Shell sharing with InfoSphere Data Architect, Optim Development Studio, and Optim Database Administrator

Learn how to install and manage a shell-sharing environment

Many people think that each IBM® software product requires its own copy of Eclipse, but that is not always the case. It is possible to share the Eclipse installation between different IBM software development products. so that the core Eclipse components are not duplicated between each Eclipse-based product. This article explains the process of sharing Eclipse shells between many different IBM products by showing an example of this using InfoSphere™ Data Architect (IDA), Optim™ Development Studio (ODS) and Optim Database Administrator (ODA).


Vikram S. Khatri, Certified Consulting I/T Specialist, EMC

Vikram Khatri works for IBM in Sales and Distribution as a part of DB2 Migration team and has 18 years of IT experience. Vikram enjoys DB2 database administration. Supporting DB2 technical sales requires him to work on migration projects as well as high performance benchmark tests.

developerWorks Contributing author

Burt L. Vialpando, Certified Consulting I/T Specialist, IBM

Burt VialpandoBurt Vialpando has been an IBM employee since 1998, with professional database experience since 1984. Burt is a Senior Certified IT specialist currently working for the DB2 migration team performing pre-sales Oracle to DB2 migration support. He holds numerous DB2, Oracle, and other certifications and currently serves on the IT Certification Board.

22 July 2010 (First published 13 November 2008)

Also available in Chinese Russian Portuguese


The concept of shell sharing between Eclipse-based products means that you can share the core Eclipse components so that they are not duplicated among the Eclipse-based products. Shell sharing eliminates the need to install several Eclipse platforms for each product, thus saving disk space and eliminating duplication of components.

Another benefit of shell sharing is the ability to have products interact with each other, making each product stronger than if they were run stand- alone. An example of this would be the InfoSphere Data Architect (IDA) ability to govern a naming convention for your company for a physical implementation of a data model. If IDA were to be shell shared with Optim Database Administrator (ODA), the DBA using ODA could benefit by this naming convention rule to avoid creating objects in the database that are not standard. IDA thus works with ODA together in one shell shared environment, and ODA is strengthened by IDA's presence in the shell shared environment.

This article explains the process of sharing Eclipse shells between many different IBM products by showing an example using InfoSphere Data Architect (IDA), Optim Development Studio (ODS) and Optim Database Administrator (ODA).

Many IBM Rational®, InfoSphere, WebSphere®, and Optim products are in fact designed for shell sharing among each other, using a single common framework. A simple check during the installation process can save you disk space, allowing you to either use an existing Eclipse installation or to use an Eclipse installation from other IBM software products already installed. A simple analogy of shell sharing on the Windows® platform could be the C:\Windows directory where common components are used by all other programs installed in C:\Program Files folder.

Some key terms

IBM Installation Manager

IBM Installation Manager (IIM) is an Eclipse-base software delivery platform that will install, apply upgrades, and manage different software products. As an analogy, you can compare IIM with any standard software installation program, such as Windows MSI packages or the InstallShield programs. IIM creates a package for each software product, and the key to shell sharing is to extend or use the same package while installing a new product. IIM also manages the licenses for products that you install with it.

Package group

IIM allows you to define a package group when you install a software product from IBM. When you install two different software products in two different package groups, they do not share the same resources. You can purposefully choose to install products in different package groups for many reasons, even though those products have the ability to share the resources. You may just prefer that a particular product not interact with others, or perhaps you are using a new or beta product that you want to test alone before adding it to an existing set of shell-shared products.

Shell share concepts

When multiple IBM products are installed within the same package group, the products share their set of common and compatible features. Since these features are shared between the products, updating them through the IIM for one product updates them for all the products. Therefore, updates are allowed or restricted by the dependency requirements set out by each product. An indication of shell sharing is that when running one of the products, the user interface and features contributed by the other products are also visible.

Any number of eligible products can be installed to a package group. When a product is installed, its function is shared with all of the other products in the package group. If you install a development product (like Optim Development Studio) and an architecture product (like InfoSphere Data Architect) into one package group, when you start either of the products, you have both the development and data architect functionality available to you in your user interface. If you add a product with database administration tools (like ODA), all of the products in the package group will have the development, architecture, and administration functionality available.

Which products can shell-share?

Shell sharing is possible between the same major and minor releases of the Eclipse platform. For example, you cannot shell share products using Eclipse 3.2 and 3.3. This is detected by the IIM, and it forces you to choose a different package group if shell sharing is not possible between those two products.

When different IBM products shell share with each other, each product independently updates all of its own features through the IIM. However, as you will learn later in the article, you can request updates for all packages that share a package group at the same time.

