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Entering Websphere Console

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The Websphere administrative console is a browser-based interface used to administer applications, services, and other resources at a cell, node, server, or cluster scope. You can use the console with stand-alone servers and with deployment managers that manage all servers in a cell in a networked environment.

In each administrative console, you can find a set of areas which are arranged as portlets, so they can be resized as desired. The actual aspect of the Websphere Console depends on the profile you are running; for example a Deployment Manager profile will display a wider set of options for managing the federated nodes. Independently from the server profile, any WAS profile displays the following basic structure:

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Following here is some detail about the single Console areas:

1. Navigation Tree

The navigation tree on the left side of the administrative console offers links for you to view,

select and manage components. Clicking a “+” beside a tree folder or item expands the tree for the folder or item. Clicking a “-“ collapses the tree for the folder or item. The content displayed on the right side of the administrative console, the workspace, depends on the folder or item selected in the tree view.

2. Workspace

The workspace, on the right side of the administrative console, allows you to work with your administrative configuration after selecting an item from the administrative console navigation tree.

3. Messages

When you perform administrative actions, messages are shown at the top of the workspace to display the progress and results.  When configuration changes have been made, the message area will contain links that you can click to review or save the changes. (See recipe “Saving Configuration changes”)

4. Help Area

On the right side of the administrative console, the help portlet displays the Help area.  As you hover the mouse over a field, help text will be displayed for that field. Besides this, this page displays an equivalent Jython scripting command for the action you just performed.  

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Connecting to Websphere Console

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In order to manage WAS, the core instrument you need to learn about is the Websphere Integrated Console which is reachable by default on the following URL: http://localhost:9060/ibm/console

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If you made a host-file modification on our desktop machine, we would be able to use a hostname or FQDN to access the admin console from your workstation as, by default, the hostname on the server will not be known to a client machine (unless you use DNS)

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How to start Websphere Administration Server

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In order to verify your Websphere installation let’s start the application server. To start our application server, you need to use the startServer.sh command as follows:

${PROFILE_ROOT}/bin/startServer.sh server_name

For example in our WAS sample installation (C:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer):

C:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\bin>startServer.cmd server1

Once you run the script, you will see the following output:

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Websphere configuration files

As we have just learnt, the application server configuration files are stored in a directory tree starting at the config directory under your Profile Root.

At the top of the hierarchy is the cells directory, which contains a subdirectory for each cell. Each cell contains a cell.xml file, which provides configuration data for the cell and files (such as security.xml, virtualhosts.xml, resources.xml, and variables.xml) which provide configuration data that applies across every node in the cell. Below the cells directory you can find the following directory structure:

  • The clusters subdirectory, which holds a subdirectory for each cluster defined in the cell. Each cluster subdirectory holds a cluster.xml file, which provides configuration data specifically for that cluster.
  • The nodes subdirectory, which holds a subdirectory for each node in the cell. Each node contains a configuration file specific for that node named node.xml and also security.xml, resources.xml and variables.xml files, which provide configuration data that applies only to the node and overrides the configurations specified in the containing cell level.
  • The servers directory which always contains a server.xml file that provides configuration data specific to that server.
  • The applications subdirectory, which holds a subdirectory for each application deployed in the cell. Under the application subdirectory is a deployments directory that contains a deployment.xml file with contains the relevant information about the application deployment.

The following is an example configuration file tree structure:

 cells    cell1       cell.xml resources.xml virtualhosts.xml variables.xml security.xml       nodes          nodeX             node.xml variables.xml resources.xml serverindex.xml             servers               serverA                server.xml variables.xml             nodeAgent                server.xml variables.xml       applications          sampleApp1             deployment.xml             META-INF                application.xml ibm-application-ext.xml ibm-application-bnd.xml 

As an administrator, you should rarely ever have to edit these files, and if you do feel at some point that you need to, remember that you can seriously damage your WAS installation if you do not fully understand the effect of changes to these files.

In some scenarios, however, such as application server migration your starting point are usually the configuration files therefore it’s important to know where the configuration is actually persisted.

