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How did we write the “WebSphere Application Server Migration Guide” IBM Redbooks in Istanbul, Turkey?

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How did we write the “WebSphere Application Server Migration Guide” IBM Redbooks in Istanbul, Turkey?



In my job as a Project Leader in ITSO (also known as the IBM Redbooks team) I have published more than 100 books since 1999. My first two Redbooks publications even had the red covers. Anyone still remember them?

I have always enjoyed working for ITSO, because of the opportunity to meet with people from all over the world and to be able to work on the leading-edge IBM products.

Most of the Redbooks projects are run in one of the two ITSO centers in US --Raleigh and Poughkeepsie. However, recently we have started running some of these outside of the US, in particular countries based in the Growth Market Unit (GMU), such as India, Turkey, Russia, China, and Brazil. I managed such a project in Brazil two years ago and truly enjoyed it. So when Richard Baird, Vice President, WebSphere Customer Value and Competitive Initiatives, mentioned he was considering sponsoring a Redbooks project in Turkey, I jumped at the opportunity.

Holding Redbooks residencies in GMU-based countries is a major skill attainment vehicle for these countries. These countries have typically a much younger IT workforce. Each year, thousands of new IT graduates are joining the IBM workforce and these people have massive technical enablement needs.

There were several candidates for the Redbooks topic, and after some discussions, WebSphere Application Server Migration Guide was selected. We were going to update the WebSphere Application Server V7: Competitive Migration Guide for the new migration capabilities that are available with IBM WebSphere Application Server Migration Toolkit V3.5 (Migration Toolkit). The Migration Toolkit is a suite of tools that can help you quickly and cost-effectively migrate to WebSphere Application Server V7, V8, or V8.5. You can migrate from a previous version of WebSphere Application Server or a competitive application server, including Apache Tomcat Server, JBoss Application Server, Oracle Application Server, and Oracle WebLogic Server. The WebSphere Application Server V7: Competitive Migration Guide, which I co-authored in 2010, was based on the first version of the Migration Toolkit. When it was time to update this book, we created the WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Migration Guide:


The front cover


Let the project start!
We "kicked off" the project on May 14 at IBM Istanbul. We had an impressive team consisting of clients, IBM Business Partners, and IBMers:



  • 2 local clients: Ersan (Akbank) and Hakan (GarantiBank)
  • 3 local partners: Kurtcebe (Sadeyazilim), Sinan (Eteration), Tayfun (VBT)
  • 6 IBMers: Burak, Hatice, Levent (IBM Turkey), Dave, Ross (IBM UK), and Rispna (IBM USA)


Dave and Ross are WebSphere developers from IBM Hursley in the UK and they joined to team to help write the Redbooks and also provide skills-transfer to the local team. The following picture shows the residency team:



Left to right: Hakan Yildirim, Levent Kaya, Tayfun Yurdagul, Burak Cakil, Ersan Arik, Sinan Konya, Vasfi Gucer, Dave Vines, Kurtcebe Eroglu, Ross Pavitt, Hatice Meric (not shown: Rispna Jain) - click image to enlarge


So, our Istanbul adventure started, which is probably not as exciting as the Istanbul scenes in the latest Bond movie Skyfall 007, but nevertheless still quite a valuable experience. After discussing the content outline with product management, development, and the residency team we decided on the following table of contents for the WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Migration Guide:




  • Chapter 1. Overview of WebSphere Application Server V8.5
  • Chapter 2. Migration strategy and planning
  • Chapter 3. Common migration issues
  • Chapter 4. Installation and configuration of the Application Migration Tools
  • Chapter 5. Differences between Eclipse and Rational Application Developer
  • Chapter 6. Migrating from Oracle WebLogic
  • Chapter 7. Migrating from Oracle Application Server
  • Chapter 8. Migrating from JBoss
  • Chapter 9. Migrating from Apache Tomcat
  • Chapter 10. Application Framework migration
  • Chapter 11. Installation and configuration of the Application Migration Tool - WebSphere Version to Version
  • Chapter 12. Migrating from earlier versions of WebSphere Application Server
  • Appendix A. Migration questionnaires


We decided to write a practical reference book for migration specialists, but the biggest challenge was to find meaningful and realistic applications that we could use to show the capabilities of the Migration Toolkit. We did not want to use the same applications from the original book, and most of the applications we found on the Internet had license restrictions, so we ended up writing most of the sample applications during the residency. You can download these applications from the Additional Materials section of the book.




In the middle of a heated discussion: Dave and Ross are explaining a scenario - click image to enlarge


My impressions with the Migration Toolkit
So having worked extensively on the Migration Toolkit during this project, what are my impressions?




  • I found the Migration Toolkit V3.5 vastly improved compared to V1, which we used in the original book. It will be your best friend when migrating from Apache Tomcat Server, JBoss Application Server, Oracle Application Server, and Oracle WebLogic Server.

  • Among the scenarios, the only case that Migration Manager provided limited help was Framework migration. This is covered in "Chapter 10 Application Framework", where we present two migration scenarios, for Seam and Spring. In these scenarios we used Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software as a build and test environment.

  • You can upgrade the version of Java™ SE by using the Migration Toolkit, but this way does not change the Java EE specification requirements of your application. If you decide to upgrade the Java EE level of your application, you can use the Java EE specifications upgrade wizard within the Rational Application Developer. However, specification migration is best done after the platform migration, because WebSphere Application Server is backward-compatible for earlier Java EE versions.

  • We cover Apache Tomcat 7.0.27 to WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Liberty Profile in Chapter 9. We show that the Migration Toolkit provides useful instructions about simple applications, and it shows an even greater benefit when migrating applications that use a larger number of features and configurations that are specific to Apache Tomcat.

  • In the original book, we did not cover WebSphere Application Server version-to-version migration, but in this newer book we dedicated two chapters for it. Although we found that migrating applications between versions of the WebSphere Application Server is straightforward, some applications, such as those using a third-party web services engine can be more complicated. With some care, migration of such applications is still easy to achieve.


We did not forget the videos!
During the project we shot a video with our executive sponsor Richard Baird. He shared his views about why our clients should consider migrating to WebSphere Application Server V8.5 and how Migration Toolkit and this IBM Redbooks publication can help them with this migration.

At the end of the project, we also created a farewell video with some members of the residency team. They talked about their experiences working with this project.

I would like to hear your comments or questions about this book. You can contact me at or on Twitter: @vasfigucer. I am looking forward to my next GMU Redbooks project, who knows where!

Vasfi Gucer is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He leads publications creation about Tivoli, WebSphere, and Cloud Computing.





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