Deploying a BPM pattern on IBM PureApplication System

In this article, you'll learn how to use IBM® PureApplication System to deploy clustered IBM Business Process Manager V8 Advanced environments using BPM patterns with all the functionality and security features. You can connect this BPM cloud environment to other existing on-premise software components. This content is part of the IBM Business Process Management Journal.

Ashok Iyengar (ashoki@us.ibm.com), Executive IT Specialist, IBM WebSphere Enablement Team

Ashok Iyengar photoAshok Iyengar is a member of IBM for Software Services for WebSphere (ISSW). He has worked extensively with the IBM Business Process Management platform doing proof of concepts, pilots, and architecture design. Currently his focus is on the cloud, specializing in Platform as a Service (PaaS). He helps customers deploy patterns on IBM PureApplication Systems and IBM SmartCloud.


developerWorks Contributing author
        level

Rama Turaga (ramat@us.ibm.com), Certified IT Specialist, IBM

Rama Turaga photoRama Turaga is an IBM Certified Consulting IT Specialist and a member of the IBM for Software Services for WebSphere Enablement team. Rama has been helping customers in implementing full life cycle J2EE/SOA/BPM/BAM and IBM Pure Application System based projects using WebSphere middleware products. Rama has specialized at many Fortune 500 companies in planning, architecting, automating, implementing and testing highly available and scalable environments using WebSphere product line.



Venkata (Vishy) Gadepalli (vgadepal@us.ibm.com), Senior Management Consultant, IBM

Venkata V. (Vishy) Gadepalli photoVenkata Gadepalli (Vishy) is a member of the IBM for Software Services for WebSphere (ISSW) Pre-Sales / PoC team, which works closely with technical sales. He has more than 14 years of experience in the IT field and has been involved in customer engagements involving the WebSphere family of products. His main area of interest is working with first-of-a-kind engagements involving IBM PureApplication System. Vishy has authored numerous papers, which have been published both internally within IBM and outside of IBM. Vishy also co-authored the first and second editions of the WebSphere Portal Primer.



12 December 2012

Also available in Chinese

Overview

This article introduces you to IBM Business Process Manager V8 on IBM PureApplication System. It assumes you're familiar with IBM Business Process Manager (IBM BPM) and aware of IBM PureApplication System.

You'll learn how to use graphical wizards to deploy the BPM pattern and create different kinds of environments on PureApplication System. Once deployed, you can create the instances you want in a matter of hours. Then developers can access and use the BPM environment as usual, including downloading and working with the Process Designer and the Integration Designer. Similarly, using Integration Designer you can synchronize and deploy to the Process Center in the cloud or choose to export the application files and install them on an offline Process Server.

The article covers how to:

  • Deploy the BPM Advanced V8 cloud pattern
  • Create different types of BPM topologies
  • Work with the BPM tools in the cloud

Note: As of this writing, IBM PureApplication System only supports IBM Business Process Management V8 Advanced on 64-bit RHEL.


PureApplication System basics

IBM PureApplication System provides a way to virtualize, dispense, optimize and monitor software applications in the cloud. PureApplication System ships as an integrated system, preloaded with virtual images and patterns that can be used as-is or as a template for your own custom virtual images and patterns. In the realm of Platform as a Service(PaaS), PureApplication System also takes over the responsibility of placement and management of your middleware environments such as WebSphere® Application Server or IBM Business Process Manager (IBM BPM) in the cloud.

In this article, you'll learn how to load the IBM BPM hypervisor image into PureApplication System, commonly referred to as the rack, and work with the pre-built patterns.

A pattern in this context is a logical description of both the physical and virtual assets that comprise a particular solution. PureApplication System has both virtual application patterns and virtual system patterns, commonly referred to as vApp and vSys patterns respectively.

  • VSys patterns provide the most flexibility and customization options of the two types. A vSys pattern consists of an operating system and, potentially, additional IBM software solutions, such as WebSphere Application Server or IBM BPM.
  • VApp patterns are highly optimized and are constructed solely for the purpose of supporting a singular workload. The features and functions of the integrated software are limited to only those that are required. This pattern requires the least amount of customization during deployment and it provides the most direct method for obtaining a rapid return on investment

Refer to the developerWorks article Manage the topology with virtual system patterns for more information on vSys and vApp patterns. For a description of the different types of patterns supported by PureApplication System and how to decide which pattern to use refer to the developerWorks article Preparing for IBM PureApplication System, Part 2: Is your application ready to become virtual?.

Currently the only type of pattern supported by IBM BPM is the VSys pattern, so we'll focus on that pattern.

PureApplication System has a single graphical user interface containing two consoles: the system console and workload console, as shown in Figure 1. The system administrators will typically use the system console to configure cloud groups and IP groups, and use the workload console to load and deploy patterns.