Most of the time you could be interested to keep an eye on the server.xml configuration file, which contain information about:

  • Services
  • Components
  • Process Definitions

 

 

As you can see from the above example, this file can be located in the following path:

${PROFILE_ROOT}/config/cells/${CELL}/nodes/${NODE}/servers/${SERVER}/server.xml

For example, in the profile we have earlier created it’s located at:

C:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01\config\cells\Node01Cell\nodes\Node01\servers\server1\server.xml

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Websphere file system

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Like other application servers, also Websphere ships with a file system which contains both the server configuration files and the binaries. Basically, the WAS Filesystem structure is split into two core sections:

  • WAS Product installation: containing folders used by different profiles
  • WAS Profiles: containing key folders which belong to a profile

 

The amount of directories contained in a WAS installation is quite large as the application server creates a bunch of folders for internal use. We will focus on the folders which are used across this book. If you need further information consult the IBM Infocenter at http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/wasinfo/v8r5/index.jsp

The application server installation will create the following structure under your WAS_ROOT:

  • bin: contains the core WAS binaries, tools and scripts used to administer the application server.
  • java: contains the IBM SDK which is used to run WAS.
  • logs: contains the WAS installation and configuration logs. Useful to debug installation  issues.
  • scriptLibraries: contains a large set of Jython scripts which can be used to manage WAS using the wsadmin scripting tool.
  • profiles: contains the list of profiles which are installed in WAS. Discussed in the next section.
  • profileTemplates: the XML files in this folder are used by Websphere to create new profiles. Depending on the type of WAS distribution you are using (WAS, WAS ND) you can find out different templates in this folder.
  • properties: contains product-level configuration stored as properties such as the list of installed profiles. You should not attempt to modify the files in this folder.
  • uninstall: contains the scripts used to uninstall the application server.

The following picture depicts the core WAS file system structure:

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Digging into the profiles file system

A profile contains the actual configuration of an application server. Within this folder you will find all the server profiles that you have created so far. The following list outlines which are the key folders used by a WAS profile:

  • bin: contains the script to administer the server profile. Most of the time these scripts recall the server-wide scripts contained in the WAS_ROOT/bin folder.
  • config: contains the server configuration which is stored as XML files. WAS ships with a large set of XML files which reflect the available server scopes (Cell/Node/Server). We will discuss more in detail about the server configuration in the next recipe.
  • installableApps: contains the default WAS applications which (depending on the type of installation used) can be installed or not. Contains the defaultApplication.ear example application.
  • installedApps: contains the deployed applications installed on WAS.
  • logs: contains the WAS runtime logs. This is a key folder for administration of the server and of the applications deployed on it.
  • properties: Websphere supports setting server specific properties which are persisted in this folder.
  • temp: contains runtime temporary files. You might find useful digging in this folder if you need to debug JSPs, as it contains the converted Java classes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Websphere configuration

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The entire Websphere configuration is saved and persisted within XML files. These XML configuration files are arranged in a cascading hierarchy of directories which reflects the internal structure of the application server so, for example, the WAS top element, the Cell, reflects in the cell.xml file, which provides configuration data for the Cell. On the other hand, the server.xml file provides configuration for a server component.

Although you will rarely need to modify manually the XML configuration files, by looking at their structure you to understand which are the key components of the WAS infrastructure. The first recipe of this chapter covers these details. In the next recipes we will learn how to get started with the core Management tool which is the Web based Admin console.

Websphere core components

WAS is structured internally in a set of different components which allow a flexible definition of your configuration. The component that has the widest scope is the Cell.

A Cell is a grouping of nodes into a single administrative domain. A Cell contains a Deployment Manager and one or moreNodes.

In WebSphere terms, this means that if you group several Servers within a Cell, then you can use one admin console to administer them.

The Deployment Manager is a service that manages all Nodes in the cell.

The Deployment Manager is responsible for managing the installation and maintenance of Applications, Connection Pools and other resources related to a JEE environment. It is also responsible for centralizing user repositories for application and also for WebSphere authentication and authorization. You can manage all these resources from the Websphere Admin Console.

The Node is another virtual unit that is built of a Node Agent and one or more Server instances.

The Node Agent is a service that is used to communicate with the Deployment Manager.

The Node Agent is responsible for spawning and killing server processes and as well for configuration synchronization between the Deployment Manager and the Servers.

