IBM Installation Manager: Installing IBM Rational desktop products in an enterprise environment

from The Rational Edge: Learn how to manage installation of multiple products that are part of the IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform. This content is part of the The Rational Edge.


Peter Manahan, Rational Desktop Installation Architect, Manager Enterprise Deployment, IBM

Author photoPeter Manahan works for IBM Rational and is the installation architect for the IBM Rational Desktop product set. He has worked on installation and service strategies with Eclipse-based products such as WebSphere Application Developer and Rational Software Architect since Eclipse 1.0. Currently, Peter manages the enterprise deployment team that is streamlining the deployment of IBM Rational software in enterprises.

Powell Quiring, Rational Development Manager, Software Installation, IBM

Author photoPowell Quiring has worked on various products within the Rational product line, from UML to programming language translation for the C#,, and C/C++, and the Rational RequisitePro integration with the Rational desktop products. He contributed to the developerWorks® trial product integration (which allows you to install RAD directly from the trial site today without messing with CD images) and is currently designing the integration with Passport Advantage on-line.

15 July 2007

Also available in Chinese

illustrationIBM® Installation Manager for Rational® Software Delivery Platform is an installation management tool that installs and maintains Installation Manager-based software packages. IBM Installation Manager enables you to modify feature sets, search for updates, uninstall, and manage the licenses of installed software.

IBM Packaging Utility is a packaging tool that creates and manages software package repositories in the correct format for IBM Installation Manager. You can use IBM Packaging Utility to move packages between or delete packages from repositories. Most often, users use IBM Packaging Utility to copy software packages from CD installation images, or software update packages from IBM repositories, into local repositories or onto internal servers from which they can perform installations.

The diagrams in that follow show the value of IBM Packaging Utility by illustrating a basic workflow that you might use to distribute "software packages." Software packages are the installation objects that compose product installations, updates, and fixes that IBM Installation Manager can manipulate and consume.

Figure 1 shows a workflow that starts with downloading software installation images from IBM Passport Advantage to a local computer that can stage the installation image. The installation image is typically a set of compressed files that represent CD installation images. Some of these CD images contain software package repositories, which can contain a software package such as IBM Rational Application Developer. After you extract the compressed files to the local computer, you can use IBM Packaging Utility to copy the software package repositories from the CD installation image to a local repository on an intranet server. You can then use IBM Installation Manager to install the software package from this local repository.

Illustration of beginning workflow for Installation Manager

Figure 1: The workflow starts with downloading software installation images from IBM Passport Advantage to a local computer that can stage the installation image.

After you stage the installation images, you can use IBM Packaging Utility to search for updates and extensions to those staged software packages, as shown in Figure 2. IBM Packaging Utility downloads only the data that is required to update the software package. Alternatively, you can download the updates and fixes as compressed files from the IBM support site and then extract and copy them to the staging area, which is similar to the initial staging process.

Illustration showing search for updates and extensions to software packages

Figure 2: You can use IBM Packaging Utility to search for updates and extensions to software packages staged for installation.

Enterprises typically have existing policies and procedures for making data accessible. The software package repositories on the local servers in the preceding example might be simple HTTP servers, FTP servers, or network file shares. These servers should be placed strategically in the enterprise to optimize the download performance of IBM Installation Manager.

Organization of software package repositories

An enterprise can employ several strategies to organize packages and repositories for deployment.

Simple repository

The simplest method of organization is to put all the software packages in a single repository. This scenario provides IBM Installation Manager with visibility to all the available packages in the enterprise. To optimize performance, you can make replicas of the single repository on geographically dispersed servers.

Role-based repository

In this scenario, a software package repository exists for each role in the enterprise. A role might be differentiated by niche, version of software under development, geography, or other criteria. For example, a large software development organization might have the following role-based repositories:

  • Architect repository that contains Rational Software Architect
  • Developer maintenance repository that contains Rational Application Developer 7.0, which uses an IBM WebSphere® 6.0 test environment and IBM Rational Functional Tester 7.0
  • Developer repository that contains IBM Rational Application Developer, which uses a WebSphere 6.1 test environment
  • Test engineer repository that contains Rational Performance Tester and Rational Functional Tester

While role-based repositories are more complex to set up, they can greatly simplify the end-user installation experience. After the repositories are in place, the package administrator can prompt users with a single message that states "Install the latest version of all packages in your repository."

