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Most organizations are aware of the standard implementation of IBM WebSphere Portal (WP) cluster topology, which provides enterprise portals with high availability and centralized administration. Today's buzz on Cloud computing enables enterprises of all sizes to deliver business with faster time-to-market by leveraging the flexibility of cloud based easy-to-launch environments. Certain key economic reasons, for which customers might prefer cloud-based portal implementation over on premise, are innovative pricing model - lower cost of ownership you pay for only what you need, leveraging shared platform services, capability to launch consistent, repeatable deployments, pre-installed to a virtual image, durable resilient environment and elastic infrastructure.
In some Portal Cloud architectures, traditional Web Sphere clustered servers may not be best suited for the constructs used in cloud infrastructure and varying operations level needs. The existing IBM WebSphere Portal Farm topology types (Unique Installations and Shared File System), are considered not as replacement but as a possible alternate and cost-effective option to clustering.
Let us understand the application of a new approach (Instance Cloning) to enterprise wide IBM WebSphere Portal Farm deployment solution on Cloud. It is an amalgamation of the strengths of Cloud Services Architecture and IBM Web Sphere Portal Farm Topology; to derive a scalable, robust and proven architecture.
Portal Farm instance cloning addresses customer's business needs while offering a high availability portal solution. Additionally, it includes the consideration for IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) Configuration with the subscriber, listener and syndication aspects. This is a proven architecture deployment performed on the latest edition of IBM WebSphere Portal V8.
Traditional clustering of IBM WebSphere Portal comprises a Cell topology with Deployment Manager and multiple Portal instance node (placed across servers horizontally or on the same server vertically) sharing a common database domains. Deployment Manager manages cell with inter-server, inter-node, and inter-process coordination. Mostly organizations prefer Portal clustering topology. However, based on your business requirement, there might be an alternative in certain cases – Portal farming.
The term ‘farm’ refers to a series of identically configured, standalone server instances. The fact that they are standalone enables the farm to be increased or decreased in size without having to worry about complex cluster configurations or inter-server awareness. Server farms offer a very simple way to build and maintain a highly scalable, easily available server environment. Creating the farm requires an established content subscriber, two or more installed instances of IBM® WebSphere® Portal, and a configured Web server for load balancing.
Highlights of Portal Farming are:
Maintenance of Portal Farm
Scale Up/Scale Down
If using Amazon Web Service cloud, portal farm clients can auto scale via Amazon Auto Scaling. Alternatively, the scaling operation can be automated via creating scripts. To Scale Up, launch HTTP & Portal servers from AMIs, modify HTTP WAS Plugin for additional portal instances using Clone IDs of Farm client and restart the HTTP Servers. To scale down, stop the WP and shutdown the Portal AMIs.
· Infrastructure and Operational Cost benefits
· Scale-Up and Scale-Down on Demand - dynamic expansion/contraction by addition/removal of instances based on
customer needs. Example, autonomic cloud scaling features such as Amazon Web Service's AutoScale
· Maximum utilization of infrastructure resources for Portal farm instances.
Realizing an IBM WebSphere Portal farm topology on the Amazon Cloud
Special note of thanks to the Technical Architects/Experts involved in the jointly designing of this topology:
Paul Kelsey, IBM WebSphere Portal and Web Content Manager Cloud Architect, IBM
Kaustubh Save, Corporate Architect, Tata Communications Ltd
Hari Ganesh, Cloud Architect, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd
Sujeeth M, IBM WebSphere Portal Specialist, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd
Kamna Puri is a Technology Consultant at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. She is a certified professional (ITIL, IBM and MS) with 13+ years of IT experience; with core competencies/experience on Project Management and Technology Platforms - IBM Collaboration Suite (ICS), that is, IBM WebSphere Portal & WCM and Connections, Domino Messaging and MS SharePoint. She is the author of various technical articles on external publications - IBM DeveloperWorks and Information Week. She also jointly presented technical track sessions on IBM WebSphere Portal on Cloud at IBM Digital Conference 2014 @ Anaheim, LA.
Amit Kumar is an enthusiast in System Administration with vast experience in IBM WebSphere Portal, WCM and Web security. Core activities includes Farm and other topologies design and implementation. Additionally, experience on server architectural design and solution implementations.