Preconfiguring WebSphere for cluster support

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Preconfiguring WebSphere for cluster support

This section describes the steps and guidelines for cluster configuration in WebSphere.

These steps are required to carry out the configuration in WebSphere to work with Bizagi in a cluster.

For more information about the entire procedure for this, refer to Clustered WebSphere configuration.

 

 

webSphere

 

Objectives

Configuration of a WebSphere cluster for high availability involves certain preconfiguration steps (before actually setting up configuration for Bizagi processes) to have a central management of nodes involved in a cluster.

In this central management, the following capabilities are considered:

 

1. Each node will be able to be assigned with, and to process requests.

2. Each node will be able to report changes so that these are propagated through the other nodes.

3. In the event of any node's service becoming unavailable, requests will be handled and re-distributed properly amongst other nodes.

 

Prerequisites

To configure your WebSphere Application Server in a Test or Production environment, the following are required:

Installed JAVA SE's JDK in each node that makes part of the cluster. It is strongly recommended to use JDK 7.

JAVA_HOME environment variable properly configured in each node of the cluster (it is recommended that this path definition does not contain spaces).

Have at hand the configuration and deployment files delivered by Bizagi (BizAgi-ear-Websphere-dist.zip).

It is required that this BizAgi-ear-Websphere-dist.zip (provided when downloading Bizagi Engine JEE WebSphere) matches the version you used in your development environment (i.e Bizagi Studio's version and JEE Plugin).

Installed WebSphere Server v 8.5.5 in each node of the cluster.

The supported version of WebSphere is 8.5.5, which includes up to the 8.5.53 update (recommended).

Similarly, an installed WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment (WASND) which supports and matches the WebSphere server version v 8.5.5.

WebSphere Server can be downloaded and requested from the official IBM webpage.

Make sure that you select the appropriate installer for your system, that your system meets the requirements recommended by WebSphere, and that you follow the guidelines in the section about Requisites to use WebSphere and WASND.

 

 

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Nodes having WebSphere instances may be located in a same server or in separate ones.

Bizagi supports WebSphere cluster configuration both as a horizontal or vertical cluster, however it is recommended having a horizontal cluster so that a dedicated server is involved for each WebSphere node.

 

 

Requisites to use WebSphere and WASND

To install WebSphere according to prerequisites, make sure you consider installing the usual set of files and products featured by WebSphere to manage your WebSphere server as recommended.

The set of files and products include installing: Installation Manager, WebSphere Network Deployment, and necessary WebSphere  Fixpacks (in this case, Fixpacks for version v 8.5.5).

 

WebSphere will then require the following for a clustered configuration:

Ensuring that you install WebSphere components in all nodes.

More information on this, is described in the Installation guidelines chapter.

 

Creating the profiles involved in the cluster administration through WASND.

More information on this, is described in the Profiles creation chapter.

 

Registering your nodes as part of your cluster, and making sure you synchronize changes in them.

More information on this, is described in the Registration of the cluster chapter.

 

Installation guidelines

When installing Installation Manager consider:

Choosing an installation directory that does not contain blank spaces.

Having already uncompressed media files of the WebSphere Network Deployment and WebSphere Fixpacks, each into a separate and predefined directory that does not contain blank spaces.

 

WebSphere85_02prereq

 

Setting two repositories for the Installation Manager, by defining the paths from which files will be taken for the product's use.

The 2 added repositories should refer to the predefined directories where WebSphere Network Deployment and WebSphere Fixpacks were extracted.

 

Installing the WebSphere Application Server through the Installation Manager.

When doing so, follow the same recommendation mentioned above, of choosing an installation directory that does not contain blank spaces.

Choose a directory to install packages of shared components, that does not contain blank spaces as well.

 

 

WebSphere85_01prereq_cl

 

This installation path will be referenced as your <WAS_HOME> from this point on.

Note you may start the Profile Management Tool after having installed then WebSphere Application Server.

 

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Keep in mind that installing WebSphere and its components is required for each node you want to have in your cluster.

This means repeating the above steps in each node.

 

 

Profiles creation

When using WASND, note that you will need to create 2 types of profiles to configure the nodes in your cluster: one profile is required for the configuration and central administration, and the other one is to be created for each of the nodes making part of the cluster.

