opens. That's mission-critical in terms of getting ready for the traders to start trading on a specific day. If they don't have that updated information through the database, they can't trade.

There's a lot of overnight, big-data processing that happens, things that need to run all night. That's launched through Tidal and monitored as well. It's pretty much a 24/7 operation in terms of uptime, and we've definitely used Tidal to meet that goal.

The solution has increased productivity by saving staff hours. We have an operations team that's here 24/7. We have a runbook that says, "Okay, if this job fails, do this." I'd say 80 to 90 percent of the time the operations team is able to resolve a problem by following runbook and steps without having to contact someone overnight or on the weekends. But Tidal does save the person who owns the Tidal job from having to do work in off-hours especially.

What I like about the new company is that if you ask for something, and they feel like it would be a valid improvement, they're willing to push it out, even if it's a few months out. They make sure to provide it at some point. It doesn't just get lost in the mix.

I work for a financial trading company: stocks and options. The use cases depend on each group that is using it. We have a compliance group, HR group, and a bunch of trading groups and technologists. It's used for a thousand different things depending on the group. It's all to support a financial trading firm, and the processes that happen before the market opens and after the market.

We have a pretty good mix of Linux and Windows boxes, a good 60 percent Linux and 40 percent Windows. We launch trading scripts to start processes up, to stop processes, and to pull in data from third-party vendors; we have FTP jobs that do that. We run an Oracle backend.

From talking to the Tidal people, we have a lot of agents connected to masters, compared to most other firms. But we're probably middle-of-the-road in terms of how many jobs run per day. We're only slightly over 100,000 jobs per day, throughout the whole space.

What needs improvement?

The biggest problem for us was the Transporter tool that works through the API. It's like a GUI into the API where you can transfer and compare jobs between two Tidal spaces. Up until the last few months, the Transporter tool that was offered was not really good at all. It was hard to take a job in development and promote it to production. There was no really good tool to do that. They offered a tool, but it wasn't that good.

But they just put out the Tidal Explorer tool, which is basically a replacement for the Transporter. That looks promising. I haven't really gotten to use it yet, but it seems to be a better system. That's what people have been requesting for a while now: an easy way to promote and review changes; something like a script repository-type of system, where you can promote something or pull it down, compare it, and then, if you like it, push it. If it doesn't work, you can back it out to previous revisions. It looks like it offers all those features, but I really haven't had a chance to dig into it. I set it up and it does look promising for the future. It's probably something that we're going to try to integrate into the day-to-day processing once it gets released. I don't think it has even been released as general-availability yet. It's still in beta. But once it gets to be production-ready, we would definitely love to use it. It's something that's been on our radar for a while now.

Tidal also had a cache database, which was a copy of the master database, that the web client used. They got rid of that in the latest version, and that is something we had been asking for, for a long time. The way it had been set up didn't really seem optimal.

It looks like they're trying to put forth a better tool for certain places that were lacking.

On another topic, we have to set up ways to send a job event that finds a job that completes abnormally. What we do is send it to an SNMP trap that gets aggregated into one space and we can see those errors. We try not to use Tidal for monitoring, as much as for job launching and tracking. We have a Nagios setup so that if something fails, the error can be sent to Nagios and checked there. If a job is a long-running job, like an eight-hour job, we don't want that job active in Tidal for the whole time and taking up a job slot. We'll kick the job off in Tidal and it will show that it has completed normally. Then we'll hand it off to another tool to monitor that the process is running for the specified amount of time. I don't know if Tidal wants to get into the business of monitoring long-running jobs, but that could be a feature for the future: a job launching and monitoring tool. Using Tidal for monitoring doesn't seem like a good fit, but if they could offer something that did that as an add-on or include it, it might be helpful.

Finally, the solution is a little tough to learn. Talking to people who are new to using the Tidal interface, it's difficult. But I don't have anything to compare that to. They have said it's not as difficult as Control-M or some of the larger scheduling systems that people have used. It's not as hard as that. Tidal has worked to prevent new users, especially, who aren't exactly sure what they're doing, from hurting themselves too much, which is good. They've put a lot of restrictions in place to prevent people from doing things that weren't intended. There is a learning curve, but I don't think it's steeper than any other new scheduling system. In the past, we've downloaded some other options and they had a learning curve too. If you've never used it, there's always a curve, with the terminology, etc. But I don't think it's any harder than any of the others.

New users of Tidal need at least a month of working with it a little bit each day. I give people a three-hour introductory course. Every quarter I provide an overview for new users of how things are set up. Luckily, in our company, a lot of these new users are joining groups that already use Tidal on a daily basis. If they have any questions after the initial course, they can talk to their team. Over time, the teams that use Tidal are resources for the new employees. That takes a little bit of training off of my plate. Within a few months people are confident and moving along. It takes a few hours to pick up but to be fully confident it would take a few months to really feel that you know what you're doing in the space.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Tidal Workload Automation for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I'm really confident in the stability.

Cisco owned the company for a few years and I felt that it was something of an afterthought for them; it wasn't really their business. They didn't really put the time and effort into it. It seemed like, for a couple of years, nothing was getting resolved and people were pretty unhappy. We ended up staying in a version that was years and years old, compared to what we should have been on because we were not confident in the solution that they were providing, to give us what we needed. 

