What's new in IBM Rational Build Forge Version 7.1

Features and support that help you automate or streamline software development tasks

IBM® Rational® Build Forge® Version 7.1 helps software development teams automate and standardize repetitive tasks for improved productivity, efficiency, repeatability, reliability, and tracking. This article describes the features that are new or enhanced in Version 7.1, and also the new IBM® Rational® Build Forge® Enterprise Plus Edition that it includes.

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This article is brought to you by the Rational staff at developerWorks.



13 January 2009

Also available in Chinese

IBM® Rational® Build Forge® Version 7.1 helps software development teams automate and standardize repetitive tasks for improved productivity, efficiency, repeatability, reliability, and tracking. Build Forge is an adaptive process execution framework that automates, orchestrates, manages, and tracks all of the processes between each handoff within the assembly line of software development, thus creating an automated software factory. Build Forge integrates into your current environment and supports major development languages, scripts, tools, and platforms. You can continue to use your existing software yet add process automation, acceleration, notification, and scheduling capabilities.

In addition, Version 7.1 introduces IBM® Rational® Build Forge® Enterprise Plus Edition. This option is designed and priced specifically to help large enterprises be more flexible and save money.

New features at a glance

Rational Build Forge automates software assembly processes to accelerate and streamline software delivery. Version 7.1 is enhanced by several significant new features.

Job Process Optimization

Job Process Optimization helps ensure that jobs are automatically run in the most efficient manner, thereby eliminating the need for error-prone, manual processes or complex scripting tools. This represents a great opportunity to achieve a higher ROI, because, for example, you can do things such as creating build flows that intelligently skip steps so that you save time. You can distribute standard, repeated tasks easier without having to define separate steps for each repetition. This enables you to reduce complexity in your process and thereby reduce the costs associated with ongoing maintenance. You can also define processes that have the built-in capability of taking self-correcting or self-diagnosing actions in the event of a failure or other error.

Job Process Optimization includes these basic concepts:

  • Enhancements to job execution flow
  • More options for controlling project execution
  • Conditionally avoid unnecessary steps in a process
  • Iterating through steps based on a defined condition
Figure 1. Job Process Optimization
image of workspace

Project Configuration Snapshots

Project Configuration Snapshots help you easily manage various project configurations for consistency, for better reuse of best practices and environments, for better sharing of common tasks and information across different project teams, and to help jump-start new projects quickly.

With Project Configuration Snapshots, you can flag a specific snapshot of validated configurations of you projects to ensure that production processes are not disrupted by work that might be in progress to improve that process. Older snapshots can be preserved to provide records of how processes ran at a particular point in time. This helps improve recordkeeping for  business control or audit requirements. Snapshots can also be shared across projects to help propagate best practices or standards across the organization.

Project Configuration Snapshots include these basic capabilities:

  • Cloning and management of snapshots over time
  • Protection of "known good" configurations
  • Creation of  templates for project teams to use
Figure 2. Project configuration snapshots
image of workspace

IBM Standard Installer

The new IBM Standard Installer gives you a simplified, common installation process for Build Forge servers on both Microsoft Windows and Linux® or UNIX® systems. This makes configuration faster and easier when you install or upgrade to IBM Rational Build Forge 7.1.

Figure 3. Installation Manager view
image of workspace

Integration with IBM Rational Team Concert

Integration with IBM Rational Team Concert makes it easier to automate software assembly processes and to support globally dispersed teams. The distributed, general-purpose automation that Build Forge provides, combined with the collaboration tools of rational Team Concert and the Jazz platform gives Rational Team Concert users a broader automation solution than the bundled, build-centric mechanisms included in  that tool.

Extended platform support

Extended platform support, including for Linux on IBM® System z®, in addition to other operating system platforms, such as IBM AIX and IBM iIf you are working on enterprise modernization projects or just want the reliability and scalability of a System Z environment, you can now manage your Build Forge infrastructure from those environments.


Security infrastructure improvements

The Build Forge team did significant work on the security infrastructure of the system for the 7.1 release. This work touched nearly every component of the system and has resulted in a powerful and easily integrated security. These are among the improved areas:

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): Build Forge 7.1 has a new SSO integration layer in its authentication layer. This is a pluggable layer that can be extended to integrate Build Forge with any authentication layer through small Java™ technology-based code modules called interceptors. Example interceptors for SPNEGO (Simple and Protected GSS-API Negotiation) and IBM® WebSphere® Application Server  SSO are included with the 7.1 release.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): All Build Forge components now have a native encryption module. This means that you no longer need third-party tools to use SSL encryption on Build Forge communications points. You can now use the configuration tools that are included and that are supported by IBM.
  • Encryption improvements: Encryption of important security data is now the default mode throughout Build Forge.
  • LDAP integration improvments: The LDAP (Lightweight Access Directory Protocol) integration layer in the product is  more dynamic and can now be configured to automatically refresh group membership information for users each time they login.

Technology support updates

Operating Systems

The following operating systems are now supported by the Build Forge 7.1 server:

Microsoft® Windows operating systems

  • Windows Server 2003: Service Pack 1 or 2 (32-bit Intel®)
  • Windows Server 2003: Service Pack 2 (64-bit Intel)
  • Windows XP Professional: Service Pack 2 (32-bit Intel)

UNIX® and Linux® systems

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0: All Service Packs (32-bit Intel)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0: All Service Packs (32-bit Intel)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1: All Service Packs (32-bit Intel and 64-bit Intel)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10: Service Packs (32-bit Intel)
  • Sun® Solaris® 9: All Service Packs (32-bit SPARC and 64-bit SPARC)
  • Sun Solaris 10: All Service Packs (32-bit SPARC and 64-bit SPARC)

Linux on IBM System z

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Service 10: Service Pack 2 (IBM System z: S390x) # http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/os/linux/

Databases

Support for the following databases is included in V7.1 and more will be added in future releases:

  • IBM® DB2®  
  • MySQL 
  • Oracle 

Other technology infrastructure items

VMWare

Build Forge 7.1 is certified to run on VMWare virtual machines in a production environment. If you are using virtualization as a key cost-containment strategy in your IT infrastructure, this enables you to adopt Build Forge in your infrastructure standards with minimum friction.

Non-OSS infrastructure items

Build Forge provides versions of the Apache HTTPD Web server and Apache Tomcat Java™ application container with its package on most systems. Some customers prefer to use tools that are packaged and supported by a major software vendor for these tools. With that in mind, the 7.1 version of Build Forge now supports the following IBM infrastructure components:

  • IBM WebSphere Application Server  
  • IBM HTTP Server 

New Build Forge Enterprise Plus Edition

For the 7.1 release, IBM Rational software added a new edition called IBM Rational Build Forge Enterprise Plus Edition. It is intended for organizations that want to automate and streamline assembly processes in very large enterprise environments. It is a fixed-feature edition with everything enabled. In this edition, "everything" means support of up to 250 simultaneous sessions with no user licenses required, the Build Forge Quick Report option, and the Build Forge Adaptor Toolkit option.

This enterprise edition is required for System z Linux deployments, but it is also available for all of the other platforms that Build Forge supports.

Resources

Learn

Get products and technologies

  • Find more resources for build and release engineers and managers in the Build Forge area of the developerWorks Rational zone, including articles and whitepapers, links to training, discussion forums, product documentation and support.
  • See the Build Forge examples page for a list of Build Forge example projects, APIs, adaptors, documentation and tools.
  • Download trial versions of IBM Rational software.
  • Download these IBM product evaluation versions and get your hands on application development tools and middleware products from DB2®, Lotus®, Tivoli®, and WebSphere®.

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