If you are anything like me – you have probably ignored the Configuration Wizard capability in WebSphere Portal since it was first introduced in v6.x. It was a feature with much promise … yet it was pretty much unusable in most real-world installation scenarios. Over the years IBM made great strides to simplify base WebSphere Portal installation. However, I always felt that running the configuration tasks (database transfer, enabling security, etc.) was still for an experienced portal administrator. Not anymore. With the new WebSphere Portal v8.5 – configurations got (dare I say it?) … Intuitive. Having used the configuration wizard in a recent customer engagement (installing a development environment) – I am not going back to the old ways of modifying wkplc.properties files.
How does the configuration wizard work? Quoting from the IBM documentation:
In the Configuration Wizard, you answer questions about the environment that you are configuring. Based on your answers, the wizard then prompts you for custom values that are needed to configure your environment. Finally, the wizard generates custom steps and scripts to set up your environment.
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Customers and IT departments no longer need administrators with deep portal experience to deploy sandbox, development or even small scale production environments. The configuration wizard has been developed as a web application hosted on the WebSphere Application Sever and can run on any browser.
I believe that the configuration wizard, used together with the new IBM Roadmaps (another new feature that I really like), will provide immediate costs savings and improve the efficiency of your portal administration team.
Real world configuration wizard use
Last week, we installed WebSphere Portal v8.5 for our customer (I like early adopters) on AIX. I have always been a skeptic of the configuration wizard feature of WP. Always relied on my past experiences to work directly off the wkplc.properties file. This time around I wanted to see if it had gotten any better. To our pleasant surprise – using the config wizard was ridiculously easy. We then performed database transfer, set up a cluster (with single node), and added an Active Directory federated LDAP repository – all using the configuration wizard. We did not even have to look at WP documentation (atleast not much). The wizard just took care of things for me. Here is how it works.
- Configuration Wizard is a web application installed by default during WebSphere Portal installation. It is installed on the cw_profile (an instance of server1 essentially) that gets created as a part of the WP v8.5 installation.
- You can access it by using the URL http://hostname:10200/ibm/wizard
- It offers you several options including:
- Standalone vs Clustered server
- Database transfer
- Enable Federated Security
- Migrate environments
- Use the WebSphere Portal Roadmaps to choose the right set of options for you
- In the end – the wizard generates
- XML file that contains all the selections that you made for reuse later
- A set of configuration scripts that you can use to run the configuration manually or on another environment
- You then have the option of running a series of steps described by the configuration wizard that accomplishes the desired configuration task
Note: Some of the steps involved in the configuration were manual (such as creating the database users). We did have a couple of hiccups along the way during database-transfer and enable-federated-ldap-security. I would attribute it to some gaps in the documentation mostly. But mostly the wizard made our work easier. In summary, the configuration wizard feature in WebSphere Portal v8.5 is a much improved feature that empowers customers with the ability to install WPS on their own – without having to rely on external help. I urge you (especially portal administrators) to re-look at this feature – which has long been relegated. If you have any questions or comments – please post them here. I would be happy to discuss my experiences with you. If you like this post – follow us on Twitter @Perficient_IBM and like us on Facebook here.