In the past two or three years, since the new company took over, we have much more confidence. People are much happier with the direction that Tidal is going and the features that they're releasing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our usage of Tidal goes up every year. That's not even from planning to increase usage. We have a few holdouts, people who still use Task Scheduler or cron, but over time they've all been folding into the Tidal space to have a better overview and a cross-platform way to see everything and rerun everything and be alerted. They've come to the conclusion that it's a better method, especially for overnight. We have an operations team that manages things overnight, so that if something fails in the middle of the night, that team can handle it, which they would not be able to do if it wasn't in Tidal, along with thousands of other jobs.

In terms of the number of jobs in Tidal, it's been increasing at between 10 and 20 percent a year. It's going up. It's definitely not going down. Initially, it was probably 50 percent a year because everyone was adopting it. Over the past five years, since it was already utilized by everyone, there has been a general 10 percent a year increase because of new jobs that need to be created and new processes that need to be started and stopped.

We're somewhere around 95 percent in terms of adoption of Tidal. There a few small groups that like to do their own thing and use open-source products, but those are groups that maybe only run Unix and that's it. They're happy with Jenkins or something open-source that only needs to run a few hundred jobs. It's only one platform, and it does what they need to do a little bit better than Tidal. But for groups that need an all-in-one solution, they've all gone to Tidal. If they need to do what Tidal offers, they're going through Tidal to do so. It's pretty accepted here.

How was the initial setup?

Tidal was here when I got here. It's been around for a while. But over the past 15 years, I've been the one who researches the new patches and service packs and revisions and I've done all the upgrades.

The upgrading process is straightforward for me, but I've been here so long that it's just something I know. It has gotten much better with the new company. We're on a Unix backend, so a lot of times, with a simple hotfix or service pack, you can just run a shell script and it replaces all the files. It does everything it needs to do. It places everything in the right location, and then all you have to do is start and stop the backend process and it picks up the new revision. That's been really good. In the past, it was a more manual process. In the past couple of years it's gotten much easier in terms of being able to do things with one script.

The releases have been good with very few bugs or installation problems. There were some in the past, a few years ago, where you would try to run something and it wouldn't take into account your environment and it would fail. You'd have to tweak some of the script. That was a lot of manual work. The upgrade scripts, recently, have worked pretty seamlessly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have an enterprise contract, so if we want to add another agent, or if we want to add another master, we don't have any restrictions on those things. Other vendors don't have that flexibility. For me, as an admin, that makes it easy because I don't have to think about what a new master is going to cost or what a new agent is going to cost. If someone needs a new agent and they need to run a job from that agent, we just go ahead and do it. If we're in Dublin, Ireland and someone wants a new master because there's a group over there that wants to adopt Tidal, we can just say, "Sure, get a new license, create, and you're fine." For the license that we have, the flexibility is great.

I don't know if other people aren't happy with the licensing model because they have a non-enterprise license where they have to think about everything they change.

We're negotiating our new license now for April, which is when we have to renew. We've usually gone with a three-year license. The numbers that the new company has put forward haven't really changed significantly from our past renewal. People here are pretty happy with that. It's not like the new company came on and jacked the prices up exponentially. The new prices that we've received seem reasonable and comparable to the marketplace.

What other advice do I have?

Because our environment is older, it's a little tough to integrate some of the newer features that they're offering. That's because of the way we had to configure our environment for older versions that didn't have these newer features. In terms of how you delegate permissions, how you set up calendars, who you give permissions to, my advice would be to figure out how the permissioning structure works before you set up your environment, and stick with a standard. A lot of the time, we're having to go backwards to make things standardized. If we started over right now, I know how I would set up a Tidal environment. It's hard to do that after the fact, and after things have been set up differently in the past. So try to develop the best system for standards and then keep that.

We don't use any of the Tidal adapters that they offer, just because we're heavy on development here. A lot of the people here, in the past, felt that they could write their own wrapper scripts to do the same thing that the adapter jobs do. That's ingrained in our environment now. We don't even look at the adapters too often, just because we have an in-house solution to those.

The vendor is starting to offer tools such as Tidal Repository, but that's going to be an add-on cost. I'm still evaluating whether it's something that we want to try to get a price on and use. It would allow us to see if certain jobs are running longer than they usually run. We could also see if queue levels are hitting their limits often and what we could do about that. The Repository seems like it's going to be a tool to gives you the drill-down information, like seeing how calendars are configured and a lot of the information that you're trying to get at. It's more like an admin dashboard where you can drill down. Right now, I just go directly to the master to search the logs, or we have all the master logs sent to a repository. I can search them there. We're doing things from our side with other monitoring tools we have and log aggregation tools.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
GR
Team Lead at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
An essential tool for us to manage and run SAP jobs

Pros and Cons

  • "We wouldn't be able to do many of the complex scheduling that we do today without it. For us, it is a mission-critical app. Because if it doesn't work or has a problem, then SAP doesn't function. It is that critical. So, it's an essential tool for us to manage and run SAP jobs."
  • "One of the weaknesses of the product is, when something happens, it's difficult to find out the root cause. There are a lot of logs you can take a look at in Tidal. Sometimes, they are useful, but other times, they're not. That is mostly relegated to the administrative team. Users for the most part don't see that and don't know anything about that. They just know they have a problem, then it's up to the administrative team to see what happened and figure out the problem."

What is our primary use case?

We use it primarily to run SAP jobs. 

While there is other minor stuff it runs in, 98 percent is SAP. We have a number of different types of SAP systems. There are different teams who are responsible for configuring, managing, and setting up jobs. They are the ones who define the jobs and schedule them. There is an administrative team who is responsible for maintaining the system landscape and providing training for Tidal. They also provide standards, guidance, guidelines, and jobs.

