January 10, 2014 | Written by: Alan Corcoran
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You’ve been working with your IBM PureApplication System to create and deploy virtual servers in the cloud that represent middleware topologies and application configurations. You’ve had great success and are feeling pretty good about your accomplishments. Then you remember all the existing applications you’ve got successfully installed elsewhere. Is it possible to bring them onto the cloud and automate them without creating them from scratch?
Thankfully, IBM PureApplication System addresses the challenge of moving existing application installation processes onto the cloud and automating them with the Advanced Middleware Configuration (AMC) tool.
The AMC manages products through configuration information. Configuration data on target systems is captured and stored in a representation on the framework server.
Advanced Middleware Configuration stores configuration data on a framework server and uses script packages to update that data and incorporate that configuration data (including applications) in new virtual system patterns.
When should you use Advanced Middleware Configuration?
The AMC tool is most useful under the following conditions:
• When you want to deploy applications as virtual system patterns
• When you do not have reliable end-to-end automation for the installation and configuration of applications
• When your existing automation is specific to a single topology
• When you want to reduce your investment in low-level automation
• When you want to move WebSphere products into the cloud
What is onboarding?
The process that is involved with capturing and automating the deployment of a middleware topology and application is known as onboarding.
The onboarding process involves:
• Copying the topology of an existing IBM WebSphere Application Server cell into the cloud
• Creating a model server image from that pattern
• Installing your application and configuring the cell on the model server
• Saving the new information in both the pattern and in Advanced Middleware Configuration
• Deploying multiple instances of the model server
Steps for Advanced Middleware Configuration
Step one: Deploy the Advanced Middleware Configuration pattern
The framework server in the IBM PureApplication System is a virtual system instance of an Advanced Middleware Configuration virtual system pattern.
To work with AMC, you deploy the AMC virtual system pattern.
Figure 1. Deploy the Advanced Middleware Configuration pattern
Step two: Copy and import the topology of an existing external cell
Advanced Middleware Configuration provides an Environment Generation wizard that you use to create not only an environment on the framework server, but also a virtual system pattern in the IBM PureApplication System.
The next step imports the topology of the external cell that supports the application.
The virtual system pattern that is created comes with two script packages:
• Import Script Package: Updates the cell definition on the framework server with the current state of the corresponding virtual system pattern.
• Integration Script Package: Updates a new virtual system pattern with information from the corresponding cell definition on the framework server.
The topology and the application are brought into the cloud separately and are combined there to create the model server.
Figure 2. Onboarding – copying the topology of an existing cell
Step three: Provision and deploy the virtual system pattern
The next step creates a model server image from the model virtual system pattern. The integration script package is used to deploy a new instance of the virtual system pattern.
When you use the Environment Generation wizard to generate a virtual system pattern, the wizard provisions the integration script package with the information collected by the wizard.
Figure 3. Onboarding – Provision and deploy the virtual system pattern
Step four: Install and configure the application
The IBM PureApplication System administrative console or wsadmin scripts are used to install your application. When the application is installed, configuration of the new instance can be completed to ensure that the new instance is set up as required for all future systems that host the application.
Figure 4. Onboarding – Install and configure the application
Step five: Capture the updated instance configuration
The final step captures the application in Advanced Middleware Configuration.
The import script package is used to update the cell definition on the framework server with the new information that is added to the instance (the information about how to install your application). The EAR file, all of the deployment options and the WebSphere Application Server resources are captured.
Figure 5. Onboarding – Capture the updated instance configuration
With Advanced Middleware Configuration, you don’t need to leave your existing valuable applications behind. Advanced Middleware Configuration enables you to bring those existing assets onto the cloud and automate their product installation, configuration and application deployment with the diverse computing environment provided by PureApplication Systems. Follow me on Twitter @AlanSCorcoran.