The following figure shows the major software components in an IBM Connections 4 deployment:
IBM HTTP Server
The IBM HTTP Server is a front-end web server that provides the HTTP connection between the browser and the application server. A plug-in, generated by IBM WebSphere Application server, is deployed to the HTTP server to provide dynamic linking of the content.
Using an HTTP server instead of the one built into IBM WebSphere provides you options for off loading the processing, caching, and horizontal scaling.
IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment
IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment (ND) provides the functionality for application deployment and management across multiple physical and logical nodes. Using WebSphere Application Server ND is the best approach to provide future scalability of the solution onto other servers. It also allows the deployment to be split across multiple physical servers, but still be managed by a single user interface.
Relational database environment
The relational database systems (IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle) is the primary data store for the indexes and content displayed when the user works with IBM Connections. Note that it is not the only data store but is the primary one that the application talks to directly.
Tivoli Directory Integrator
Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) provides the essential linkage between the Profiles in IBM Connections, the LDAP directory, and other sources of information. TDI pulls the details about the authorized users from the LDAP V3-compliant system, such as IBM Domino or Microsoft Active Directory, and creates and manages records in the Profiles database in the database server. When the user logs in, the system looks for a Profile for the user being authenticated. It then uses that information for business card lookups, reporting chain management, and so on.
TDI is usually scripted to run automatically using a Scheduled Service or a cron job so that changes in the corporate directory are reflected in the IBM Connections environment. You can set the frequency of running updates based on your business need.
You can use TDI to integrate many different data sources into the Profiles environment. For example, you might want to pull in human resource information from a SAP environment and pick up employee photos from a file system. You can use TDI to create a scheduled workflow for this.
LDAP is not included in the IBM Connections installation but is a requirement in an IBM Connections deployment. IBM Connections uses an LDAP directory to authenticate user requites. It also uses LDAP directories to populate and manage the Profiles.
The LDAP integration is performed within IBM WebSphere Application Server as a "federated repository" and the WebSphere Application Server administration console provides all the tools and features to set this up and test it.
If your organization has a large LDAP directory, you might want to restrict the people who can authenticate and gain access to the IBM Connections environment. This is normally done by creating a group in the LDAP environment (such as an Active Directory group, or an Access Control group in Domino) and then setting up Federated Repositories to query against that group when the user tries to log in. The Active Directory or Domino administrator can then control access to Connections simply by adding and removing people from the group.
An SMTP server is recommended in an IBM Connections environment. This can be any standard SMTP server. It is used to send and receive notifications about new documents and other events in IBM Connections.
There is an important post-configuration step in the install which requires the changing of the sender email address so that it matches your organizations standards. It is also possible to customize the format and content of the email notifications. For more detail, see IBM developerWork article Customizing IBM Lotus Connections 3.0 email digests and notification