We use the solution for cross-platform, cross-application workloads within SAP. Therefore, within SAP, we might run a job on one system, but wait for the job on other systems to finish first. That is our interdependency between SAP systems. However, we don't do things like run something on SAP, then go do something on a non-SAP system. We may have a bit of that, but that's not a big part of what we do. It's mostly within SAP systems or within an SAP system.

How has it helped my organization?

As far as investigating what ran and when, it is fine for the most part. You can investigate on the GUI and take a look at different things. 

We've been using it for 15 years so we clearly like the product. We wouldn't be able to do many of the complex scheduling that we do today without it. For us, it is a mission-critical app. Because if it doesn't work or has a problem, then SAP doesn't function. It is that critical. So, it's an essential tool for us to manage and run SAP jobs. We depend on Tidal. Without it, we wouldn't be able to function. 

A lot of stuff is automated. You don't need people running things on their own. They can schedule and run it, then not having to worry about it. They can even get alerts if there is a problem. People are just coming into the mix only if there is a problem. They get alerted to see what happened. From the automated aspect of it, you can run jobs based on a schedule, events, or whatever reduces manual intervention.

It just makes our life that much easier because all we have to do is define complex jobs, then they are pretty much on their own. We only intervene if there is a problem. Otherwise, people don't even know it is there unless there is a problem.

We run a very large number of jobs per day. At the end of month, in particular, we can easily build jobs and dependencies, expanding on what we do. It's not so much a factor of what Tidal can do, it's more a factor of what SAP can do. You can easily expand what you do with Tidal, but then you need to be sure that you can do it right in SAP. E.g., what happens after we started seeing SAP to do it? From a Tidal perspective, it is pretty easy now because we have had it for so long and have so much experience with it. It has helped quite a bit in terms of increasing capacity.

We are constantly adding jobs, though not a ton. Sometimes, we take some away, but that's rare. It's more that we add jobs. It simplifies the process of developing an application if I have Tidal because I can around things and automate things easily with Tidal. The solution is very important to us because it does a lot for us 24/7/365.

What is most valuable?

We use quite a few of the features:

  • Calendaring 
  • Complex dependencies
  • Intra-system and inter-system dependencies, respectively, within a system and within systems.

There are a whole host of features that allow us to fairly complex scheduling which wouldn't be possible otherwise.

What needs improvement?

Tidal enables admins and users to see the information relevant to them for the most part. It depends on what you are looking at. One of the weaknesses of the product is, when something happens, it's difficult to find out the root cause. There are a lot of logs you can take a look at in Tidal. Sometimes, they are useful, but other times, they're not. That is mostly relegated to the administrative team. Users for the most part don't see that and don't know anything about that. They just know they have a problem, then it's up to the administrative team to see what happened and figure out the problem.

When you need to drill further down to the lower level, that's when it becomes a bit more difficult. At the lower levels, it tends to be clearer. When you get into the guts of the app (the technical level), it is sometimes difficult to find out the root cause.

Tidal comes with two front-ends (GUIs): their Java client and web client. The Java client is a very lightweight client which you install on your desktop and terminal server. The web client just runs on the browser. They are slightly different, and what we are finding is sometimes there are discrepancies and inconsistencies between the two. One function may work in the Java client but may not work in the web client. That is because they have two sets of code with different front-ends, so they are inconsistent. I have asked if they can just use one of them. We prefer the web client because it doesn't require any installs on your desktop. However, we also like the Java client because the usability and look and feel are better on the Java client than the web client. 

We have been using this solution for a number of years, using both front-ends. Sometimes, we see it as an advantage if there's a problem with the web client to go use the Java client. So, you have two ways of getting in. Although it's a pain sometimes, because you when you have an issue you need to check both and they may behave differently. On the other hand, when you have a problem, there is a different way to get in and you are glad that you have two ways to get into it rather than just one. 

For how long have I used the solution?

15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been good. We have had the occasional issue here and there, but overall, it has been fine. Obviously, it hasn't been flawless. For the most part, it's been a pretty stable environment.

There is an administrative team at the app layer maintaining it. There is a senior administrator for it, and two other people who cover for the senior administrator, if necessary. At the Unix and database level, there is just one person maintaining it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can scale. Today, you can easily scale Client Manager, which controls access to the web client. I sometimes complain about this to Tidal. For example, you can add one or two to the HA, which has a master backup. However, the only way you can scale there is vertically. So, you can make the system bigger. But with the Client Manager, you can scale horizontally as much as you like depending on the volume of people that you have, though I usually find that for us one Client Manager works just fine. The reason we have it down to just one Client Manager is because they use the Java clients, so there are different ways of getting to the system. It would be a good idea to have a second Client Manager in place so you have HA if the Client Manager goes down, then you could just go to the other one.

We haven't really had an enormous increase of jobs that has caused us to scale drastically, short of increasing memory. The CPU has not been an issue at all.

We did expand it to non-SAP, but it's not huge yet. It is being expanded to things like running Windows and Unix jobs. There are a good number of jobs that it runs from a volume perspective, but not as much as SAP.

Most people use the web client. There are 40 to 50 active users in the system. What we call super users use the Java client, so there are five to 10 people now using the Java client with the rest of the people using the web client. 