 

These profiles are:

Deployment Manager (DM): The main profile used to configure and manage the cluster (for actions carried out through the administration console, which includes application deployments).

Custom: An execution profile which contains the definition of the server instance.

It is required for each of the nodes making part of the cluster, in order to allow each node to be federated to the Deployment Manager (to take the central configuration when propagating changes).

 

To create these profiles, use the Profile Management Tool included as a tool in the WASND installation.

 

WASND_update00

 

Creating the DM profile

To create this profile, carry out these steps:

 

Click on Create.

A wizard will guide you to completing the characteristics of this new profile.

Select Management for the Environment selection and click Next:

 

WebSphere85_prof01_cluster

 

Select the Deployment Manager option as the Server type, and click Next:

 

WebSphere85_prof02_cluster

 

Select the Advanced profile creation option to specify advanced options.

Click Next:

 

WebSphere85_prof03_cluster

 

In the next screen you will require to make sure that the Deploy the administrative console  checkbox is ticked.

Click Next.

 

Define the profile's characteristics.

That is, input a name for it (Profile name), the path in which it will be installed (Profile directory), and ensure that it will not be used as a default profile (make sure Make this profile the default is not ticked).

 

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof04_cluster

 

Tick the Enable administrative security checkbox.

You will need to define the credentials (administration user and password) for the administration console access.

 

Note that you will need these credentials later on, for the cluster setup and node federation configuration when creating the Custom type profiles.

Once you have entered the user credentials, click Next:

 

WebSphere85_prof05_cluster

 

For the following 2 steps, optionally configure certificates for infrastructure enhanced security possibilities.

You may choose to skip these 2 configuration screens and click Next.

 

Assign ports to the listed services (in the Port values assignment configuration).

In the ports assigned, acknowledge which one is assigned to the Administrative console secure port. This port will be used later on in deployment and distribution tasks.

 

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof06_cluster

 

Do NOT configure your server to execute as a service.

Note that this option is not recommended for a Production environment and it will most likely suggest a Windows service install approach on Windows OS. Click Next.

 

Finally, you will see the configuration summary which presents the profile's characteristics before creation.

Verify that these are as expected and click Create.

 

WebSphere85_prof07_cluster

 

Notice you will also see the Host name in the summary, and this information is important later on for the creation of custom profiles.

 

Once the wizard is finished, you will need to start up the profile.

To do this, open a command prompt and locate the recently created profile's path:

<WAS_HOME>\AppServer\profiles\[Profile]\bin

 

Once in the bin directory of the profile, use startManager (startManager.sh for a Unix-like OS such as Linux, or startManager.bat for a Windows OS):
 

WASND_1profile07

 

 

Creating the Custom profile

Keep in mind that the steps to create the custom profile are needed for each of the nodes which makes part of the cluster.

 

To create this type of profile, carry out the following:

 

Click on Create.

A wizard will guide you to completing the characteristics of this new profile.

Select Custom profile for the Environment selection and click Next:

 

WebSphere85_prof08_cluster

 

Select the Advanced profile creation option to specify advanced options.

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof03_cluster

 

Define the profile's characteristics.

That is, input a name for it (Profile name), the path in which it will be installed (Profile directory), and ensure that it will not be used as a default profile (make sure Make this profile the default is not ticked).

 

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof09_cluster

 

Enter the information regarding the clustered WebSphere environment: Node name, Host name (of the cluster it belongs, as configured in the previous step on the DM profile creation).

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof10_cluster

 

 

Enter the detail to configure node federation (so that we register that this WebSphere node belongs to a cluster and it should synchronize to it for central configuration). To do this consider:

oDeployment Manager host name or IP address: Refer to the server where the DM profile was configured, as referred to in the previous section (Creating the DM profile).

oDeployment Manager SOAP port number: The port number under which the node federation will execute.

oDeployment Manager authentication: The user credentials (user and password) to authenticate against the DM profile; just as it was specified as well in the previous section, when enabling administrative security.

oFederate this node later: Make sure you do not tick this option. It is best to carry out node federation later on manually. Keep in mind that node federation will require having the DM profile running.

 

Click Next.

 

WebSphere85_prof11_cluster

 

 

For the following 2 steps, optionally configure certificates for infrastructure enhanced security possibilities.

