The WebSphere Migration Tools – The Hidden Gem


Well then, it comes as no surprise that one of my first posts will be on a WebSphere related topic. I meant to write about this earlier but had no time over the last few months, but a recent project required me to work with a client on a WebSphere migration and go over the tools and their usefulness with them – so I decided to go back and briefly talk about the WebSphere Migration Tools and how they can me useful not only for migrations …

 

Where to get them:

The tools are made up of three parts, all of them are available at the IBM WebSphere/Liberty Developer site: https://developer.ibm.com/wasdev/

Just go to the [DOWNLOADS] area and do a search on [MIGRATION] and you can download them all.

Note1:
Just be aware of one thing - if you install Eclipse (needed for all tools except the Binary command line tool) you can also just download them from IBM's Marketplace/Update site inside of Eclipse and install it directly - here is the URL for that site:
https://public.dhe.ibm.com/ibmdl/export/pub/software/websphere/wasdev/updates/wamt/MigrationToolkit/
Note2:
Just make sure you also install a Java J2EE environment inside of Eclipse as the tools require that to run correctly ....

The Tool Set

Basically there are four tools:

WebSphere Application Server Migration Toolkit

You need Eclipse to run this – it will analyze applications in the context of different migration scenarios (source system and target system) . This is the list of scenarios it can help you with: This tool will help you do most of what you need to do ….

  • Cloud Migration Tool
  • WebSphere Version to Version Application Migration Tool
  • Apache Tomcat to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • JBoss to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • Oracle to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • WebLogic to WebSphere Application Migration Tool
  • Apache Tomcat to Liberty Configuration Migration Tool
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: JBoss
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: WebLogic
  • WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool: WebSphere to Liberty
WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool for IBM Cloud

This will also require Eclipse – the main difference is that it only uses the cloud as a target system – I have tested itonce or twice and it creates a great clone of your current system in IBM’s cloud infrastructure. You need to have an active cloud/Bluemix account to be able to use this.

WebSphere Configuration Migration Tool

This is my go-to tool to see if I can “just upgrade” a server/servers as is or if I will have problems …. the tool gives you a wsadmin command to run on the originating server (if it is WebSphere) that give you an output file – that you then import and the rest is “magic”.

Migration Toolkit for Application Binaries

A command line tool that will quickly analyze existing applications – it will tell you quickly if an existing app will run on a newer (or different) platform and/or what problems might exist.

Note: I often use this tool to analyse apps when trouble-shooting them on WebSphere – it’s not just useful for a migration/upgrade! I have often used this tool to figure out what Java jars are in an application and if there are any old opensource (and possibly incompatible) versions inside. Try this with the [-inventory] switch and then hand the report to the developer ….

 

Other Resource:

This is a great presentation on the tools and how they work. It is a bit long, but it will give you most of the details you need to get a start with these tools and learn how to use them. They are quite straight forward and not hard to use, it is the results they give you that cause the prolonged episodes of head scratching ….

WebSphere – The backupConfig script your friend


This is just a short post – But the built-in utility you get with the backupConfig script is worth looking into for everybody!

if you have worked with WebSphere for any significant time you have come across the built-in backup and restore utility that each WebSphere server has by default: [backupconfig.bat] or on Unix/Linux [backupconfig.sh] and the corresponding restore scripts [restoreConfig.bat] and [restoreConfig.sh]. 

At my current client we are working on application customizations and testing them on new servers. This is where the backupConfig comes in handy as it does not just back-up your application server(s) but the deployment manager and all the node(s) configuration as well – so you can replay a whole server configuration along with the installed applications and any application specific configuration. backupConfig can also be used to migrate servers from one piece of hardware to another (or VM server or, …. any combination is possible).

The process is simple: find the scripts in the [/bin] folder of either the Dmgr or the node,  execute the script and it will check your servers configuration, stop all server instances including nodeagents and then create a zip file of ALL files necessary for the back-up – and all of this wonderfulness is  unencumbered by the human thought process … 🙂

Whenever I am about to install a new application, install any fixes or make configuration changes to a WebSphere  server I run the backupConfig script once first and keep a copy of the zip file it created on a local machine – just to be safe.

Where to run:

Depending on your architecture you can run it on the Deployment Manager and/or all nodes. When you run it on the Deployment manager it will grab all the configuration for the Dmgr, nodes and application servers in one go. This is essential if you have to restore an environment. On a managed node (separate HW) it will capture the configuration and applications installed on that physical node – so you might need to run it on each physical WebSphere server in your environment once to get a total base back-up. Once I have that I usually just run the scripts on the deployment manager as most of the work happens there anyway and all changes are synchronized out to the nodes.

Restores:

On windows it is simple – just run the restoreConfig script and tell it which zip file to use … and presto. On Unix/Linux you have to think a bit more. The backupConfig script does not keep any file rights or ownership information, when restoring it basically sets the file ownership to the account being used to run the script – so make sure you are using the same account and have read/write rights to the folders involved. 

Here is the link to the documentation in the WebSphere Infocenter – I hope you find it useful and make a back-up of your servers soon!

Technotics launches new web site – announces new cloud services


http://www.andypedisich.com/blogs/andysblog.nsf/dx/technotics-launches-new-web-site-announces-new-cloud-services.htm

I read this post early this morning in the train on my way to work.

HIGH TIME Andy and Rob did this!

