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Introducing Properties File Based Configuration - A way to automate WebSphere configuration changes without extensive scripting skills (Part 1)

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Introducing Properties File Based Configuration - A way to automate WebSphere configuration changes without extensive scripting skills (Part 1)



by Yan Zhao and Sangwon Oh


Imagine that you are a WebSphere administrator who does not have a lot of scripting experience. Due to recent changes you need to modify a set of specific configurations or copy a set of properties from one environment to another or move large number of configuration objects to a different scope in the cell, etc. Manually going through panel by panel in the Administration console would be very tedious and error prone. Writing your own scripts might be time consuming. Properties File Based Configuration is an easy and efficient way to help you accomplish those tasks.

WebSphere Application Server (WAS) provides 3 different ways to modify the configuration which are administrator console (ISC), wsadmin, and properties file based configuration.  Using Console and wsadmin to configure WAS can be complex and time consuming.  In version 7.0, WAS provided properties file based configuration to help administrators be more efficient.

Properties file based configuration provides a group of commands to extract configuration objects into "key=value" pair formatted properties file, validate, and apply back to configuration. Properties files can be changed and are portable. You can extract from one cell and apply to another after modification to fit the new environment. The server, cluster, application, or authorization group objects can be created or deleted using properties file template.  (This function does not replace the configuration archives that can be generated by the backupConfig command. It does not extract all WCCM objects from your configuration.)

There are some limitations:

1. You cannot extract whole configuration properties from one cell, and apply to another empty cell to clone your environment. Both cells need to be identical with the same number of servers, nodes, clusters, and so on with the same name.  But, if you want to copy a subset of configuration from one cell to another cell (for example, Data Source, J2CResourceAdapter, so on) it will work. In this case, the properties file extracted from one cell can be used to create similar configuration objects in another cell.

2. You cannot apply an z/OS operating system properties file to a distributed operating system. Similarly, you cannot apply a distributed operating system properties file directly to a z/OS operating system.

3. Following configurations cannot be configured using properties file.

  •      SIBus
  •      Business-level applications
  •      Key store and trust store files
  •      Web services policy set files
  •      File-based user registry

The Properties file based configuration helps you to customize configurations that are created based on WCCM or configurations that are deployed as J2EE applications. You can use properties files to customize configuration (not clone or merge environments).

Some example usage:

  •     Extract the configuration attributes and values from your environment to properties files.
  •     Copy configuration properties from one environment to another.
  •     Troubleshoot configuration issues.
  •     Apply one set of configuration properties across multiple profiles, nodes, cells, servers, or applications.
  •     Change the scope of configuration objects

Here are the commands for Properties file based configuration:

  •     extractConfigProperties
    •       Extracts configuration data to a human readable text file
  •     validateConfigProperties
    •        Validates and determines whether properties file can be applied to environment or not
  •     applyConfigProperties
    •        Applies configuration from properties file to current environment
  •     deleteConfigProperties
    •        Deletes configuration objects using properties file
  •     createPropertiesFileTemplates
    •       Creates template properties files which are used to create or delete specific object types


We will go into more details on what each command does in Part 2 of this topic.


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