Figure 1. PureApplication System user interface showing the workload and system consoles
PureApplication System user interface showing the workload and system consoles

You can check the PureApplication system catalog in the workload console to see if the rack is pre-loaded with the BPM image, by selecting Workload Console => Catalog => Virtual Images. If you don't find the Business Process Manager Advanced image, it's quite simple to install it. You will need access to the corresponding OVA (Open Virtual Application) image file. After it is installed, you can use the patterns that are available in the image. One of the major benefits of patterns is that you can create your own patterns using a supplied pattern as a template, or even create a brand new pattern from scratch. k

Following are the generic steps to install a cloud image:

  1. In the PureApplication System console, go to the Welcome tab and select Download command line tool.
  2. After downloading the tool, unzip the executable to a folder, preferably C:\IBM\Deployer.
  3. Add the deployer path to the system path environment variable.
  4. Install the executable on the system where you have the image file using the command line interface (CLI) by entering the following command:
    installer –h ipas-host –u user –p password

Note: The IBM BPM image (.tgz) file does not require you to download the CLI tool. It provides a installer command which installs the image on the PureApplication Systems rack. Even if the BPM provided tool is out of date, the installer downloads the latest version of the CLI tool before actually installing the image.

  1. After the virtual image is uploaded, make sure it shows up in the cloud catalog. From the workload console, select Catalog => Virtual Images. You should see an entry for IBM Business Process Manager Advanced 8.0.0.0 RHEL 6 x64, as shown in Figure 2.
    Figure 2. IBM BPM virtual image loaded into PureApplication System
    IBM BPM virtual image loaded into PureApplication System

    (See a larger version of Figure 2.)

  2. Notice the little red x next to the name of the image in the left pane. This indicates that the image is not activated. You need to accept the license to activate the image. To do this, highlight the image and click accept on the canvas.
  3. One or more software components is listed. Click each one and accept the license. This changes the icon to a green check mark, as shown in Figure 3.
    Figure 3. Accept licenses of virtual image software components
    Accept licenses of virtual image software components
  4. After accepting all the licenses, click OK.

Overview of the BPM patterns

After activating the licenses in the virtual image, you're ready to deploy the IBM BPM pattern. First, let's take a look at the available patterns.

In the workload console, under Patterns, select Virtual Systems. You'll see three new patterns listed with the version suffix, as shown in Figure 4: BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern, BPM Advanced Clustered Process Center Pattern, BPM Advanced Clustered Process Server Pattern.

Figure 4. BPM virtual system patterns
BPM virtual system patterns

If you highlight the BPM Advanced Clustered pattern, the details of that pattern are displayed in the canvas. Note that the value of the field In the cloud now is none. That's because you have not yet deployed the pattern. One of the nice features is the depiction of the topology of the pattern, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. BPM Advanced Clustered pattern topology in PureApplication System
BPM Advanced Clustered pattern topology in PureApplication System

Notice that there are three virtual system patterns that are supported by the BPM image.

  • The BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern contains a Process Center and a Process Server environment, both with their respective databases. These are fully clustered production-ready topologies complete with Deployment Manager and fronted by a web server. The database is DB2® and the web server is IBM HTTP Server.
  • The Process Center Pattern serves as a shared repository for a team. It contains a playback server that is heavily used during development of business process applications. It contains remote messaging and remote support environments spread over multiple virtual machines.
  • The Process Server Pattern serves as the runtime environment. It is a fully clustered pattern used to run business process applications during testing, staging and production. It also contains remote messaging and remote support environments spread over multiple virtual machines, and the Process Server pattern can run in both online and offline modes.

Deploying the BPM pattern

The next step is to deploy the pattern. To do this, highlight the BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern and select Deploy in the cloud from the menu on top of the canvas.

Provide a unique virtual system name, choose the environment or cloud group, and then configure the various components or parts as they are called.

There are four virtual parts in the BPM Process Center and Process Server patterns: the custom nodes, the database, the web server and the deployment manager, as shown in Figure 6. The BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern, on the other hand, has eight virtual parts. When you deploy a pattern, you have will have to choose some configuration parameters.

Figure 6. Virtual parts in the BPM pattern
Virtual parts in the BPM pattern

When naming the virtual system, choose a name that makes it easy to identify the pattern and the environment. When choosing the environment, you have the option of selecting the IP version and the cloud group. And in most cases, deployment is always scheduled for immediate unless there is another deployment already going on. Finally, you have to configure the virtual parts. Table 1 shows the parts related to the three BPM patterns.

