The great deployment caper: A happy life for you and IBM Rational tools
It's that age old story of company meets tool. They fall in love. And then they move in together—that's where the fun really starts! So, just how do you deploy a tool, and who gets the bottom drawer in the dresser?
When you need to deploy a tool in a commercial environment, there are a number of steps that need to be completed. In the next sections, I will go into further detail about each of these steps.
Assess the system requirements of the tool. For IBM Rational tools, the IBM Support Portal for Rational is a good place to start.
Always pay attention to what the supported operating systems (OS) are: do they match your current environment? If not, then even if you can install the product on your OS, it won't be supported by IBM if anything happens to go wrong.
For the hardware requirements, unless you are a very small organization, always take the recommended configuration as a minimum. And remember: more memory is better.
Finally, don’t forget to check the related software requirements. Does the tool’s version support the version of the word processor that you have installed? Do you have the prerequisite software for example databases?
Read the installation guide. Most of the IBM Rational products now have an interactive installation guide that you can tailor to your own environment. Make a note of any permissions that are required or where input may be needed from another area of the organization (like from network or database managers).
If you are upgrading, take note of any existing passwords or accounts that may be needed, what data may need to be migrated and if there are any tool customizations that may need to be modified or rewritten.
Planning is a key activity to a successful deployment.
Schedule the resources based on their availability. Indicate planned outages and consider how they could be timed to lessen the impact on projects and users. Remember, your plans need to be realistic. There is no point in planning a deployment for the next week if your hardware won't be available yet.
Build the tool environment. This includes the servers and the user desktop. Install the prerequisite software and make sure the specifications meet the recommended hardware requirements.
A good practice is to have a staging or test environment in addition to the production environment. This allows you to do a dry run of the installation (and upgrade) procedures and to test basic functionality before implementing the tool in the production environment. Often, organizations also have a third environment, development, which is used for developing or creating customizations and tool configurations. If you are planning on having multiple environments, ensure that:
Additionally, you should document the environment itself for future use. (If you have it, why not consider using IBM Rational System Architect for this purpose).
Make sure that you meet the following prerequisites before you start the installation:
Take screen captures of each step in the process. The Rational installation guides are comprehensive, but a picture paints a thousand words. Make note of any accounts that are created. Document how you executed the installation in your own environment.
If you are upgrading, make sure that the data is available and correct in the new version of the tool after migration.
Take the time to check and address any issues with customization.
Once everything is up and running, don't forget the administration tasks. This means configuring the tool and setting up access to it. The tool is no good if no one can use it.
Plan and execute training courses for the users and administrators. For new products, this could be comprehensive user training. For tool upgrades, this may just be a refresher presentation to highlight new features.
If you can follow these basic steps, then you and your Rational tools will have a long and happy life together.
And don't forget if you ever need guidance or extra help, IBM
How have you executed your IBM Rational tool deployment? Do you have any tricks or tips?
Connect with me on Twitter @ChrisHardy_68 if you would like to discuss further.