5 Things to Know About Systematically Deploying IBM Business Process Manager
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Want to get a leg up on deploying the new IBM Business Process Manager (BPM) Version 8.5? A recent IBM
IBM BPM provides a common software platform for business process improvement and lifecycle governance. Built-in analytics and search capabilities enable individuals throughout an enterprise to contribute to improving and optimizing critical processes, quickly and collaboratively.
BPM V8.5 includes several new capabilities and improvements compared to earlier versions:
Speaking of installation and configuration, the new IBM Rebooks publication, Busi
A systematically planned deployment typically encompasses the following five steps:
1. Preparing for deployment
The preparation for a BPM deployment is probably the single most important task for a successful project. But it is comprised of more than just a single step. You should investigate the following details:
An IBM BPM topology is the physical layout of the deployment environment that is required to meet business needs for capacity, availability, and scalability. In addition, a deployment topology includes other supporting resources, such as, a user registry (for security), one or more HTTP servers, load balancers, and necessary firewalls. Carefully plan the production deployment topology. The following topology patterns are supported through an IBM BPM installation and configuration process:
The single cluster pattern is the most simple pattern. It defines one application deployment cluster that includes the messaging infrastructure and supporting applications.
The remote messaging and remote support pattern defines one cluster for application deployment, one cluster for the messaging infrastructure, and one remote cluster for the supporting applications.
You need to prepare the supported operating systems on which you plan to install the server components. Your options might be limited by the product configuration you are installing and your project preferences and available infrastructure. Furthermore, your operating system selection can constrain the options that are available for other choices you make during the installation process.
An IBM BPM installation can include various components that are spread across many host servers. These components use the network to communicate changing runtime request information and WebSphere internal administration data. If your network is configured incorrectly, problems might arise during the installation or when operating the environment. Verify that the network components are working and are set up properly, including firewalls, host names and IPs, DNS, latency time, and other components.
Choosing a database depends on your operating system and on the features that you use with IBM BPM. IBM BPM supports all major database systems and packages JDBC drivers that are necessary for operating IBM BPM environments.
The user registry stores information that is used to authenticate users that are using basic authentication. Your choice of user registry is an essential consideration when you are planning your environment. You must configure WebSphere Application Server to use the user registry in your environment.
A Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server is required to send email notifications from the Process Server runtime environment. After a new installation, you must manually configure the SMTP server to enable mail notifications.
In a network deployment environment, you can configure a routing server as a proxy server for workload balancing and failover purposes. Instead of incoming HTTP requests going directly to an application server, they go to the proxy server, which then distributes the requests across multiple application servers that perform the work. You do not have to use IBM HTTP Server for load balancing. Instead, you can use any other type of routing server; for example, WebSphere Application Server proxy server, any other web server, reverse proxy server, or network layer IP sprayer. IBM BPM and WebSphere Application Server support the following major proxy servers:
From version to version the supported web browsers change. Make sure you know which browser you have deployed in your IT infrastructure and which ones are supported by the latest IBM BPM.
Preparing a shared software repository of product binaries is essential when you have multiple products and multiple environments to configure. The repository is a directory that contains all the binary installation products and fixes. We created this repository to organize the installation job. It helps the installation process by making it easier to configure IBM Installation Manager during installations and updates.
Prepare a list of your current IT personnel and subject matter experts who are available during installation and configuration. Determine whether you have the required expertise to install and maintain IBM BPM and manage your databases. Make sure that the appropriate users have user IDs with the authorizations to successfully install all products and files. You will need to work with at least the following people:
2. Creating and validating databases
IBM BPM is a database-dependent application. So it is important that the databases are created correctly and that proper permissions are granted to database users before installation begins.
3. Installing product binaries
This part of the process involves not only installing the binaries but also verifying whether any fixes are required during installation. Two options are possible, one that is GUI-based and another that uses the command line.
4. Configuring the environment
There are several different BPM configuration options that each provide pros and cons. For example, using the BPMConfig tool combines IBM WebSpere Application Server profile creation with BPM environment configuration, but there are more than 25 options to specify in the Properties file. Check out the IBM Redbooks publication for all those details.
5. Installing IBM Process Designer
IBM Process Designer is an important part of the solution, a design-time tool that is used to develop process applications.
These are the five big “things” to consider when walking through your IBM BPM deployment. There are still some post-deployment steps that you need to consider to call this one “done and running”. You may need to install an HTTP server and configure it along with several other BPM components. And you should never forget to verify the correct operation of your deployment.
Finally, every well-planned BPM deployment should also consider a proper performance tuning step. To find out a little more about this you may want to catch up with the following blog post:
To learn more about IBM BPM deployment make sure you take a look at the following IBM Redbooks publication:
Axel Buecker is a Certified Consulting Software IT Specialist and international project manager at the ITSO, Austin Center. He holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Bremen, Germany. He has 28 years of experience in various areas that are related to workstation and systems management, network computing, and e-business solutions. Before he joined the ITSO in March 2000, Axel worked for IBM in Germany as a Senior IT Specialist in Software Security Architecture.
Shawn Tooley is a Technical Editor at the ITSO, Raleigh Center.