If you are not familiar with shell sharing, it may take a little getting used to the concept. For example, when you launch a product that is shell sharing with other products, you will at first see only the Welcome screen for the launched product. But the Welcome screen will also let you know which products are also in the shell-shared environment and thus have their functionality available using the Eclipse Workbench.

The list below is a very small subset of the list of Eclipse-based products that can shell-share at the 3.4.x level. This article focuses on a few products from Information Management, but there are many other products that shell-share as well. To see a complete and up-to-date list of what products shell share with what other products for a given Eclipse release, see the IBM Technote on shell sharing listed in the Resources section.

  • Optim Development Studio 2.2.x
  • Optim Database Administrator 2.2, 2.2.1
  • InfoSphere Data Architect, 7.5.2
  • Optim Query Tuner 2.2

An example: Shell sharing between IDA and ODS

In this section, we'll use an example scenario to illustrate the concept of shell-sharing between two products. You'll learn how to install IBM Installation Manager and InfoSphere Data Architect from the Web. You will subsequently install Optim Development Studio from the Web as well into the same package group as InfoSphere Data Architect.

Get an IBM ID to download software

You will need an IBM ID to download, try, buy, or get free license software from IBM. Create an ID if you have not already done so. Save this ID and password for future use, as you will need this every time you download software from IBM.

Software downloads

You can find links to all the trial downloads for the software used in this article in the Resources section of this article.

Install IBM InfoSphere Data Architect

From the first trial download site for IDA as given above, you can begin your install of IDA directly from the URL without having to download the code itself (what we call a repository of code in the Optim family). Choose the option Web install using IBM Installation Manager (recommended) as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Install IDA directly from the Web
select web install using IBM installation manager (recommended)

As shown in Figure 2, select the Windows version to install, then click the Download now link.

Figure 2. Choose your install platform and begin the download process
Start the Installation process

The download director will guide you through the install process. First it will install the IBM Installation Manager (IIM). After that, IIM will perform the installation of the IBM product, in this case InfoSphere Data Architect (IDA). Make these choices as shown in Figure 3 and then click Next to continue.

Figure 3. Choose products to install
Installation manager and IDA are both selected. Notice that IIM is free (no license key required)

IIM will automatically find all the appropriate repositories for the products you are installing. This may take a few minutes, so be patient with this. (If you had not chosen a web install, the other option is to download the repository zip files to your local host and install from there. This technique might be favorable if you were to put these repositories on a widely accessible LAN drive so that more than one person could use them to perform an install with.)

Accept the licensing agreement and answer the questions regarding the reason for your install. When you get to the Install Packages screen, you will tell IIM where you want to put all the shared resources for this and any future Eclipse-based IBM products. Choose the default as shown in Figure 4, then click Next.

Figure 4. Choose the shared resources directory
Select location for shared components

With the very first IBM shell shared product install, you have to create a new package group because none exist. Do that here by choosing the default as shown in Figure 5, then click Next.

Figure 5. Create a new package group
The radio button for Create a new packge group is selected

The next screen allows you to extend your OWN Eclipse environment if you wish to do so. Do not choose this unless you already have an Eclipse environment already installed on your client and you know how to use Eclipse in a customized way. Do not use this at this time; instead, click Next through this screen, and let IIM create the Eclipse version for the install process.

Figure 6. Bypass the option to create a customized Eclipse environment
Do not click the option to Extend and existing Eclipse

After choosing the default language to use, you will come to a screen recapping what you will be installing. Here is where you can customize which features of the product you wish to use. In Figure 7 you will just use the defaults and choose them all.

Figure 7. Choose your features
all features of IDA are checked.

The final install screen will come up, recapping everything you have chosen to do up until now including the package name you will be creating or using, the install options and features, language and repository locations, and so on. Click Install if everything is OK, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Installing IDA
The repository shown is the web url from the download page.

After this first product install is complete, do not launch the IDA product yet. In the question on the screen that says Which program do you want to start? make sure the None radio button is selected (Figure 9), then click Finish.

Figure 9. Finish the install but don't launch the product yet
The IIM folder location is highlighted as well on this screen.

Now you are ready to move on to the next section where you will learn how to install Optim Development Studio into that same package group.

Install Optim Development Studio

Go to the web site listed in Resources to download Optim Development Studio. Choose the same web download option as you did in the previous section as you did for IDA, and go through the same licensing agreement options, etc.

Since IIM is already installed, it will not try to install again; rather, it will go straight to the install options for ODS as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Select ODS installation package
ODS package is selected.

