In the past few years, we have seen a lot of our new and existing customers show interest in having someone else run their WebSphere Portal infrastructure. They’re happy with their investment in Portal, but may have any number of reasons why they don’t want to manage it themselves anymore.
As you start to talk to cloud providers, you’ll get a wide variety of responses on how they’ll actually support WebSphere Portal. It’s easy enough for any provider to say “yes, we’ll support WebSphere Portal”, but what does that really mean?
Many will basically support the underlying infrastructure, but not touch WebSphere Portal. They’ll rely on someone else to do that, and may have a partner like Perficient that they’ll recommend to provide those services. Other providers have started to add in-house services around WebSphere Portal (and WebSphere Commerce) to address the more common services.
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Once you identify a few cloud providers to approach, here are a few questions to get the conversation started and find out exactly what they will and will not do with WebSphere Portal:
Will the provider:
- Install, cluster, configure, and secure WebSphere Portal?
- Migrate your existing Portal into their new infrastructure?
- Perform fixpack and patch maintenance?
- Monitor performance externally only (e.g. response time of URLs, CPU or memory utilization), or also monitor metrics from PMI within the JVM?
- Deploy portlet applications to each of the environments?
- Perform “routine” portal changes such as creating or updating pages, etc?
- Execute XMLAccess scripts to promote changes through SDLC environments?
- Open and work PMRs with IBM as necessary?
- Expose the logs to developers? Do they have to SSH into each server, or do they provide an optional log management product to index and consolidate logs?
- Provide a mechanism to quickly create new Portal instances (for POC, development, or scaling purposes)? Warning: this also has Portal licensing implications.
- Host and support other dependent software, such as reverse proxies (e.g. Tivoli Access Manager), content management systems, enterprise search software or appliances, etc?
Ultimately you, the cloud vendor, and potentially another services provider will have to agree upon the roles and responsibilities. But the offerings are now mature enough that it is worth exploring, and you should have no problem getting multiple quotes for comparable services. Now, the tough part might be determining exactly how much it is costing you to run Portal today!
Let us know if you’ve had any positive or negative experiences with moving WebSphere Portal to a cloud vendor.