We have three different types of users: 

  1. We have the administrative team. Those are the people who maintain the system, do the training, and set up different components of the application layer, such as user groups or server groups. This is more on the technical side. 
  2. The super users usually are the most knowledgeable and capable of using some of the more complex features of the product. 
  3. The regular users are the people who set up regular, simple, straightforward jobs with some dependencies. They maybe set up some calendars, but nothing overly complicated.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support hasn't been perfect. Sometimes, it takes a bit of time to come to the root cause of an issue. They are pretty responsive though. 

They have been pretty responsive of late since the company changed. You see the difference compared to Cisco. In general, they have been doing a much better job, especially communicating with customers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using SAP native schedule, which was fairly primitive.

How was the initial setup?

We are running it in version 6.2 and thinking of upgrading to version 6.5. We just recently installed version 6.5 in the sandbox to "kick the tires". We have a very capable technical team who did it fairly quick, but they had some problems. There were some minor problem which required some help from Tidal. However, we just recently installed SP3 and that was smooth. It had no problems.

The deployment took us a bit of time because we had an issue. It took like two weeks. However, if we exclude the issue, it probably took a day or two at most. It depends though on what you are installing, if you are installing in production, and if you are installing it in a quality system, where architecturally the landscape is different. For our purposes, SP3 was done in less than a day.

This was to "kick the tires", so it was not a real implementation as the production system has multiple systems and components. It will be more complex. This was just a single server containing all components of the tool, so it was easier from that perspective. It didn't take that long. Production will be different.

What about the implementation team?

It is not like anyone can do the installation. It has to be a fairly technical, experienced person. The 6.5 version upgrade to the sandbox went well. 

The fact that we were able to install it on our own, albeit with a minor problem here and there at first, speaks to the quality of the software. It has definitely improved from the days when it was owned by Cisco.

One person did the deployment.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is pretty straightforward. It's a mission-critical app, and if we had to go back and do things the way we used to, it would be impossible. 

It would be undoable because now we would build a whole system that depends on functionality that is in Tidal. For example, to do something like calendars in SAP, they will be nowhere near as sophisticated or high quality. 

Could you do intrasystems dependencies? You could. However, there would be quite a bit of work to make that happen. It would be too complex. While here it is two clicks, and you're done. 

The alternative would be to go to a different product. But how? Migrating to a new product would be expensive, consuming, and complex. I just don't see that happening.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Our annual maintenance cost is competitive for what we have and what they do. 

We haven't bought anything new in terms of adapters or new agents. We did a purchase a few years ago. So, for now, we are good. It's possible that, if things change, we might buy some other stuff, e.g., a ServiceNow adapter. 

I have never had a problem with the solution’s licensing model in terms of its flexibility and its transparency regarding costs. You could debate whether it's expensive. It should be that much or less, but it's pretty clear regarding what you get and what you pay. 

It has been a bit of time since we bought something new. For the most part, the company is pretty upfront, straightforward, and transparent in my dealings with them. I don't have any issues. As far as licensing and new components, we haven't had to do that in a while.

There are project, system, and server costs. Some of the things that they are doing is introducing new products. They are introducing what they call their Repository, which is a way for you to move a job. That doesn't cost anything to us, because it is reusing a tool called Transporter. The repository is the successor to Transporter, so we already own it and are sort of grandfathered in. But that new product requires a server and database, so now we have to go out and get a server and database. So, there is a cost there.

The landscape requires a number of systems for which there are costs. You don't have to do that, as you can just live with it on one system. It all depends on how you want to design the architecture. The landscape, or the architecture, depending on what you do, and if you want to do it correctly, will need a master and backup. You also need a Client Manager. You will need those three systems along with the fourth system, the heartbeat, which is the monitor between the master and backup.

There are costs, from a licensing perspective. It has been okay. We haven't had to add anything in the last three years or so.

Lately, there are costs of maintaining, managing, hardware costs, etc. That comes with the territory. It comes with implementing a tool for managing jobs and SAP RADIUS. Tidal is cheap, not really that expensive, between the licensing, hardware, etc. We certainly have a lot more expensive products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Going back 15 years when we bought the product, we looked into AutoSys and a BMC product. We looked at three or four solutions back then. We liked Tidal because of the user interface. It had the best user interface. 15 years ago, AutoSys only had command line.

There are new competitors now: Automic and Redwood. 

We haven't had a reason to even consider anything else. The company has used the product for a long time. As far as I know, we have no plans to get rid of the product.

What other advice do I have?

We originally liked the product for the user interface, because of it was easy to use and the features, such as calendaring, dependencies, etc. I don't think the solution is difficult to implement and learn. Though, it depends. It certainly has some very advanced features which require more than cursory knowledge of other products. It takes time for that, and there is always a learning curve for whatever product you do. In general, it is a fairly easy product to install and use, if you are flexible as far as how you want to deploy it.

It's very straightforward to understand and install, but you need to have the right people who have the right knowledgeable and can do this type of stuff. E.g., you need strong technical people. Though, we certainly have dealt with more complex products, deployments, and systems.

The tool is complex because it can do many complex things. One of our requirements is before anyone gets on it that they get two hours of training sessions. This is just to give them a minimum of the basics. Almost right away, people learn the basic stuff: create a job, monitor a job, etc. The more complex tasks takes more time, but are not used by everybody. Most people just do the basic stuff, so learning doesn't take that long. The majority of people learn the tool fairly quickly.

It is a mission-critical app. We depend on it to run our SAP trials. Without it, I don't know how we would do them. It's just that critical. We know if Tidal has a problem, because everybody knows. It's that critical to us.