After accepting the licensing agreement and answering some survey questions, you next will encounter a very important screen. This screen is where you can select to either Use the existing package group or Create a new package group. This is the key to shell sharing, so pay close attention to it.

  • Using an existing package group means you will shell share with whatever products are also using that same group.
  • Creating a new package group means the product will not shell share with anything.

In this case, we want to install our ODS product to use the same package group as the IDA product we just installed. Select Use the existing package group radio button as shown in Figure 11. You should get the IBM InfoSphere package group as a selection option since it is the only existing package you have installed at this time. Click Next.

Figure 11. Check the existing package group option to enable shell sharing
select use existing IBM Infosphere package group as described above. The file location of shared resources is also shown.

You will get the same options screen as before, but you will bypass any language or Eclipse screen you saw before because you are telling IIM that you want to use the same Eclipse package group as you did before. Simply choose Install and you will begin installing ODS shell-shared with IDA.

You may notice that the install goes much faster than the previous one. This is simply because there is less code to install! You have now in affect "plugged in" ODS to IDA and much of the common interfaces and common code does not have to be re-installed.

We will do this again later for Optim Database Administrator and shell share all three products. But before we do that, let's look at licensing.

Activating permanent licenses

This is an optional step. You would need to do this only if you have purchased a permanent license of one of the Eclipse-based products.

Launch the IBM Installation Manager to review what you have done so far. Go to Start > All Programs > IBM Installation Manager > IBM Installation Manager as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12. Launch IIM
launch iim from the windows start menu as described in text above

When Installation Manager comes up, click the Manage Licenses icon (shown in Figure 13).

Figure 13. Manage Licenses icon
The manage licenses icon is on the right side of IIM screen and is also labeled with text.

On the Manage Licenses screen, you will see your license type (such as Trial or Permanent) and whether they have expired. If you purchase these products you will be given an Activation Kit to turn your trial into a permanent license. Here's how you would use that Activation Kit. This assumes you have already received the kit.

Floating licenses

Some products offer a floating licenses, which are managed by a license server. This can be helpful if you are doing lots of installing and reinstalling on various hosts and clients.

First, click on the radio button to Import product Activation Kit, as shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14. Import a Product Activation Kit to activate permanent license
Select the radio button as described in the text above.

Navigate to the product license library or folder where you have your activation keys. Figure 15 shows how we've navigated to find the license key for InfoSphere Data Architect.

Figure 15. Activate IDA with license key
browse button used to find the file location. once it is found, IIM recognizes the license key.

After finishing this, return to the Manage License screen. Notice IDA is now showing Permanent as the License Type in Figure 16.

Figure 16. IDA is now permanently licensed
for IDA license type is showing Permanent but license for ODS still shows Trial and that Liccense key has expired.

Do the same thing with your other IBM Eclipse-based product. Return to the Manage Licenses screen to see everything properly licensed, as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17. Both products are now permanently licensed
both products show permanent for liense type and have no expiration date.

What if you see "Node Locked" instead of Permanent?

If you see a license type of Node Locked instead of Permanent, it is very likely that your system date is incorrect. IBM Software licenses are date driven, and an incorrect system date can cause this problem. In such cases, correct your system date on your physical or virtual machine, and you will see the Permanent instead of the Node Locked license type.

What happens when a trial license expires?

Most products have a 30-day trial license. On the 31st day of the trial, you will get a trial error message when you try to launch the expired product (Figure 18). Assuming you have purchased a permanent license, you can click on the Manage Licenses button and activate the permanent license as described in the previous section.

If you click on Manage Licenses but do not give it a valid license, you will not be able to access the product workspace. If you click on Exit Workspace, the product will shut down.

Figure 18. License error message
The optim Database administrator license key cannot be found. Click manage licenses to apply a license or uninstall the product. If you click Exit Workbench, you can resolve this issue later via the Installation Manager or by restarting the product and clicking Manage Licenses.

Adding repositories

In this section, you'll learn more about using repositories to install and update software. You've seen how the Web install for the trial software goes to an IBM repository of software. You may also have repositories inside your enterprise where the software, updates, and license keys are stored. So in that case you need to understand how to let IIM know where to search for such information.

You can add any product repository for IIM to use in order to install either from a web URL or a local or LAN directory. To do this, select File > Preferences... as show in Figure 19.

Figure 19. IIM Preferences for repository setting
see text above

Here you can click on Add Repository... as shown in Figure 20.

Figure 20. Adding IIM Repositories
list of repository locations on left. Add Repository.. button on right.

That brings up the window shown in Figure 21. You can select Browse to enter a local or LAN directory, or you can enter a Web URL in that field.