Both Andy and Rob are well known in the Lotus/IBM community for their expertiese, experience, vision and skill. I think with this new offering Technotics is hitting the nerve of the Shakespearian question many clients face: “To go, or not to go.” What I particularly like is that they preface the whole process with a fact finding session/process that first tries to answer the more important queestion: namely where to actually go to (= the goal, the required outcome, the Nirvana destination). Otherwise the experience would be akin to trying to go on vacation without determining where to go before you leave and trying to get all the reservations done on the way to the airport – and changing the departure airport you have to get to while you are sitting in the car.

I wish them the best of luck – though knowing them they probably have this process nailed down to the point where they can get out of bed at 10 AM, have a coffee, do a little bit of magic/pixie dust work and then go fishing in the afternoon followed by some phone calls before dinner (can you hear the envy in my vitual voice?)

If you are a company looking for assistance – go talk to Andy. If you are a tech guy/girl who was aproached by a client – send them to Andy and Rob, you will be pleased with the outcome.

Full Disclosure: no rodents (virtual or real) where harmed in the course of this blog post and I am NOT involved in Technotics in any way – (hint, hint, hint) . . .

Lotus Notes 8.5.2 code error – The Tale of Regression


 

I am part of a Domino migration at a large client in the financial/insurance industry and we have been moving applications from Domino 6.5.5 to version 8.5.2 FP1. I know, there are newer versions out there but you can’t always upgrade blindly – this is going to be one of the stories why IN-DEPTH testing is so important.

The client has an application that has been around since R5 days, migrated and upgraded several times – both client and server versions and never an issue.

Suddenly we get reports (during testing – thank GOD!) that when using the app with the new client (LN 8.5.2 standard) that certain document do not get created – they vanish.

To make a L O N G story short – we opened a ticket with IBM support and after digging and prodding they produced this one for us:

(from the actual ticket)

******************* SUBSEQUENT CALL RECORD TEMPLATE  *******************
ACTION TAKEN:                                                           
Created a test DB in 85 and copied customer form and data.              
Found field “eml” caused the issue: SPR RDJS8APTK6.  

This is a regression error that made its way back into the Lotus notes 8.5.2 code stream. It was fixed in Notes 8.5.3 but if you are on 8.5.2 (no matter the FP level) you are snorked.

What we did

Since it is hard to determine with any certainty how many other applications out there might contain a filed called “eml” the decision was made to do a company wide, mid-project change and instead of rolling out Notes 8.5.2 we will be rolling out 8.5.3 and upgrading all workstations to which 8.5.2 has been deployed previously. A huge undertaking.

Had this not been found during testing it could have been very costly for my client.  As is, the change in scope will be massive and costly as well, but it beats having actual business processes interrupted and clients (actual consumers) be impacted.

So – the lessons everybody should take home from this:

  1. Test – always test even if it is a small point upgrade
  2. Test – with ALL server and client variations that you might have in your environment – do not skip anything
  3. Have test plans that are captured and documented across each scenario and can be compared apples-to-apples.
  4. DO NOT NAME ANY FIELDS, FORMS (or anything else for that matter)  IN YOUR APPLICATIONS “EML” – this error could possibly be re-introduced in a future code stream – you never know.

 

 

Domino 8.5.2 HF1 – the fix for the unread synch server crash


I would like to bring your attention to the SPR# RMAA88UAGF – server crashes when clients synchronize unread marks on Domino 8.5.2 servers.

I ran into this last week when we had some unexplainable server crashes for apparently no good reason – one of them happened when I was showing a help desk tech how to synchronize unread marks between replicas from the client. I investigated and the crash report that Domino gave me pointed me right to this error – now fixed in FP1. It is a regression bug and is not fixed in either of the previous hot fixes for the Domino 8.5.2 code stream. I had servers with both the SMTP patch and the interim fix (IF) as well – they all crashed at one time or another. I installed HF 1 on all servers and now they are safe from this issue – I tested it on all of them just to be on the safe side.

If you don’t have HF 1 installed yet – do it soon, this one can happen at anytime during  the day and there is no warning whatsoever. only a big “boom” when the server disappears from the face of the (electronic) earth. Incidentally, there are allot of other problems that are fixed in that HF as well – I suggest you look into it right away and consider upgrading all your Domino 8.5.2 servers soon.

BES Express for Domino in November – Announcement


This one comes courtesy of Volker Weber. I read one of his tweets about this and searched the web and came up with zilch – I contacted him and it seems it was announced interactively by RIM at an IBM function in Stuttgart that he (I assume) attended.

Exciting news indeed!! Lets see what November brings. I am sure that there will be some official pres release by RIM soon – I can’t wait to ditch my current Small Business BES that is eternally stuck at 4.1.4 and upgrade/migrate to the Express version.

Domino 8.5.2 with SMTP HF is in


Finally! I spent all of 25 minutes yesterday to upgrade my main Domino server to 8.5.2 with the new HF for SMTP that came out yesterday. I waited on this fix and all I can say is that the upgrade (from 8.5.1 FP4) was quick, simple and even the old HW that my server runs on had no issue with it. What took the longest was the download of the Domino install (15 minutes) and everything else was quick.

I do have clients that want to wait until FP1 comes out – somewhat short-sighted but I do understand some hesitation. That is exactly why I did not upgrade my servers immediately when the new version came out – I like to wait and see what issues and downright problems are found by those braver than me. Once I see a lull – then I go ahead and make a decision.

So, if Mr cautious did it last night while watching TV and sipping a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and upgrading Symantec on another server, what are you waiting for?