In an IBM Connections environment, there are many moving parts, most of which are dependent on each other. Poor performance or availability of one element can lead to a poor user experience overall.
The critical elements that can affect IBM Connections functionality are
- Database server
- IBM HTTP Server
- WebSphere servers being able to access the shared data area on an accessible networked location
The critical elements that can affect IBM Connections performance are
- LDAP performance
- Database server performance
- Database performance
- IBM HTTP Server performance and caching
Database server performance
The databases and database servers are the primary dependency for your IBM Connections environment.
The databases themselves and the database servers are responsible for serving up the data in the IBM Connections environment. Loss of database data, inaccessible databases, or poor server performance affects the whole user experience. Consider that if the databases or database server is going to be brought off-line, this must be coordinated with downtime on the IBM Connections environment.
The database servers should always be deployed in a high availability configuration to lesson the risk of system downtime. DB2, SQL Server, and Oracle all have high availability options and the licensing for IBM Connections includes limited DB2 HADR options.
The LDAP servers are responsible for authenticating users who are attempting to log into the Connections environment as well lookups throughout the applications. Poor performing LDAP servers will be reflected in a slow IBM Connections user experience. Inaccessible LDAP servers will prevent users from logging in at all.
The following IBM Connections elements are LDAP dependent:
- WebSphere servers hosting IBM Connections use LDAP to authenticate users and also throughout the system to perform lookups
- Cognos Server uses LDAP to authenticate users who are trying to access reports
- Tivoli Directory Integrator uses LDAP to synchronize user data into the Profiles application, this is either done via manually scheduled tasks or through continuously running Assemblyline
If you do not have multiple LDAP servers configured on your network to resolve to a single host name, you can use the federated repository configuration inside the Integrated Solutions Console to set up multiple failover servers in case your primary server becomes unavailable.
One key thing to avoid in LDAP directories is the use of heavily nested groups for assigning membership or ownership throughout the IBM Connections environment. LDAP lookups perform particularly slowly against nested groups and that will be reflected in the user experience.
The availability and performance of dynamic name server (DNS) is critical for both the user accessing the Connections environment and the servers attempting to communicate between each other to provide services.
As you can see from the figure below, DNS availability and performance is critical to all aspects of your IBM Connections environment.
- In any WebSphere environment, all the servers must be able to communicate amongst each other and they do this using the fully qualified host names for each server that were in place when the servers were installed.
- The IBM HTTP Server uses its plugin configuration file that contains the fully qualified host names of each WebSphere Application Server server to redirect traffic to the correct one hosting the application being requested.
- The WebSphere Application Server servers will attempt to connect to the databases using the fully qualified host name that they have been given for locating the enterprise database server.
- Authentication onto the IBM Connections environment is done through LDAP and the LDAP server is found using a DNS lookup of the LDAP host name as defined in the Deployment Manager’s configuration.
In any network environment, not every request is looked up every time from the DNS servers and in fact many requests , especially those on the IHS server, are cached from previous lookups. However, a poor performing or unavailable DNS will cause the Connections environment to slow down, start throwing errors, and eventually fail completely.