Figure 21. Add a web url or file directory
basic file name input window.

After adding all the repositories for new or fix pack code, you can then use the Install, Update and Modify icons on the main IIM screen. IIM will validate everything automatically through your repository preferences set in this screen. Let's see how this works in the next section by installing Optim Database Administrator.

Install Optim Database Administrator

In this section, you will learn how to search the repository directly to install new software -- in this case, Optim Database Administrator -- and activate its permanent license. This example assumes you previously had ODA installed or that your trial license has expired, thus giving us the opportunity to show you what happens when trial licenses expire.

To install new software, click on the Install icon from the main IIM screen as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22. Click on Install to find software in repository to install
installsoftware packages icon

Because we are accessing the repository, we can scroll through the many Rational, InfoSphere, and Optim products to install (after entering our IBM ID and password). As shown in Figure 23, we select IBM Optim Database Administrator.

Figure 23. Install ODA from repository
From list of installation packages, we select IBM optim database administrator which changes status to Will be installed.

After choosing to install ODA, the rest of the screens follow the same pattern as already shown in this article. As shown in Figure 24, click on the Install button after you are sure you are using the same package group used for the other products (IBM InfoSphere).

Figure 24. Summary information from ODA install
Summary information for oda install shows package group name of imb InfoSphere and that it is in same installation directory as ida c:\Program Files\IBM\IDA7.5.2

Launch the Optim Database Administrator tool from the Windows Start menu (as shown in Figure 25) or a desktop icon if you created one.

Figure 25. Launching Optim Database Administrator
all programs > IBM InfoSphere > IBM Optim Database Administrator 2.2

After choosing a default workspace, notice that the splash screen (shown in Figure 26) shows that even though you launched ODA, the other tools that you shell share this product with are brought along for the ride as well.

Figure 26. Splash screen indicates which products are integrated with the one you launched
it says integrated ibm products: InfoSphere Data Architect 7.5.2, Optim Database Administrator 2.2, Optim Development Studio

You can choose to go back to IIM to apply a permanent license, assuming you have one, as described in Activating permanent licenses. Figure 27 shows that a permanent license has been successfully applied for Optim Database Administrator.

Figure 27. Optim Databae Administrator license is successfully applied
The Manage Licenses screens has all three products displayed and Optim Database Administrator is shown with Version 2.2.1 and license type permanent.

Installing updates and fixes

Now, let's learn how to discover and install updates and fixes to any or all of our installed software packages and products. Choose the Update icon from the main IIM screen as shown in Figure 28.

Figure 28. Update icon lets you check for updates of software
update icon is also indicated with text

Select Update all to update all of the packages in our installation. (We really only have one, which is shared by three products.)

Figure 29. Updating all packages in the package group
select the checkbox that says Update all

In our case, Figure 30 tells us that no updates were found for this software. This is a good thing because it means we are very up-to-date. Had there been updates available to this software, IIM would let you choose the fix pack level to update to.

Figure 30. In this case, no updates were found for package group
text says No updates or fixes were found for the packagest that are installed in the selected location. Also shows which repositories were searched for the fixes.

Recap: Examine the file structure

Now, as a final recap, use the Windows Explorer to review all the files that were created during the course of this article. You can see the file structure in Figure 31.

  • The package group is installed under C:\Program Files\IBM\IDA7.5.2
  • The file specific to Optim Database Administrator are under a subdirectory of the package called dsadm. (This is because this product was originally named Data Studio Administrator, so the folder kept its old acronym.)
  • The files specific to Optim Development Studio are under the subdirectory of the package called dsdev. (This is because this product was originally named Data Studio Developer.)
  • The files specific to InfoSphere Data Architect are under a subdirectory of the package called rda. (This is because this product was originally named Rational Data Architect.)
  • The IBM Installation Manager files are kept under C:\Program File\IBM\Installation Manager.
  • Finally, all the shared files for all the Eclipse products in this package are kept under C:\Program File\IBM\DSPShared.
Figure 31. File system shows product-specific and shared files
See text above figure


The IBM Eclipse-based family of tools offers a convenient and powerful way to shell share many products together in order to provide more power and less footprint. The IBM Installation manager can easily manage all install, update, modify and licensing of all these products. This article has shown only one example of shell sharing three different IBM products, but there are in fact many IBM products you can do this with in the Rational, InfoSphere, Optim, Data Studio and other tools.



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Zone=Information Management, Rational
ArticleTitle=Shell sharing with InfoSphere Data Architect, Optim Development Studio, and Optim Database Administrator