I would rate the product from a seven to eight (out of 10). We have been using the product for a long time. We like it. We plan to upgrade soon, hopefully this year or next year. The users are very familiar with the product. It has become such a critical tool for us that we depend on it. We have built a relationship with the company now. I believe that the product is in good hands. They want to do right by the customer and listen to them. They are doing a lot of good things.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AG
Lead Control Analyst at Central States Funds
Real User
Top 10
Enables us to verify and to send out notices that a given step has started or finished

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most useful features is being able to set up a schedule and create dependencies. The calendar can kick off processes at certain times, based on dependencies that you specify, like time, or whether another process has finished. Dependencies are the most useful thing."
  • "We've had some quirky stuff happen on an occasional basis where a job does not take off. For example, a job we expected to be finished by 3:00 a.m. is sitting there and not executing when we come in in the morning. We have to go all the way back to the dependencies and then we can see that one of the dependencies has become unscheduled, for some reason. No changes were made to the schedule but this prerequisite job has, all of a sudden, become unscheduled. I have brought this up with Tidal's support but they have never had an answer for it."

What is our primary use case?

We use Tidal extensively to run our health and welfare claims processing throughout the day. That's the reason we got Tidal back in 2011. We receive 15,000 to 20,000 claims a day and we use Tidal to process the whole thing, all the way through to creating checks at the end of the day.

Since 2011, we've expanded it to other applications and other processes: mostly reports, and files that come in electronically from other companies that feed other applications. And in a roundabout way, what we use Tidal for is to execute the applications to load whatever needs to be done on those applications.

The transfer function we used to do with Tidal has been switched over to another software product called Cleo. And that is run by our network team. That way they can control all the information that comes in and out of our building. They can put secure FTP on it, encrypt and decrypt the information, and set password protections. Cleo has its own scheduler, like Tidal, but they don't use it. They let Tidal execute the Cleo commands to bring the data in and Tidal will execute any application programs after that.

Overall we run 1,100 to 1,200 steps every day, depending on day of the week. I call them "steps," but they're actually multiple steps. Before you get to the actual processing of a program there might be a move, a copy, or a delete when we're clearing out folders, using DOS commands. We then move data around to certain directories so that either the TriZetto software that we use can find that data or any internal programs that we use in VBS, .NET, Oracle, or MS SQL stored procedures can find that data.

We're also starting to use this new MDM application which captures addresses from various databases, verifies they are correct, and pulls them together into one database. After all of our nightly processing, we have Tidal kick off the main MDM master so that all those addresses are in sync.

Tidal sits on its own database and then it talks, through agents, to the other applications.

How has it helped my organization?

People who are on the Client Manager were complaining about response issues. It's never been proven that a batch job is causing the issue, but they do find that so many things are hitting the database at the same time that they shut down the batch job that's running at the time. We've now been able to move our schedules around so that it can just run at night when everybody's off the system.

Also, after a while using Tidal it started to reduce weekend hours by not have to watch it constantly on the weekend. The only time we're really busy on a weekend, now, is when there is a major upgrade going on, as we usually do it on a Saturday or Sunday. But other than that, it's very quiet on the weekend. It has reduced overtime by 80 to 90 percent.

As of right now, the only time we really have overtime is planned overtime. Once a month, our network team applies the Microsoft security patching, so we have to pick a day, once a month to hold everything in the schedule. They then apply their security patches to all the Windows Servers. They bring the applications back up and we have to do a quick, sample test to make sure Tidal is okay. We then run a few jobs to make sure other things are okay and the business users have to check their applications and their data. At that point we turn the schedule back on for the weekend. It sounds like a lot but it only takes about an hour. Where we used to have two or three hours of overtime a week, now it's down to one hour a month.

In addition, our number of jobs has been growing steadily. We do about 1,100 to 1,200 jobs a day. We could go further but we have never really tested how many jobs we could do.

What is most valuable?

One of the most useful features is being able to set up a schedule and create dependencies. The calendar can kick off processes at certain times, based on dependencies that you specify, like time, or whether another process has finished. Dependencies are the most useful thing.

You can also verify that a step is finished. And some of our departments are really interested when something has started. You can send out an email saying this step has launched or this step finished normally and, obviously, we always have it notifying us when something goes wrong.

It's also very useful to do repeating steps. If you need to do something multiple times throughout the day, it's very easy to just copy that group of steps or jobs and continually process the same thing each time. And you can always have one dependent on the other.

Tidal is also helpful because, once you set a schedule, you can keep an eye on it. You can kind of have "bookmarks" where it can tell you when this step is done and that step is finished, and you know that the schedule is moving forward and nothing has been stopped yet.

What needs improvement?

We've had some quirky stuff happen on an occasional basis where a job does not take off. For example, a job we expected to be finished by 3:00 a.m. is sitting there and not executing when we come in in the morning. We have to go all the way back to the dependencies and then we can see that one of the dependencies has become unscheduled, for some reason. No changes were made to the schedule but this prerequisite job has, all of a sudden, become unscheduled. I have brought this up with Tidal's support but they have never had an answer for it. It would be helpful to be notified ahead of time when something is going to stop the schedule, even if we don't necessarily know what's causing it.

But the main area for improvement is reporting. A lot of our managers would like to have metrics shown in graphs for the products they keep track of. The reporting part of Tidal isn't very useful. When you use the report function, you can't bring that data into an Excel spreadsheet. I understand in the new release they have something called Explorer which is a new reporting feature. I think they acquired a product to handle reporting functions, but we haven't gotten it yet.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Tidal since 2011.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Tidal has been pretty stable. We've had these little quirks, but they are mostly just minor bugs that crop up every once in a while. For instance, you might have to click on something twice or click off of something, like a tab, and then click back on it and it will bring up the screen. But other than that, it's been pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is pretty good. We've used Tidal only for our main application which is our health and welfare system. We do a lot of reports and off of that, but we don't use it in any other areas. 

