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In its leading role in social software, IBM® Connections has delivered more useful social components in the release 4.0, such as Metrics. This document provides recommendations for users to deploy IBM Connections in the proper topology with respect to performance and provides some recommendations to improve the performance.
Although this topic is documented in the Infocenter, this article intends to provide more specific details and graphics.
The number of users is the key issue to determining what sort of deployment is needed to run IBM Connections. Before starting to deploy IBM Connections, you need to size the number of users who will:
be recorded in your enterprise directory server, which is called registered users
use IBM Connections during a work day
interact with IBM Connections at any one time.
There are three types of deployments supported by the Connections Installer: Small, medium, or large deployment.
In the small deployment option, all applications are executed within a single machine. This is typically used for low-volume Connections deployments, such as those for proof-of-concepts.
Medium deployments offer considerably more scaling capabilities and support multiple clusters. You could select some of your components in one cluster, and the rest of them in other clusters, in a Medium deployment (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Medium deployment scenario
A large deployment also supports creating multiple clusters. It differs from a medium deployment in that applications do not share clusters; different applications are deployed to different clusters, which means one cluster hosts only one application (see figure 2).
Figure 2. Large deployment scenario
Beyond these three deployment types, there is also the extremely large deployment, in which the databases for applications are separated among different servers and there is a separate proxy server and IHS server as well.
Figure 3. Extremely large deployment scenario
NEW in v4.0:
IBM Connections 4.0 requires IBM WebSphere® Application Server 188.8.131.52 Network Deployment Edition.
If there are less than 1000 registered users, a single machine with small deployment is adequate. If the register users number larger than 1000, however, it's highly recommended to separate out your database tier from your application server.
If the registered users number larger than 10K, a single machine is usually not enough, and more cores and memory are required. In this case, it is better to us a medium Connections deployment and a reverse proxy cache to off-load traffic.
If the registered users number larger than 100K, the Connection deployment requires multiple nodes with a large topology, or an extremely large deployment, separating different features' databases among multiple servers as well as regional reverse proxy caches.
NEW in v4.0:
For better performance, it is no longer recommended to deploy IBM Connections on a 32-bit OS; v4.0 deployment is supported only on a 64-bit OS for any server.
Network file-share considerations
A shared file system has the potential for becoming a performance bottleneck. All the Connections 4.0 deployments used for the performance benchmarks used a remote file system, mapped over the network, for shared data.
In a clustered environment, IBM Connections uses a shared file system for storing some content. For Catalog Replication, if the incremental indexes are stored on the shared file system, make sure there is at least 100 MB left for it.
The same thing applies to Activity stream index replication, which needs at least 100 MB. Search is an extremely important component in IBM Connections, and its index staging directory need more disk space, potentially requiring several gigabytes.
In the default installation, the News application includes Common and Widget Containers, and it would be quite burdensome for the cluster if there's a large number of concurrent users.
If you already use the large topology for your Connections deployment, and want to get higher availability and capability for the Connections Web user interface features, it is suggested to move the Common and Widget Container applications to new clusters.
For more details on this, refer to the product documentation topic, “Separating Common and Widget Container applications from the News cluster
IBM Connections is powerful social software, able to provide different deployments to meet different requirements from different users. The key point of social software is the people. Thus, before you start to deploy IBM Connections, you need to size how many people will use it, and then select a proper deployment according to your sizing.
Proper deployment provides better performance and better user experiences, enabling more people to be more social.
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About the authors
Tian E Yang
is a Staff Software Engineer based at IBM's China Software Development Lab (CDL), where her current job is the installation/migration FVT Leader for IBM Connections. She has five years of experience in Web 2.0 social software testing and product installation / migration testing, as well as rich experience in automation testing. You can reach Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org
is a Staff Software Engineer working with the IBM Connections Install and Lotus Quickr Install teams in Shanghai, China. She has four years of experience in install technology and has extensive knowledge of WebSphere Application Server deployment and configuration. You can reach Jing at email@example.com.