Deploying an IBM Operational Decision Manager cloud pattern on IBM PureApplication System

In this article, you'll learn how to use IBM® PureApplication System to deploy a clustered IBM Operational Decision Manager V8 environment in a matter of hours, using ODM patterns complete with all the functionality and security features of ODM. You can then connect this ODM cloud environment to other existing on-premise software components.


Ashok Iyengar (, Executive IT Specialist, IBM

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

20 March 2013

Also available in Chinese


This article introduces you to IBM Operational Decision Manager V8 on IBM PureApplication System. In it, you'll learn how to use graphical wizards to deploy ODM patterns 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 ODM environment as usual, including using related tools like the Rule Execution Server console, Decision Center, and the Event Administration console. You can even integrate with IBM Business Process Manager (BPM) in the cloud.

The article covers how to:

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

Note: As of this writing, IBM PureApplication System supports IBM Operational Decision Manager V8 only on 64-bit Red Hat Linux®.

PureApplication System basics

The following is provided for the benefit for those who have not read the related article Deploying a BPM pattern on IBM PureApplication System.

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 ODM 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 ODM.
  • 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 ODM is the virtual system 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 other system related activities. Administrators and other users will mostly use the Workload Console to work with patterns.

Figure 1. PureApplication System Workload Console
PureApplication Systems Console

You can check the PureApplication system catalog in the Workload Console to see if the rack is pre-loaded with the ODM image, by selecting Workload Console => Catalog => Virtual Images. If you don't find the ODM 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.

Following are the high-level 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 ahve the image file using the command line interface (CLI). Figure 2 shows the ODM Pattern folder. Notice that there are two CLI folders: deployer.cli and pure.cli, as well as installer commands for Windows and Unix operating systems. The installer command has a platform type (-t) option that allows you to specify either the PureApplication System or IBM Workload Deployer (IWD). The default setting for platform type is PureApplication System.

    For example, to install the ODM image on IBM Workload Deployer, the command syntax would be:

    installer –h <ipas-host> –u <user> –p <password> -t IWD

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

    Figure 2. ODM pattern folder
    ODM pattern folder

    In Figure 2, note the use of IP address instead of the fully-qualified host name. Often, IP addresses seem to work better when using the installer command.

    The ODM image takes some time to upload. When done, you should see the success messages shown in Figure 3.

    Figure 3. Successful completion of the installation command
    Successful completion of the installation command
  5. 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 WebSphere Operational Decision Management RHEL 6 x64, as shown in Figure 4.
    Figure 4. ODM virtual image listed in PureApplication System image catalog
    ODM virtual image listed in PureApplication System image catalog
  6. When the pattern is first deployed, there is a 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, you would need to highlight the image and click accept on the canvas. However, in Figure 3, the license has already been accepted, hence you see a green check mark next to the ODM pattern.

Overview of the ODM patterns

Once all licenses are accepted and activated in the virtual image, you're ready to deploy the IBM ODM pattern. First, let's take a look at the available patterns.

The ODM hypervisor image actually contains two patterns: ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern and ODM Clustered Pattern These patterns contain the ODM database, custom nodes, deployment manager and web server.

Table 1 shows the ODM virtual image contents.

Table 1. IBM ODM RHEL 6 x64 (VMWare) image contents
Includes patterns Contains parts
ODM Clustered Pattern
  • IBM HTTP server for ODM
  • Decision Center custom node
  • Decision Server custom node
  • Rule Execution Server console custom node
  • ODM deployment manager
  • ODM DB2 database
ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern
  • IBM HTTP server for ODM
  • Decision Server custom node
  • Rule Execution Server console custom node
  • ODM deployment manager
  • ODM DB2 database

In the PureApplication System Workload Console, under Patterns, choose Virtual Systems. You will see the two patterns that were listed in Table 1 with version suffixes: ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern and ODM Clustered Pattern. Figure 5 shows the two virtual system patterns.

Figure 5. ODM virtual system patterns
ODM virtual system patterns

If you highlight the ODM Clustered Pattern, the details of the pattern are displayed in the canvas. Note that the value of the field In the cloud now is none. This is because we have not yet deployed the pattern. The topology of the patterns is shown in the main canvas. Figure 6 shows the ODM Clustered Pattern topology. If you hover over any of those images the details about that software component are displayed.

Figure 6. ODM Clustered Pattern topology in Pure Application System
ODM clustered pattern topology in Pure Application System

Note: The number in the top left of some of the boxes is the spinner. You can increase (or decrease) those components to achieve scaling.

As described earlier, there are two virtual system patterns in the ODM image:

  • The ODM Clustered Pattern contains two Decision Center nodes, two Decision Server nodes, a Rule Execution Server and a database. 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 ODM Decision Server Pattern, shown in Figure 7, is similar, but without the Decision Center, and serves as the runtime environment. This is also a clustered pattern, which contains remote messaging and remote support environments spread over multiple virtual machines. It is typically used to run business rules applications in either a test or a production environment.
Figure 7. ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern topology in Pure Application System
ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern topology in Pure Application System

Deploying the ODM pattern

We're now ready to deploy the ODM pattern. In this case, we'll deploy the Clustered Decision Server pattern. To do this, highlight the ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern and from the menu at the top of the canvas, choose Deploy.