We've never scaled it extensively across too many different platforms. The only thing we have right now is a SQL Server platform and an Oracle Database that we go against. We're only in one location.

I don't see us expanding our use of it for now. We're pretty stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't really dealt with Tidal support too much. The only time I really dealt with tech support is when we were doing an upgrade to a new release, to find out what release we need to have the agents in and was it compatible with other releases of SQL Server. The Tidal database, itself, is on a SQL Server release — I think it's at 2012 right now — and it can go up to 2016, but other applications are at different SQL Server levels. We had to check with them to see if it was all compatible.

They were very good in responding.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had two mainframes running all of our applications. We were using CA products. Our health application was ClaimFacts, from TriZetto, but they were dropping support for the mainframe product and everybody had to switch to Facets. We were running both products at the same time while we were transitioning to Facets. We had to run ClaimFacts, the mainframe version, for about a year or so because, if somebody has a claim they have a year to report that claim and another six months to make adjustments on their claim. So our old mainframe product had to be kept until all that faded away. 

Then everything went into PC, server-oriented applications. We got Tidal because the company, TriZetto, used Tidal to run their stuff. So we brought it in and we started setting up our whole batch schedule.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't privy to the technical part of the initial setup, but I think it was pretty straightforward. We just needed to know where to place the agents so that they could connect, and we had to do a file share so that if you're doing a DOS command and a Tidal job, it will have shareability to whatever servers they're going to. Once those were all set up it was pretty stable.

Our deployment took about a month. But we were using the product for the first time. So we were setting up jobs for the first time. Some things were kept out of Tidal until they were ready to be moved in. They were run by developers or the application people, manually. It took about six to eight months to get everything on Tidal. There are so many icons and buttons and things that they had to press on to run something on a desktop and we had to convert that all into executable commands for Tidal in the schedule.

That approach was planned. The initial plan was to get the batch processing of claims in first. That was pretty smooth. There were hiccups every now and then but it was not that bad. While that was going on, all the in-house stuff was done in the periphery on a person's desktop. Those things were set up afterward.

The learning curve is at least one to two weeks, if you teach a person, full-time, how to run the schedule and how to set everything up. It depends on what knowledge they need to have to run a schedule. If it was just a matter of running jobs, it would take less than a week. But if they're constantly being asked questions on what this or that job does, it will take a person longer to get a feel for what all the applications do.

I came from a programming background when I started running these jobs and setting up the schedule, so I had a fairly extensive knowledge of what all the applications do. But you take a person who is just out of the computer room and all he knows is how to do a Computer Associates schedule, he knows the timelines and the flow of everything, but he doesn't know exactly what the applications do. They would need at least a few days to find out what are the major applications or major steps in a daily job schedule are. If some of those steps are very critical to run, they would need to be pointed out so they know which are critical and which ones can be held or bypassed. It takes time to get used to the processing.

What about the implementation team?

We used a Cisco consultant for installation. There were four people involved in the installation. We had the consultant working with our network people, and we had a technical support person who made sure all the libraries were in place to set up for Tidal. And there was me and another person getting all the schedules together.

The only time we've used a third-party is when we were doing a major upgrade of Tidal from 3.1 to 5.2, back in 2015.

The third-party we used was Synertech. Our experience wasn't too good with the consultant they gave us. He was very gruff and it wasn't a pleasant experience. We didn't ask him to come back. But the actual conversion to the new release went well. We used the consultant to show us the technical part of upgrading to 5.2. We also wanted to use him to train one of our new people in Tidal functions, but it never got that far.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not in the financial end, so I don't know what our licensing costs are.

I know that Tidal integrates with a product called JAWS Workload Analytics, which will analyze your schedule, give you graphics and reports, tell you where your logjams are, and analyze all the data going in and out. We asked what the price is on that and it was about $200,000.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There was one option back then, but by the time they wanted to come in for a demo, we had already decided to use Tidal.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest advice I can give is to test Tidal first. Run the whole schedule, whatever you're putting in. Run everything you can and test Tidal before you bring it over to production.

The trickiest thing to do is to change a schedule during the day. Once you associate a job with the calendar, and then somebody comes by and says, "Hey, I want to put these six steps in, and we need to run that today," if you try to change that schedule during the day, you don't realize that, because you put it on the calendar, it's on a schedule. You could be making changes and kicking off things inadvertently. You can't change something during the day without like stopping the scheduler or putting it on pause. We might have done that once in all these years — pause the whole scheduler or pause job launching and then make a change and then turn it back on.

You may think that you can change something during the day and let it go, but then you realize, "Oh, this thing took off." And you realize that because you put that job on the schedule, it picked up the scheduling requirements it inherited from another group of jobs and it will take off on you. That's probably the trickiest part of the learning curve.

When we brought Tidal in there were six people who were taught how to use it but five of them have retired. I'm the last one. About three years ago I had to train another person who came from the mainframe computer room after he took the job as a Tidal scheduler. I got him up to speed. The two of us run the schedule during the day. There are no other users. There are a few application programmers or developers who just want to have Tidal available so they can see what's going on, and we give them inquiry access. But nobody else has any authority to change anything or to set up anything.

