NSK Ltd. - Job scheduling software A-AUTO enables organizations uniform operations and cost reduction.

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Case Studies

* The company names and the contents of the case studies are given as of the time of the interview.

Case of NSK Ltd.
Using BSP A-AUTO for unified management of jobs on a mainframe and on open systems

NSK Ltd.
NSK Ltd.

NSK Ltd. (hereafter "NSK"), which holds the largest share of the Japanese ball-bearing market and a leading share globally, maintains a decentralized global data center system for business transactions in three areas in the world. It uses either a mainframe system or open system servers, depending on the kind of applications being processed. This IT environment makes job scheduling a formidable challenge.

The operation team put the priority on integrating operations management by use of a common tool. Since the company was already using A-AUTO for its mainframe, the introduction of a different tool would have not only raised difficulties in stable and secure operations of the system, but also increased costs and labor.

After thorough discussions, NSK chose to use BSP's A-AUTO for job scheduling on both mainframe and open systems. This method made it possible to monitor jobs on both systems from a single console. By maintaining the same level of operating load even while new application systems were added on the open system, it eliminated the need for additional operators and staff members.

Integration of the mainframe and open system was required for job scheduling

Mr. Makoto Moriya, Director, Network Solutions Department, Corporate Planning Department, NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd.
Mr. Makoto Moriya
Network Solutions Department
Corporate Planning Department
NSK Network and Systems
Co., Ltd.

NSK is a leading company not only in the ball-bearing market but also in other areas, such as automotive products, precision machinery products, and advanced electronic motors. Since it first entered the overseas market in the 1960s, the company has grown to a literally global enterprise, with sales offices in 24 countries and manufacturing sites in 12 countries. Its global data centers are distributed in the three sites, each of which provides information processing services to the area it has responsibility for.

Because of its early start on promoting computerized systems, NSK has both mainframe and open system servers, and currently uses the mainframe or open system selectively depending on the type of transactions. In 1998, after the job scheduling system developed internally for the mainframe had been used for over 20 years, it was replaced with A-AUTO. This was a major shift. Since then, operation standards based on A-AUTO have been developed and steadily implemented.

The open system was introduced for file servers and email servers around 1993 and has been used extensively in systems for human resource and production control. At the time, NSK was aiming to downsize its system; its goal of eliminating the mainframe led to the rapid expansion of the open system.

Even after the full launch of the HR system and the production control system, job scheduling had to be managed by a development team. The unusual operation structure ended continuing for a long time. Reflecting on those days, Mr. Makoto Moriya, Director of Network Solutions Department and Corporate Planning Department of NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd. (hereafter "NSK Network and Systems"), a subsidiary of NSK, said, "Since our operation standards were based on A-AUTO, any application systems on the open system could not run on our operation structure managed by the operations team because open system had not adopted A-AUTO." As an alternative, "Another method, such as the implementation of unsophisticated job scheduling software and the scheduled activation of scripts created by our own people, had to be applied to each server," said Mr. Hideyuki Konuma, Manager of the Network Solutions Department.

A turning point came in 2006, when NSK determined to employ the IBM zSeries as the successor of the current mainframe. The decision was based on the aim of integrating the mainframe and the open systems by using both z/OS and z/Linux and operating them in one box. Taking account of Mr. Moriya's idea that development and operations should be clearly separated, it was determined to officially transfer responsibility for the application systems running on the open system to the operations team.

A-AUTO was selected as a common tool because of its stable and secure operation and cost-saving effect

Mr. Hideyuki Konuma, Manager, Network Solutions Department, NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd.
Mr. Hideyuki Konuma
Network Solutions Department
NSK Network and Systems
Co., Ltd.

At the beginning of the new project, the question was what job scheduling software should be selected for operations management. "As a precondition for assuming responsibility for the applications on open systems, our operations team put the highest priority on using one common tool for the operations," said Mr. Tatsuo Tezuka, Manager of the Operations Services Group of Network Solutions Department. It was needed because running multiple job scheduling tools on the system would have degraded the stability and security of the system operations and increased the labor and cost for operations management.

Two software products were considered for the project. One was a product of a foreign vendor, and the other was A-AUTO for mainframe, A-AUTO for Unix and Linux. In autumn of 2007, after a careful screening that took about a year, NSK decided on the A-AUTO system. Mr. Moriya explained the choice as follows: "The data centers in western countries recommended selecting the foreign vendor's product. However, to save costs by managing the systems with a common tool, NSK had to choose: Either it could migrate the entire job scheduling that had been managed by A-AUTO for mainframe to the foreign vendor's product, or it could start to integrate newly developed or installed application systems into A-AUTO for open systems. Since migration of the existing job scheduling system would have been enormously costly and time-consuming, our only option was to adopt A-AUTO."

Mr. Konuma, who has been consistently engaged in the operations control since the days of depending on the mainframe, said, "It had taken a year and a half for us to complete the transition from the in-house job scheduling system to A-AUTO for mainframe," and recalled that he had offered the opinion that "Because I thought that by applying our experience we could avoid the enormous expenditure of time and work that the 1998 migration required, I believe that A-AUTO should be selected."

Managing all job scheduling with A-AUTO enabled integrated operations management without requiring additional cost

Mr. Tatsuo Tezuka, Manager, Operation Services Group, Network Solutions Department, NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd.
Mr. Tatsuo Tezuka
Operation Services Group
Network Solutions Department
NSK Network and Systems
Co., Ltd.

Mr. Shinichi Kikuchi, Operation Services Group, Network Solutions Department, NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd.
Mr. Shinichi Kikuchi
Operation Services Group
Network Solutions Department
NSK Network and Systems
Co., Ltd.

In September 2007 NSK installed A-AUTO for its open systems. The implementation of A-AUTO to IBM zSeries and other open system platforms was started with the introduction of new application systems. For example, job scheduling by A-AUTO on the sales and financial systems is currently managed with the system configuration shown above. Operators and operation management staff use the client terminals of A-SUPERVISION to do the needed monitoring and provide instructions for temporary rearrangement of job scheduling both on the mainframe (z/OS) and open system (z/Linux or Unix).

Speaking for all the members of the operations team at NSK, Mr. Shinichi Kikuchi in the Operation Services Group of Network Solutions Department says, "Since with the new system, job scheduling is processed in the same way on the open system as on the mainframe, we did not have to assign new staff." Mr. Moriya, Director of Network Solutions Department and Corporate Planning Department, expressed his view that "When the open application systems now under development are applied to production environment, we should be able to handle their operations management without additional human resources, through full utilization of operations management tools including A-AUTO."

Mr. Takanao Miki, President and CEO of NSK Network and Systems, showed high appreciation of the BSP product, saying, "For us, A-AUTO is an essential tool for stable, safe, and secure system operations. It is a unique job scheduling tool. I fully expect the product and the accompanying services to expand their presence worldwide."

To meet such expectations of BSP customers, BSP is determined to continue striving for further enhancement of the functions of A-AUTO products.

System configuration of new systems with A-AUTO

【Corporate Profile】

Company Name: NSK Ltd.
NSK Network and Systems Co., Ltd.
Founded: November 8, 1916
Description of Business: NSK Ltd. holds the largest share in ball bearing sector in Japan and now offers
a full range of bearings and sells them worldwide. Its business covers other areas including automotive products,
precision machinery and parts, and mechatronics products. Aggressively expanding its business operations to
overseas in 1960s, the company has 70 overseas sales offices in 24 countries, 37 overseas production sites in
12 countries, and 25,069 employees globally, as of March 31, 2008.
URL : http://www.nsk.com/