You'll need to provide a unique virtual system name, choose the environment or cloud group that includes the IP version and profile, and then configure the various components or parts as they are called. Figure 8 shows the unique virtual system name and the five virtual parts in the ODM Clustered Decision Server that need to be configured.

Figure 8. Virtual parts in ODM Decision Server pattern
Virtual parts in ODM Decision Server 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. In most cases, deployment is always scheduled as immediate unless there is another deployment already going on.

Finally, you need to configure the virtual parts. Table 2 shows the various parts related to the patterns.

Table 2. Virtual parts in ODM patterns
Virtual parts ODM Clustered Pattern ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern
ODM database
IBM HTTP server for ODM
Decision Center custom node
Decision Server custom node
Rule Execution Server custom node
ODM deployment manager

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 values. If necessary, you can increase these later.

Figure 9 shows an example of the properties and the values that were entered for the Decision Server node part. You will have similar properties for DB2, IBM HTTP Server, Rule Execution Server, Deployment Manager and, depending on the pattern, Decision Center.

Figure 9. Properties of Decision Server Node part in ODM pattern
Properties of Decision Server Node part in ODM pattern

In the ODM deployment manager properties, you can specify whether it is part of a production environment or not. That choice only affects internal Tivoli monitoring. After deploying the instance, in the Workload Console, under Instances =>Virtual System Instances, you can highlight the instance and see the details. For example, you'll see that the fully deployed ODM Decision Server Pattern uses six virtual machines (VMs), as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Number of VMs in ODM patterns
IHS DB2 DMgr DS Custom Node RES Custom Node DC Custom Node Total
Decision Server Pattern 1 1 1 2 1 6
Clustered Pattern 1 1 1 2 1 2 8

Note: It's useful to know the number of VMs when architecting a deployment topology.

The total number of VMs is highlighted in the screenshot in Figure 10. Among other things it shows the current status. The arrow in a green box indicates a successful deployment. If there was a problem during deployment a red circle would be displayed along with an error message. You can click on the History option to see the entire deployment history. System administrators can use this feature to determine how much time it took to deploy and what resources are being consumed.

Figure 10. Details of the deployed and started instance
Details of the deployed and started instanc

Working with the ODM pattern instance

Now that the ODM pattern instance is deployed and active, it's business as usual. You can bring up and use any of the consoles you are familiar with, including the Rule Execution Server console and the Event Administration console.

The following sections outline the ways to access these applications. We recommend you 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.

The consoles

The link to the WebSphere Application Server administrative console can be found in the deployment manager VM. If you highlight the ODM Pattern instance (Workload Console =>Instances =>Virtual Systems) and look at the details, you'll find a VM entitled <Cloud_Group_Name>-ODM_DMGR-<Instance Name>

Click the plus (+) sign in the canvas to expand the details page and scroll down. In the Consoles section, you'll see the link to the WebSphere administrative console next to VNC labeled as WebSphere.

Bring up the WebSphere administrative console, also known as the Integrated Systems Console, and check out all the software components that were configured: the deployment environment, WebSphere Application Server clusters, application servers, nodes, service integration buses, messaging engines, and the data sources.

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 these rather than having to bring up the details page every time.

You can find the Rule Execution Server console in the VM named <Cloud_Group>-RES_Console-<Instance Name>. The Decision Center can be found in the VM entitled <Cloud_Group>-DC_Node-<Instance Name>, as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11. Rule Execution Server console
Rule Execution Server console

When you log into the Rule Execution Server, use the PureApplication System defined user, virtuser. In a production environment, the pattern would be integrated with a security server, like Tivoli Directory Server, where the required users would be defined.

Changing the ODM pattern

The ODM system pattern comes pre-configured and tuned, and only exposed parameters can be modified. If you want to customize the pattern, you have two options:

  1. Create your own new pattern and pick the ODM parts.
  2. Clone the default ODM pattern and change things like the node cardinality.

The ODM pattern supports horizontal scaling by cloning the Decision Center or Decision Server custom nodes. The custom nodes are listed at the bottom of Figure 4. You can use the Manage/Clone action from the already created node. With cloning you get another node and cluster members. Reduction of nodes is possible as well.

The ODM Pattern uses IBM DB2 as the underlying repository. If a deployment scenario calls for using Oracle database, you would have to configure an Oracle data source and leverage it in WebSphere Application Server and in ODM artifacts, presumably in an on-premise use case.


In this article, you randomly chose to deploy the ODM Clustered Decision Server Pattern. In reality, you'll have to decide which ODM pattern to deploy based on the type of environment (development, test, or production) you want to set up.

If there is one thing that stands out with the ODM Advanced Pattern in the cloud, it is the 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 or create multiple instances in a few hours.


The author would like to thank Rajesh Rao and Pierre Berlandier for their technical review of this article.



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ArticleTitle=Deploying an IBM Operational Decision Manager cloud pattern on IBM PureApplication System