You may choose to skip these 2 configuration screens and click Next.

 

Similarly, when assigning ports, you may leave the defaults and click Next until you reach the summary window.

Verify that it presents the profile's characteristics accordingly before creating it. Click Create to finish.

 

 

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Keep in mind that the aforementioned steps involved in the Creation of the Custom profile are required for each node of the cluster. When going over these steps for other nodes, ensure that profile names are unique (not repeated).

 

 

Once the wizard is finished, you will need to start each node and its profile.

To do this, open a command prompt and locate the recently created profile's path:

<WAS_HOME>\profiles\[Node_name]\bin

 

Once in the bin directory of the profile, use startNode to start it (startNode.sh for a Unix-like OS such as Linux, or startNode.bat for a Windows OS):

 
 

WASND_2profile05

 

 

Profiles verification

You may verify that these profiles were properly configured and that node federation is operational.

To do this, access to the following URL in a browser of your choice:

http://[DM_Server]:[DM_Port]/admin

 

Consider:

[DM_Server]: Name or IP address of the node having the DM profile.

[DM_Port]: Port number under which the node having the DM profile starts up.

 

Within the System administration section, click on Node agents to see the list of nodes which are part of the cluster:

 

WebSphere85_prof00_cluster

 

 

Registering the cluster

When setting up WebSphere in a cluster, note that certain modules (such as the one using JMS resources or Data sources) are defined at the cluster level so that its relevant configuration is propagated and shared among all nodes.

To define and register your cluster in WebSphere, carry out the following:

 

1. Access the administration console and click on Servers.

Within this section, expand the Clusters item and then click WebSphere application server clusters.

 

WebSphere85_regcluster01

 

2. Click New to specify your cluster's details.

Under its basic information, enter the Cluster name and verify that both of the following checkboxes are ticked: Prefer local and Configure HTTP session memory-to-memory replication.

 

WebSphere85_regcluster02

 

Click Next.

 

3. Enter detail regarding your Applications server. Consider:

Member name: Enter the name of the Application server.

Select node: Select the node which belongs to this service.

Weight: You may leave the default value.

Generate unique HTTP ports: Make sure this checkbox is ticked.

Create the member using the application server template: Keep the assigned value: default.

 

WebSphere85_regcluster03

 

Click Next.

 

4. Specify which nodes are part of your cluster.

To do this, click Add Member  to register your nodes:

 

WASND_cluster03

 

Repeat this step until you have added all your nodes. These should be listed as members of the cluster.

Notice that your nodes should all have a unique name, but they should keep the same values for preferences such as: Weight and Generate unique HTTP ports.

Click Next.

 

Verify that the summary presents the configuration accordingly before finishing.

Finally, click Create to register the cluster.

 

 

Synchronizing changes in the cluster

Once you have finished configuring your cluster in WebSphere, or anytime right after major changes are done in it (for instance, recently adding a new node to the cluster), you will need to synchronize these changes.

This is done from the central configuration as a propagation to the nodes by accessing the System administration and clicking on Nodes.

 

Within this option, you will see a list of the current nodes making part of your cluster and you may tick the nodes to synchronize them:

 

WASND_cluster_synch

 

Notice that once the synchronization has finished, you will see the Status column updated with a green icon.

 

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If the status icon of a node appears as an interrogation mark, you will need to double-check that the node's service is both started up and accessible in order to synchronization to take place.

 

Once you are done with these steps, continue to Configuring WebSphere in a cluster to work with Bizagi.

 

 

Scalability

If you have already setup your WebSphere cluster and it is up and running with a given number of nodes, then you may at anytime add new nodes to your cluster as a scalability measure.

 

To do so, make sure you:

 

1. Register the new node in the cluster.

In WebSphere, this includes creating a custom profile for the node and registering the cluster through the administration console options.

 

2. Synchronize changes to include the new node.

 

3. Perform WebSphere configuration to work with Bizagi.

This means setting up the new node with all the libraries and configuration needed for a WebSphere instance to host a Bizagi Work portal. Afterward, ensure you also perform a Bizagi application deployment.

Note that Bizagi recommends setting up horizontal clustering.

 

4. Review the load balancer configuration so that it considers the new node.