Overall, it does what it's supposed to do.

I always get into arguments with the management staff here. They always claim something happened in Tidal and I say that Tidal doesn't process anything. It's a scheduler and it just launches jobs on the servers. If there's a system hung up somewhere, it's not Tidal. Stop. It is the actual program. Whatever processing has been launched by Tidal is the issue, not Tidal itself. I finally convinced them of that. Just because Tidal launched something doesn't mean it has touched anything or changed any data. It just goes to a server and launches a process. A person with the right authority can do the same thing from their desktop.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
RS
Production Control Analyst at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Enables me to construct groupings with dependencies that automatically allow jobs to run in the proper sequence

Pros and Cons

  • "We had a number of different schedulers in this organization and we've been porting everything that was running out of these other, unrelated schedulers into this scheduler. That has afforded us the ability to set up direct dependencies between processes that couldn't talk to one another before. Over the 15 years, we've definitely gained a lot from that. What had been manual controls have become automated controls..."
  • "From an administrative point of view, I wouldn't give really high marks to the solution. I actually entertained getting the JAWS application at one point. One of the shortcomings with the scheduler is the reporting capabilities. At least at the time, JAWS was the best that they had for a third-party integration. I think they've got things in the pipeline to help alleviate that gap."

What is our primary use case?

I have three installs of Tidal: production, qual and dev. I have a portfolio of 12,000 unique job definitions in production, 13,500 definitions in qual, and about 8,000 in dev.

The Tidal adapters I use are for Windows and Linux agents, as well as Informatica, Cognos, and mSQL.

How has it helped my organization?

With the portfolio of jobs that we're talking about, it's continuing to grow. There is way more work being added to the system than there is work that is being retired from it. That's just the way the animal works. It's been able to handle, perfectly fine, the complexity of the interrelationships between the processes.

We actually ported off of Maestro. Maestro was the scheduler that we were using, enterprise-wide, and it was very inefficiently used when I got here. When we came up on Tidal, we didn't convert anything. We built all of the definitions that exist in Tidal. So over the 15 years, that portfolio has grown.

As a whole, we're trying to automate as many things as we can to alleviate the manual processes. One of the things that Tidal has helped us with, because it is cross-platform: We had a number of different schedulers in this organization and we've been porting everything that was running out of these other, unrelated schedulers into this scheduler. That has afforded us the ability to set up direct dependencies between processes that couldn't talk to one another before. Over the 15 years, we've definitely gained a lot from that. What had been manual controls have become automated controls, by using this tool to replace a number of schedulers.

What is most valuable?

The automation aspect of the solution is the most important. I'm able to construct groupings that have dependencies which automatically allow the proper jobs to run in the proper sequence. That's the strongest selling point of any scheduler.

As for the solution's ability to enable admins and users to see the information relevant to them, the security model that I use is fairly simple and straightforward. For developers and other folks, an inquiry-type access is more suitable for the production environment. I've added functionality for people in both the qual and the dev environments, based on their roles. But I haven't restricted anything, meaning that anyone who has an account can see everything. There is a lot of flexibility in the way that things can be configured with Tidal. You could restrict it down to the point of people only seeing those things that are applicable to them specifically. I found that that would be too restrictive, and result in a lot of overhead to manage. So I went with a much simpler model, but the flexibility is there.

There are certain things I can put in play, triggering events based on statuses. For instance, if I have a certain job type where a number of the jobs are going to "waiting on resource" in the middle of the night, I can configure alerts so that I can assess those and then determine if I have to raise the job limits on some of those resources to make sure that we're not having things held up on necessarily. By the same token, if we're having long-running processes, I may want to tailor that down so we don't have so many processes running concurrently. There's some flexibility in that. I haven't had to rely on it a lot, but there are some features there that can be tapped into.

What needs improvement?

From an administrative point of view, I wouldn't give really high marks to the solution. I actually entertained getting the JAWS application at one point. One of the shortcomings with the scheduler is the reporting capabilities. At least at the time, JAWS was the best that they had for a third-party integration. I think they've got things in the pipeline to help alleviate that gap.

Also, one of the things I'm concerned about is that, with the security we have, there's a hazard that somebody could go in and accidentally delete a master grouping of definitions out of Tidal. Right now, I don't have an easy way to recover from that. It looks like a couple of things that are in the pipeline with Tidal are going to allow for that kind of recovery. There should eventually be a replacement for the Transporter tool. That sounds like it's going to have the capability of doing copies out of Tidal. If I scheduled that once a week, it would give me a copy of definitions out of Tidal. If it turned out that one of the operators, who had the rights, accidentally deleted a grouping of definitions, I would have something that listed definitions that I could go back to and recover.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Tidal Workload Automation for about 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been fine.

In fact, we're going back to using the master and the fault monitor. We had it disabled for some time, but we've gone back to setting it up with the fault monitor and the master, and the backup. There was a problem with it. There was some kind of a fault status that kept getting triggered. The network person who was in charge convinced us to disable the redundancy that we had set up, and we've just recently gone back to it. And it's been working fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't hit any roadblocks with volume, but I think we've been sized properly too, behind the scenes, with each upgrade that we've done. It's been scaling fine. That's the bottom line.

There are systems out there that are larger than ours. We try to get to the user conference, here in Boston once a year, to do some comparisons to other organizations and the way they're using the tools. It's an information-sharing session.