Table 1. Virtual parts in BPM patterns
Virtual parts BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern BPM Advanced Clustered Process Center Pattern BPM Advanced Clustered Process Server Pattern
Process Center database
IBM HTTP server for process center
Process center deployment manager
Process center custom nodes
IBM HTTP server for process server
Process server database
Process server deployment manager
Process server custom nodes

The difference between the parts of a Process Center pattern and a Process Server pattern is not only their prefixes, but also their properties. There are more properties in a Process Server part.

Each part has certain common properties that need to be configured, such as virtual CPUs and memory size. For starters we recommend going with the default number of CPUs of 1 and memory size of 2048MB. If necessary, you can increase these later.

Figure 7 shows the properties for the Process Center deployment manager part. The key field is the BPM administrative password.

Figure 7. Properties of the Process Center deployment manager part in the BPM pattern
Properties of the Process Center deployment manager part in the BPM pattern

Similarly, you will have to enter the properties for the Process Server deployment manager part, as shown in Figure 8. You get to choose the environment type and enter the BPM administrative password. The key field is whether you want to connect to the Process Center or not. If you choose to connect to it, remember to specify the correct Process Center URL, user name and password.

Create an Offline Process Server

If you choose not to connect to the Process Center, you'll need to create an Offline Process Server instance. To do this, set the Connect to process center to false. Offline Process Servers are typically configured for production environments.

Tip: When creating an Offline Process Server, we recommend inserting offline in the name of the part for easier identification, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 8. Properties of the Process Server deployment manager part in the BPM pattern
Properties of the Process Server deployment manager part in the BPM pattern

After you deploy the instance, you can highlight it and see the details. For example, you'll see that the fully deployed BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern, which is actually the BPM Advanced Golden Topology, indeed uses ten virtual machines (VMs), as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Number of VMs in BPM V8 Advanced Pattern
Web server Database Deployment Manager Custom nodes Total
Process Center 1 1 1 2 5
Process Server 1 1 1 2 5
10

Figure 9 shows the total number of VMs. Among other things, it also shows the current status. The arrow in the green box indicates a successful deployment. If there was a problem during deployment, a red circle would be displayed along with an error message. Also note the History option. You can click this to see the entire deployment history. System administrators can use this function to determine how much time it took to deploy and the resources being consumed.

Figure 9. Details about the deployed and started instance
Details about the deployed and started instance

Working with the BPM pattern instance

Now that the BPM pattern instance deployed and active, it's business as usual. You can download the Process Designer to your local Windows® machine and use it. Or you can open IBM Integration Designer and connect to the Process Center in the cloud. You can open the Integrated Services Console and peek into all the software components that were configured – deployment environment, WebSphere Application Server clusters, application servers, nodes, service integration buses, messaging engines, and the data sources.

In the following sections, we describe how to access these applications. Our recommendation is to bookmark all the URLs. Remember you can either use IP addresses or the fully-qualified host names. You may have to add the fully-qualified host names to your local hosts file depending on how your PureApplication System rack is configured.

Integrated Solutions Console

Commonly known as the WebSphere administrative console, you can find the link to it in the deployment manager VM. If you highlight the BPM Pattern instance (Workload Console => Instances => Virtual Systems) and look at the details, you will find a VM entitled:
<Cloud_Group_Name>-BPM PC DMGR-<Instance Name>

Click the plus (+) sign in the canvas to expand the details page and scroll down. You'll find the link to the WebSphere administrative console in the Consoles section as WebSphere, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Details about Deployment Manager VM
Figure 11. Details about Deployment Manager VM

(See a larger version of Figure 10.)

BPM consoles

The IBM HTTP Server (IHS) is configured as the proxy server in the BPM Pattern. That means all HTTP traffic flows through port 80. If you highlight the BPM Pattern instance (Workload Console => Instances => Virtual Systems) and look at the details, you will find a VM entitled:
<Cloud_Group>-BPM PC IHS-<Instance Name>

Click the plus (+) sign in the canvas to expand it and scroll down. You'll find links to the six BPM consoles in the Consoles section, as shown in Figure 11.

Tip: In the details of the VM, the fully-qualified host name and IP address are listed in the Network interface field. Make a note of these. You can get to the consoles directly using the URLs rather than having to bring up the details page every time.

Figure 11. Details about the Web Server VM
Details about the Web Server VM

(See a larger version of Figure 11.)


Conclusion

In this article, you learned how to deploy a BPM pattern using the BPM Advanced Clustered Pattern as an example. In reality, you will have to decide which BPM Pattern to deploy based on your environment (development, test, or production) you want to set up. If there is one thing that stands out with the BPM Advanced Pattern in the cloud, it's deployment time. The time to configure and deploy a fully clustered environment has been reduced to a matter of hours. What is phenomenal is the fact, that you can delete an instance and create a new one at any time. BPM cloud administrators can clone or extend an existing topology. That is true even of offline production servers.


Acknowledgment

The author would like to thank Ryan Claussen for his review of this article.

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