If MTV took notice of the IT world. DevOps would have won the buzz word of the year. Many applications are labeling themselves as DevOps to gain a boost in interest. Since the focus of DevOps has been geared towards the deployment of applications. Companies may be disappointed in the lack of features that exist as technology moves forward. Rational Automation Framework is an application that helped bridge the gap between Development and Operations, it continues to be a top performer. DevOps is an ever expanding word as more and more products begin to fall victim to it's labeling.
Rational Automation Framework is a middleware application that can be used to administrate and deploy your WebSphere and WebSphere Portal environments. It's important to note the difference between administrate and deploy. Deploy typically consist of installations. Whether it be installing applications, servers or environments. Administration on the other hand is having the ability to actually configure those servers once they have been deployed. Rational Automation Framework specializes in both. Rational Automation Framework also integrates seamlessly with IBM Advance Middleware Configuration and IBM Workload Deployer. Let's go through a scenario so you can better understand RAF capabilities.
Let's say I have an environment consisting of an administrative agent managing five stand-alone servers . A Deployment Manager with Five nodes, one server on each. I want to take my network deployment environment and deploy it into the cloud. I want to be able to use this same template to deploy to various other physical machines as well. At the same time, I want to import the configuration of all five of my stand alone environments, but I only want to promote two of those server configurations to another physical machine. I also want to stand up a series of stand alone servers of my choosing at any given time consisting of identical configuration as any one of the five stand alone servers that already exists. I then want to setup those two servers and my network deployment with Self Signed Certificates, SSL and LDAP/AD. Rational Automation can handle this without even a flicker of it's UI.
First, the stand alone servers. Rational Automation Framework has the ability to reach out to the administrative agent managing your stand alone servers and import all the configuration information. I can designate one, two or all five servers. In the event that I do not have a server installed to push the configuration into. I can create a template in RAF to deploy a stand alone server identical to the one's that I have read in. I can then use this template to stand up as many stand alone servers as I want. I stand up ten of these environments on accident. I then realize that five were suppose to have one configuration while the other five were suppose to have a different configuration. All I do is promote the configuration of my choosing to the already existing stand alone servers and wallah. No need to remove the five servers and stand up five new servers with my desired configuration. I can also utilize the promote.properites file where RAF will swap key value pairs to replace any value within the configuration I may want to change during this process. Such as host name. Just add the file to the desired scope and let RAF do the work.
Second, the network deployment. Rational automation Framework will read in the entire network deployment configuration. I can create a virtual pattern for IWD based off these configurations. I can also start from scratch if I choose. If I read in an environment and realize that every time this virtual pattern is deployed, a certain variable will need to be changed. I can create a custom question on that Virtual pattern. I can then sync those patterns to Rational Automation Framework counter part AMC (Advanced Middleware Configuration). Once the patterns have been created I can use IBM Workload Deployer to send those WebSphere environments into the cloud. I can use the exact same template I used to create the virtual pattern, and deploy that WebSphere environment to any one or set of physical machines. Once that has been accomplished. I can utilize one of the over one thousand different actions to set up my environment further. I can create Self Signed Certificates, exchange those certificates, and set up SSL, LDAP/AD or start, stop, remove applications. The list goes on.
As you can see, Rational Automaton Framework is a full on middleware solution for automating WebSphere. In the event that there is something that I want to do and can't. The products xml files, ANT and Jython scripts are all editable by the user. If wsadmin can do it, I can automate it. Couple this with Rational Build Forge capabilities to add logic to my steps, via conditions, iterations and loops. The possibilities are endless. The next time you hear the word DevOps, don't just limit yourself to applications. Think big, think environments, administration, applications, virtual patterns, cloud, re-use, logic, scheduling and highly customizable. Don't jump on the DevOps train like a robber in the wild wild west.
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