The last piece of the WAS configuration is the Server.

Servers are regular Java process responsible for serving JEE requests. The server name corresponds to the actual name of the application server JVM’s.

And to finish, Clusters are also virtual units that groups Servers so that resources added to the Cluster are propagated to every Server that makes up the cluster. The following picture depicts the Websphere core components giving an overview of the concepts exposed so far:

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Websphere silent profile creation

Just like for the WAS installation, you can perform a silent creation of your server profiles. This needs a dedicated script which is located under the WAS_ROOT/bin folder and it is named manageprofile.sh (manageprofile.bat for Windows).

The silent profile creation does not require any response file; you just need passing all the profile parameters as in the following example:

For Linux:

./manageprofiles.sh -create -profileName appsrv01 -profilePath   <was_root>/profiles/appsrv01 -templatePath                      <was_root>/profileTemplates/default -cellName appsrv01node01     -hostName node01.waslocal.com -nodeName node01

For Windows:

manageprofiles.bat -create -profileName appsrv01 -profilePath   <was_root>\profiles\appsrv01 -templatePath                       <was_root>\profileTemplates\default -cellName appsrv01node01   -hostName node01.waslocal.com -nodeName node01

The expected outcome of it will be:

INSTCONFSUCCESS: Success: Profile appsrv01 now exists. Please consult /var/apps/was8/profiles/appsrv01/logs/AboutThisProfile.txt for more information about this profile.

Please check the –help parameter of the manageprofiles shell in order to see all the available options for this command. 

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Websphere silent installation

As you learnt, the Websphere installation took quite a while to complete. If you need to perform this task across a large set of machine it can require a significant part of the project budget!

In order to save lots of time, you can perform the “silent installation” which records all installation steps in a special file called response file.

Using response files ensures that each new WAS is installed exactly the same each time. This is critical for production environments to ensure each server is configured the same way.

Step 1: Start recording your Websphere installation

In order to start recording the response file, move to the location where the IIM was installed and enter the eclipse subfolder:

cd eclipse

 Then, launch the following command (Linux):

./IBMIM -record /var/tmp/was_8.5_install.xml -skipInstall /var/tmp/was8.5

 The equivalent for Windows:

IBMIM -record c:\temp\was8.5_install.xml -skipInstall c:\temp\was8.5

The first parameter (was_8.5_install.xml) passed to the IBMIM executable is the XML file where the silent installation is recorded. The –skipInstall parameter is used to record the installation commands without actually installing the IBM product. It requires an additional parameter (in our case “c:\temp\was8.5” which is the folder where you want IIM to store the recorded installation data)

Step 2: Installing WAS using the response file

Once that you have prepared your response file, you can effectively use it to install WAS. The outcome of the silent installation will be an exact new copy of the application server, although you can customize some IIM settings, like the JVM settings to use, as we will see in a minute. Once again, move into the eclipse subfolder of your IIM installation and issue the following commands:

For Linux:

./IBMIM --launcher.ini silent-install.ini -input /var/tmp/was8_5_install.xml -log /var/tmp/was8.5/silent_install_log.xml

For Windows:

IBMIMc.exe --launcher.ini silent-install.ini -input c:\ temp\was8_5_install.xml l -log c:\temp\was8.5\silent_install_log.xml

The parameter –launcher.ini can be used to pass a preferences init file. Typically you would add JVM settings for your installations in this file.

Next, you need to pass using the -input parameter the response file just created. Finally, the installation process will record logs into the folder specified by –log.

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Creating a Websphere Server Profile

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Once completed the IBM Websphere installation process, you will be prompted to install a server profile. A Websphere server profile basically corresponds to an application server configuration.

By using a server profile you are able to keep the WAS base binaries separated from the WAS configuration. Therefore you are allowed to create several custom server configurations without affecting the base WAS binaries.

In the WAS standard installation, there are basically two kinds of profiles which can be selected:

Profile

Description

Application server

Corresponds to a standalone application server configuration. Each standalone application server can optionally have its own administrative console which you can use to manage the application server.

Management

A Management profile defines an administrative agent, which provides a single interface (administrative console) to administer multiple application servers.  This profile is covered in the clustering chapter.

