Rails for large scale app with SOAP and cron jobs?

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into alternative technologies for an application at work,
where the current one is failing. I have some experience with Rails
and always liked it, and am wondering if it could be feasible for this
application.

Basically, what the app does is take a large number of items
(scattered over many different relational database tables), and send
them via SOAP to an API on an external server. To get an idea of
numbers, some of these tables have 3-7 million rows, and the SOAP
requests can be 20,000-50,000 items, 200 at a time. The script that
fetches the entries and sending them are handled via cron. We need to
complete the whole operation in 5-8 minutes at the most. Often,
several of these operations will be running at the same time with
different priority.

My question is; is Rails a good choice for this type of application?
Can cron jobs easily be set up to run Rails scripts ? Can Rails handle
concurrent processes running simultaneously and/or can we use
threading?

We currently use PHP with the Cake framework for this, with a MySQL
database (though we're planning on migrating to Oracle at some point
in the near future). The most likely outcome is that we will recode
the application using Cake and their shells for the cron jobs, but if
there are distinct advantages to Rails we will certainly consider it.
Naturally, we have a dedicated server and we will be looking at adding
more servers in the future, probably with a database server and two
app servers. This app would be occupying one of the servers.

I'd appreciate any advice anyone can give me on this issue, and feel
free to ask me questions in case there is anything I need to clarify.

Best regards,
Sebastian