WebSphere Migration Strategy

As you consider the future of your WebSphere applications, how will you innovate to support social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies to better serve your customers?

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Light-weight runtime

The WebSphere Application Server product now has an option of a light-weight application server: WebSphere Liberty  - opens in new window or tab.

Liberty has a small, dynamic kernel and a set of pluggable features which provide an exact fit for each application. Each server instance runs only the features that the application needs, making it an ideal runtime for shared environments like container and cloud systems. The broad set of available features (including all of Java EE7) allows Liberty to support a full spectrum of applications: from the smallest microservice to the most capable SOA application.

Liberty provides a highly efficient development runtime, with 2-3 second restarts, fast application start, and fully dynamic updates for applications and configuration (no server restarts required). The configuration is very small and simple, and can all be contained in a single XML file.

When compared with open source servers  - opens in new window or tab, Liberty gives a better return on investment and more efficient development and administration.

Flexible configuration

WebSphere Liberty  - opens in new window or tab is a lightweight server option within the WebSphere Application Server product.

The Liberty server configuration is very simple and flexible. The human-readable XML configuration can all be placed in a single file, or it can be structured in any way that suits your operations by using separate files that are included into parent files. These included files can be located on the local file system where the server is running, or hosted on the network, or can even be accessed from a source code control system, in fact anywhere that can be specified using a URL.

The individual configuration files can be owned by different teams; for example the network team can specify the port values, the security team can specify the security settings in their file, the operations team can provide the configuration that is common to all applications, while the development team provides the custom values for their application. All the files can be versioned and audited through source code control, and application delivery is not delayed  - opens in new window or tab by the need for custom configuration on the deployment system.

Container portability

Container systems like Docker  - opens in new window or tab allow an application and all its dependencies to be bundled into a single image that is independent of the underlying Linux version, platform distribution, or deployment model. It is more light-weight and faster to start and stop than a virtual machine. The image can be moved between container hosting systems without requiring any changes. This means you can move an application container through multiple environments for development, test, performance measurement and production without any updates or reconfiguration. It also provides a wide choice of deployment environments, again without any change to the image or the system configuration. Docker is only supported on Linux systems.

To use Docker you would need to modify your dev/ops processes to package the application and configuration into a Docker image. Also, you would not have to use your existing WebSphere topology to manage the running servers, although Liberty servers in Docker containers can be intelligently managed in a Collective. Generally, these would be managed as scalable server instances in the Docker hosting system. Different hosting systems (or 'Docker engines') have varying capabilities for scaling, failover, persistent file systems etc.

This is a good choice if you want to control the configuration and have extensive portability.

Hosting to reduce capex

Cloud hosting has economies of scale that can reduce both your capital and operating expenses. Multi-tenant, or public, cloud offerings tend to offer the largest savings, but even single-tenant systems, which provide the best isolation and predictable throughput, can provide significant reductions in cost.

This smart spreadsheet  - opens in new window or tab can help you to estimate the possible savings from a variety of cloud hosted WebSphere offerings.

Your application may have dependencies on other processes, like a database or LDAP server, which can affect how readily it can be moved to a different datacenter. Free tools  - opens in new window or tab can scan your application to provide information about such co-location concerns to help you decide whether to move your application and other components into the cloud.

Good fit for Liberty

Liberty supports the full Java EE 7 programming model, as well as some additional standards and WebSphere APIs. There are still some differences between Liberty and WebSphere traditional that can affect how easily an application will move from the traditional runtime. In general, web, mobile and web service applications move quite easily to Liberty. Applications using Entity Beans, or remote calls to Enterprise JavaBeans, will require more effort to move so may not be a good fit.

Free tools  - opens in new window or tab can scan your application and help you assess how easily it will move to Liberty, as well as help you make necessary changes. There is also information available  - opens in new window or tab on the differences to consider beyond the API; aspects like management and security capabilities.