A new profile can be created by launching the pmt.sh/pmt.bat shell command. Example (Linux):

WAS_ROOT/bin/ProfileManagement/pmt.sh

 We will detail in the following picture all the guided steps for creating an Application server Profile which uses a typical configuration:

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The above diagram reflects a Typical profile creation which uses the default configuration settings and assigns unique names to the profile, node and host as well as default server ports.

If you need to assign custom settings to your profile, then you can enter the Advanced profile creation which allows customizing all single elements which are part of the profile creation.

The profile creation tool will automatically suggest the Hostname from the OS hosts file and can be changed using the Advanced Profile creation or at a later time using the Administration console. You can use a hostname, IP address, or Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN). If you decide to change the hostname in the wizard, ensure that the change is reflected in your host file or DNS as required.

Example (linux) /etc/hosts file

127.0.0.1               node01.was.localhost

 The default profile creation will install for you IBM WAS as a start-up service on your machine, so you can easily manage your application server from your operating system service panel:

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On the other hand, if you are running Linux/Unix environment, the wizard will generate an automatic start/stop script in the init.d directories as required by the Linux run levels.

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Installing Websphere

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The installation of Websphere is essentially broken into two steps:

  • Installation of binaries: the binaries include the executable files and shell scripts which are part of the distribution.
  • Profile Creation: a profile corresponds to an application server configuration: as a matter of fact you can have several profiles for every installation each one corresponding to a different server configuration.

Downloading WAS

In this book we will use the official WAS track, although you can perform the same steps for the WAS for developers. In order to install WAS you need to download first the Installation Manager which is an IBM technology used to install many IBM products, including WAS. Download the Installation Manager from http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/downloads/ws/was/

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When you click the Download button, you will be prompted to enter your IBM ID and, after that, you can choose to download the IBM Installation Manager (IIM) for your specific OS. Once downloaded the IIM, uncompress it using a tool available on your OS.

Installing WAS

Installing WAS is a two-step procedure which requires running at first the IBM Installation Manager (IIM) software, which will then guide you through the application server installation.

It is also possible to install WAS using automated silent installation that can be run silently using a special file called response file where we can preset installation settings so that it is not required any user input. Check the section “How to perform WAS silent installation”.

Running the IBM Installation Manager (IIM)

In order to execute the IIM, move to the folder where you have uncompressed it and run it using the following command (on Windows launch “install.exe”):

./install

The installation of the IIM is a wizard guided procedure which just requires accepting the license agreement, specifying the IIM installation directory and reviewing the packages you are going to install. The following diagram summarizes these simple steps:

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Installing the IIM will take some time; once completed move to the next step.

Installing Websphere Application Server

Once that you have installed the IIM, move to the installation directory and issue the following command (On Windows execute IBMIM.exe):

<iim_root>/IBMIM

The following screen will be displayed:

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Choose to Install software packages. In order to install WAS you need to provide your IBM username and password (IBM ID). Once you have entered your IBM ID username and password click OK.

By default the wizard fetches data from the IBM repository. If you are not able to contact the IBM repository then you need to add a repository location by clicking on the Add Repository button. In the Add a repository pop-up dialog, type the following URL in the Repository field: http://www.ibm.com/software/repositorymanager/V8WASDeveloperILAN.

At this point the WAS installation will start, guided again by an intuitive wizard. The only inputs expected from the wizard are the Shared Resource directory which is the folder where multiple WAS installation can share data and the WAS installation directory, often referred to as WAS_ROOT in the rest of the book:

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By default, the wizard will select to install the Websphere Full Profile which provides large-scale admin capabilities and full Java EE 6 support. On the other hand you might consider trying the Liberty profile that is included in all the commercial editions of the server, providing a lightweight profile of the server for web, mobile and OSGi applications. It is a functional subset of the full WAS profile with an install size of under 50 MB, a startup time of around 3 seconds and a new XML-based server configuration which can be treated as a development artifact to aid developer productivity.  The Liberty profile does not include all the features contained in the full profile (such as JMS) therefore we will focus on the Websphere Full profile on this book.

At the end of the server installation you will be prompted to start the Profile Management Tool. You can either check the “Profile management Tool to create a profile” option or just move to the next section, where the Profile Management Tool is started from a shell.