Whenever we go for an upgrade, we look for an assessment of whether we need to provide more horsepower or not. If any of the configuration has to change, we watch that carefully with each upgrade. There's a formula that Tidal provides on whether you should have a small, medium, or large installation, based on the number of definitions that you have. They help with calibrating that.

We consider Tidal to be an enterprise scheduling application, so any new process that comes along is first looked at to see if it can be run from Tidal, whether that would involve purchasing another adapter or whatever else would make it work from here. We want it to be an automated function as opposed to being run manually and not integrated with the scheduler.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is much improved. That's over the course of 15 years. Tidal has gone to great lengths, with the transition to STA, to strengthen its support capabilities and also strengthen the relationships it has with its clients. STA seems very interested in trying to focus on a direction, advertise that direction, and make the current clients comfortable. That, in turn, will help them take on new clients.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As I mentioned, we came off of Maestro. Back in 2004 or 2005, when we were looking at schedulers, Tidal was one of the solutions we demoed. Universally, we all decided that Tidal seemed to be the better candidate.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was pretty flexible. We had to come up with our own ways of deciding how to group things and what our naming convention would be. 

When we first came up on the product, one of the issues that we noted was that the default sort for all of the jobs was alphabetical. That complicates the ability of the operators to visualize the order jobs should run in. To overcome that, we came up with a naming convention that puts a prefix on all of the job names with a number. So when we create our groupings, within a grouping it will list the jobs in the order that they run. Half of Tidal's clients wanted to see things alphabetically listed and half wanted to see them listed numerically, in the order that they run. The vendor wasn't willing to modify the product to give the user a choice of one order or the other.

I don't remember the original installation taking that long. It took us a while to actually build all of the job definitions. That was a lot of work. It was done within about a week. Once the equipment had been spec'ed out we had an onsite install here in the computer facility.

We've had to train a number of new operators and I don't think it's been a terribly big learning curve for them to understand how it works. The developers, in fact, self-trained in their environments and they seem to be able to maneuver fairly well. There are times I have to explain things here and there, some ways of handling things that are more convention. Those are things they have learned over time. But they seem to do all right with it. There isn't that much of a learning curve.

The only people who need to have the training would be the operations staff. I think there was a beginner's and intermediate course that we originally took, when we came up on the product. And then we learned things as we went. 

One of the things that would be beneficial though would be some training that incorporates best practices. You can go through the manual and it will tell you, "This feature does this," and, "these are the parameters that you need to put in," and then the delimiters, but it doesn't necessarily tell you the best use case for certain functionality. I've had a few people mention to me "Oh, you shouldn't do this, and you shouldn't do that." Well, where does it say that in the book? It doesn't. And that's the problem. There's a little difference between an instructional manual that gives you the nuts and bolts of how to do things, and something that's more tailored to best practices, or recommendations of things you should not do. And some of that has to do with the architecture behind the scenes. Users wouldn't necessarily know that unless there was some documentation expressing it.

What was our ROI?

I don't really have metrics for ROI. It's more of a feeling because we've been able to consolidate from all these separate scheduling products into this one scheduling tool, allowing us to have direct dependencies between things. That's an efficiency in itself, but I don't have any statistics to support the number of hours saved and the number of dollars saved. Overall, it has improved our business model with automation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

My experience was that it was very difficult to figure out the licensing cost on an annual basis. I don't know if they've changed the model, but I remember it would take a month to reconcile if we were being billed the proper amount because it was based on the number of CPUs; if they were test CPUs or production CPUs. I recall, and this was probably five years ago, that it was very difficult to reconcile the annual statement with what we had, and to verify that they were components we were using.

Our ability to budget for the solution is a fairly easy aspect of it. One of the difficulties that I have internally has to do with the specialized adapters. I don't think it's well known within my company that I can't just snap my fingers and get an adapter. There's a cost associated with it and the license key has to be updated after we've made the outright purchase of it. I don't think there's familiarity, within our company, of budgeting for the coming year if it involves these additional Tidal components. That's nothing to do with Tidal. That's just an internal struggle.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were five solutions we looked at in total. Two were ruled out right away. When we went to do demos with the three of them, the third one couldn't even do the demo, so it came down to Maestro and Title.

What other advice do I have?

One piece of advice I would have is that if you get into a product, try to keep it upgraded. It's to your benefit, support-wise to be, maybe not on the cutting or the bleeding edge, but close to the current version. That's been a pain point for Tidal, to try and get their clients up to speed.

Stay on the latest version because of the functionality. It's not only relevant to just this tool, but to many IT tools. It's just like the next generation of laptops that are coming out; they're coming out more quickly. The same thing is happening with the functionality that is being added to all of these products, including the scheduling application. It's important to go through the pains of staying up to date.

It's been a good product. We could have done a lot worse. This is a heck of a lot easier to use than some of the other schedulers that I've used in the past. But, then again, it's been proven as a solution, as well. Other solutions are all moving targets. Everybody is making changes in their products. At the time that we made the selection of Tidal, it was definitely constructed a lot better. It was easier to use than the other option.

In terms of the number of users in our organization, I honestly wouldn't mind if everybody in the company had an account to log into Tidal with inquiry access. But I think we've got around 300 accounts set up in each instance. They could be used by managers, developers, operators, and all the other IT folks who have accounts.

For deployment and maintenance of Tidal, since we're doing a 24/7 staff, we're talking about eight people, and three or four other people who are going to be part of production control and/or an IT server ops-type of functionality, because you need that level of support as well from time to time. So we have twelve or so people in one capacity or another maintaining Tidal.

I would give Tidal a solid eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.