Managed platform

A Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering like Cloud Foundry allows users to develop and run applications without needing to build and maintain a management environment. It can provide a self-service system for application development teams.

There are some restrictions to consider in a PaaS environment, but it is a good choice if:

The Cloud Migration Toolkit  - opens in new window or tab can assess your application for suitability to run in a PaaS environment.

Liberty in Docker using IBM Container Service

Run your Liberty Docker images  - opens in new window or tab in the IBM Containers service  - opens in new window or tab (ICS) as a single container, as a scaled group, or as part of a multi-container application using Docker Compose. ICS provides many services including a private image repository and IP addresses for your organisation, persistent file volumes, and built-in monitoring and logging.

Many of the application services in the Bluemix catalog  - opens in new window or tab can be bound directly to a container; others can be bridged using an application in Bluemix Instant Runtimes.

A Liberty Docker image  - opens in new window or tab is provided in ICS, or you can build your own Liberty Docker image and put it into your private Docker registry in ICS.

Liberty in Docker using Docker Data Center

WebSphere has first-class support  - opens in new window or tab for use with Docker. Liberty Docker images  - opens in new window or tab are available from Docker Hub, and IBM provides Docker subscriptions and support so you can get everything you need from a single, trusted vendor.

Docker Data Center  - opens in new window or tab (DDC) combines supported Docker engines with Swarm, Trusted Registry and Universal Control Plane (UCP) to provide a complete, secure, enterprise-grade Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) solution. DDC can be used in your own data center or on a public cloud.

Liberty Docker images can also be used with other Docker hosting environments such as kubernetes and mesos in your data center and in public clouds like Amazon Web Services  - opens in new window or tab and EC2  - opens in new window or tab, and Microsoft Azure.

Liberty Buildpack using Bluemix App Runtimes

App Runtimes on Bluemix  - opens in new window or tab are based on Cloud Foundry. Cloud Foundry is an open source cloud Platform as a Service on which developers can build, deploy, run, and scale applications. It's an ideal platform for web applications. With this infrastructure, you develop and manage only your application, and Bluemix takes care of the management and maintenance of the infrastructure that powers those apps.

Bluemix has an extensive catalog  - opens in new window or tab, where developers can discover and use a broad range of IBM and third-party services. These meet the more traditional needs of Java applications, like data storage, session cache and message queues. There are also many modern and compelling services that can be used to make applications more exciting: geolocation, Watson analytics and translation, social media connections and many more. These services help to make Bluemix Instant Runtimes the platform for the fastest creation and deployment of new applications.

Bluemix Instant Runtimes are available in public, dedicated  - opens in new window or tab and local  - opens in new window or tab options. The Liberty Buildpack  - opens in new window or tab and Cartridge  - opens in new window or tab are also available if you want to run Liberty in your private Pivotal Cloud Foundry or Open Shift Enterprise PaaS.

Liberty Collective using WebSphere for Bluemix

A Liberty Collective is the management system for Liberty Java and StrongLoop Node instances, that is provided by the WebSphere product. Collectives are lightweight and highly scalable, and provide management of large numbers of applications from a central point.

Liberty Collective topologies are available through the WebSphere for Bluemix service  - opens in new window or tab. A collective topology is available at the click of a button, and can be rented by the hour or covered by your existing WebSphere license. It is an ideal choice for immediate or short-term needs, but can also be a great way to reduce your operating costs over the long term. There are options for shared and single-tenant systems, with high-speed connections to your data center to securely access backend systems.

If you don't need the management capabilities of the Collective, you can also get standalone Liberty Server instances through the WebSphere for Bluemix service.

Even if you want to keep your main production in your data center, WebSphere for Bluemix is a great option to consider for extra short-term capacity like application migration and testing.

Liberty Collective using Local Data Center

A Liberty Collective is the management system for Liberty Java and Strongloop Node instances, that is provided by the WebSphere product. Collectives are lightweight and highly scalable, and provide management of large numbers of applications from a central point.