Repository access control

You gain access to HTTP software package repositories by using standard protocols that support credential-based security. You can configure HTTP servers to limit access to specific end users. For example, if you use role-based repositories, you can assign a role to each user and use those roles to limit access to the HTTP repository.

You can also host repositories on file servers. File systems on Linux, AIX, Windows, and other operating systems support Access Control Lists (ACLs) to limit access to directories that contain repositories.

Example: The following procedure outlines how to make a software package, such as Rational Software Architect 7.0, available on a local intranet server using HTTP as the protocol:

  • Download the Rational Software Architect installation image files from IBM Passport Advantage.
  • Install IBM Installation Manager on the local staging computer.
  • Install IBM Packaging Utility on the local staging computer.
  • Extract all the downloaded compressed images for Rational Software Architect.
  • Mount a writeable directory from the local server onto the staging computer.
  • Use IBM Packaging Utility to copy the Rational Software Architect software package from the extracted installation image to the local server-mounted directory.
  • Ensure that the directory on the local server is visible through HTTP:
    • To test the visibility, add the URL of the local server repository to the Installation Manager preferences.
    • From the Installation Manager main menu, select Install and confirm that the software package for Rational Software Architect is available as an option.


IBM Installation Manager ensures that only compatible fixes are applied to a software installation. For example, a fix pack for Rational Application Developer is not applied to Rational Functional Tester. Similarly, a fix for Rational Application Developer is not applied to Rational Application Developer 7.0.

Downloading and deploying software packages

IBM Installation Manager and IBM Packaging Utility both work with fix packs and interim fixes:

Fix packs. Fix packs are cumulative updates to a software package. A fix pack implies that a new version of the software package is available. For example, Rational Application Developer is a fix pack that updates version 7.0 or to version

Interim fixes. Interim fixes apply to a specific version of a software package and typically fix a single or several small critical issues. Multiple interim fixes can be applied independently on the same fix pack.

You can update a package or set of packages in two ways: automatically search for and apply the latest updates or manually select the updates to apply. You control the source for these updates by listing the repositories in the Installation Manager preferences. By default, IBM Installation Manager searches both the listed repositories and the service repositories that the packages specify. To disable the preference to search for the repositories that the packages provide, click File > Preferences > Repositories and clear the Search service repositories during installation and updates option. An enterprise typically disables this preference for two reasons: to control the source of updates for their users or to improve performance by limiting the search scope. For example, an enterprise with a corporate firewall that prevents users from accessing the Internet might want to limit the search scope to listed repositories.

To add a local intranet repository, click File > Preferences > Repositories > Add Repository. This option enables you to specify the list of repositories that users can access.

IBM provides updates on support sites and in repositories. Because you use these packages only to update previously installed products and offerings, they are sometimes referred to as software update packages. You can merge the software update package with the original software package that it updates by using IBM Packaging Utility to create a complete software package. You can either install this resulting software package directly or use it to update another software package. For example, for Rational Application Developer 7.0, a software update package exists for version You can use IBM Packaging Utility to download and merge the software package with the 7.0 software package. You can then use the resulting repository to install version directly or to update version 7.0 to

Deployment over existing infrastructures

Enterprises often have existing software deployment and management tools such as Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) or IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager. IBM Installation Manager uses silent installation capabilities that work with several deployment tools to enable them to deploy Installation Manager based software packages.

The following procedure shows a typical silent installation scenario for Rational Application Developer:

  • Download Rational Application Developer 7.0.
  • Use IBM Packaging Utility to put Rational Application Developer 7.0 into a local software package repository.
  • Use IBM Packaging Utility to download version to the local software package repository.
  • Use IBM Packaging Utility to put IBM Installation Manager into the software package repository. This is the version of IBM Installation Manager that Rational Application Developer requires.
  • Create a script to install IBM Installation Manager.
  • Create a response file to update IBM Installation Manager to version
  • Create a response file to install Rational Application Developer
  • Use a deployment tool to bundle the scripts and the Installation Manager package for deployment.
  • Use the deployment tool to install IBM Installation Manager, update it to version, and install Rational Application Developer

Each deployment tool has different methods and capabilities. A forthcoming series of tutorials will describe how to use various deployment tools to deploy Installation Manager based IBM Rational products.




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ArticleTitle=IBM Installation Manager: Installing IBM Rational desktop products in an enterprise environment