GuardIEn at the State of Alaska
State of Alaska - Customer Profile
The State of Alaska introduced GuardIEn in September 2003 as an emergency measure; we had converted from a COOL:Gen CE (Mainframe Encyclopaedia) to the Advantage Gen Client/Server Encyclopaedia in August and productivity was significantly reduced with the new development environment. We were in the middle of a large development project and had developers with pressing deadlines and work was practically stopped due to contention and other issues with the standard MVS Implementation Tool.
The CSE was functional, but with constant contention for models and utilities, our productivity was WAY down. People's time was spent monitoring tasks and resubmitting them hoping that this time they would get the resources for it to run. We were faced with the option of rolling back to the CE or finding a solution and FAST! Plus, we had implementation of the large development project looming over us in the coming months.
We had recognised that several key issues had to be resolved if we were to meet our deadlines. Of critical importance was managing the workload on the encyclopedia, automating the generation of code on our CSE, and finding a better approach to implementing code on the mainframe, and we needed it NOW.
Enter GuardIEn. IET was able to remotely install and configure GuardIEn and provided us with a fast track training course over the web immediately. We had a trial in place and were able to start using the product in a matter of days. They were amazing! We went from a barely functioning shop to a fully functioning shop again overnight.
GuardIEn was EXTREMELY user friendly. We did not receive detailed training for months after this initial implementation, but were able to make this product work without issue because of the ease of use and IET's prompt and amazingly attentive assistance. It was the difference between life and death for our CSE.
Then came the implementation of the large development project. I honestly don't think we could have implemented the development project without GuardIEn in place. Even on the CE, the idea of re-genning the entire model was enough to make one's blood run cold. It was a tedious, manual process.
With GuardIEn it was easy and FAST! IET teleconferenced with us and offered suggestions for going forth with the model regen. The process worked flawlessly. And, at this point we are still not running a fully set-up and configured GuardIEn environment, mind you, we were running the bare bones essentials IET had put in place for us for assistance with our immediate problems.
The model regen consisted of creating a few jobs, submitting them, and waiting for the results. If something failed, this piece was skipped and the rest of the job completed. The output identified exactly what the problems were with the pieces that didn't' work. We would fix it, and resubmit. The job didn't start over, it started up and only worked the pieces which failed before. GuardIEn's execution steps and the ability to control what is done and when it is done enabled us to do much of our production system gens ahead of time, leaving only binds for actual implementation day. The elaborate execution process we used to go through to accommodate action blocks used across business systems was a thing of the past.
The manual processes were history. GuardIEn did it all! I ran most of the system generate and install jobs from home, monitoring them through the GuardIEn Task Assistant. It was a HUGE time saver and EASY to manage! Our down time was minimal. As a result we were able to complete the implementation on time. Without GuardIEn scheduling the encyclopedia workload and managing the generate & install process I am convinced that we would not have come close to meeting our deadlines plus the amount of man-hours it took to complete this process would have been 10 times what we needed with GuardIEn. It was a one person operation, not a huge team effort.
With GuardIEn, we experienced minimal down time for production. What we'd scheduled to be over a 10 day outage was minimized to a matter of couple days - tops. And we still had only the bare bones of GuardIEn implemented at this point.
We have now received the more involved training and with IET's help, have developed a very workable plan for our current environment, incorporating other great features GuardIEn has to offer; we are in the process of implementing this plan now. GuardIEn's model management, life-cycle, migration, and security tools will streamline our environment to one slick running operation, I'm convinced! Our experience with GuardIEn tools and working with the IET staff has been nothing short of FANTASTIC! This is one company and toolset that outperforms its expectations by a long shot.