A Collective can be set up quickly and is very flexible. Configuration is simple and file-based and integrates easily with UrbanCode Deploy  - opens in new window or tab or your choice of dev/ops tools. Standard monitoring interfaces mean that many monitoring products are supported with Liberty.

If you don't need the management capabilities of the Collective, you can also run standalone Liberty server instances and manage them with your own scripts, but remember that the licensing for the Collective is very flexible. You may only need a single ND license to manage a large number of Liberty servers.

WAS traditional in Docker using IBM Container Service

There are many good reasons to move to a recent version of traditional WebSphere. It has the latest Java standards, the richest management capabilities of any application server, and world-beating performance.

Combining this highly reliable Java runtime with the portability of Docker and the capabilities of the IBM Containers service  - opens in new window or tab (ICS) can deliver a modernized, efficient dev/ops system with minimal changes to your existing applications, and cost savings through cloud economies of scale.

Run your WebSphere traditional Docker images in ICS as a single container, as a scaled group, or as part of a multi-container application using Docker Compose. ICS provides many services including a private image repository and IP addresses for your organisation, persistent file volumes, and built-in monitoring and logging.

WAS traditional in Docker using Docker Data Center

There are many good reasons to move to a recent version of traditional WebSphere. It has the latest Java standards, the richest management capabilities of any application server, and world-beating performance. Combining this highly reliable Java runtime with the portability of Docker and the management of Docker Data Center can deliver a modernized, efficient dev/ops system with minimal changes to your existing applications.

WebSphere has first-class support  - opens in new window or tab for use with Docker, and Docker files are provided to help you build images using traditional WebSphere. IBM provides Docker subscriptions and support  - opens in new window or tab so you can get everything you need, including Docker Data Center, from a single, trusted vendor.

Docker Data Center  - opens in new window or tab can be installed in your data center or on a public cloud. Docker Data Center combines supported Docker engines with Swarm, Trusted Registry and Universal Control Plane to provide a complete, enterprise-grade Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) solution.

WebSphere Docker images can also be used with other Docker hosting environments such as kubernetes and mesos in your data center, and in public clouds like Amazon Web Services  - opens in new window or tab and EC2  - opens in new window or tab, and Microsoft Azure.

WAS traditional Cell using WebSphere for Bluemix

There are many good reasons to move to a recent version of traditional WebSphere. It has the latest Java standards, the richest management capabilities of any application server, and world-beating performance.

WebSphere cell topologies are available through the WebSphere for Bluemix service  - opens in new window or tab. A cell topology is available at the click of a button, and can be rented by the hour or covered by your existing WebSphere license. It is an ideal choice for immediate or short-term needs but can also be a great way to reduce your operating costs over the long term. There are options for shared and single-tenant systems, with high-speed connections to your data center to securely access backend systems.

Use the WebSphere for Bluemix service to rapidly 'lift and shift' existing workloads to the cloud with minimal change, and reduce your running costs quickly.

WAS traditional Cell using Local Data Center

There are many good reasons to move to a recent version of traditional WebSphere. It has the latest Java standards, the richest management capabilities of any application server, and world-beating performance.

The latest versions of WebSphere include Intelligent Management capabilities which can provide more efficient use of your computing resources and can reduce the cost of administration.

Moving to a recent version of WAS traditional and staying in your data center will be the easiest migration path and still brings a lot of benefits. For more information on a traditional version-to-version migration of WebSphere, see the Knowledge Collection for Websphere Migration  - opens in new window or tab

Liberty Collectives

Liberty Collectives include a number of intelligent management capabilities:

Flexible licensing means you only pay for the management capabilities that each application needs. More important applications can get full automation under the WAS ND license, while less critical, simple applications can still be centrally managed but use a lower cost WAS Liberty Core license. All members of the collective can use dynamic routing.

Collectives can even manage Liberty servers that are packaged in Docker containers, so you can combine container portability through your dev/ops flow with the Liberty knowledge of the Collective for the best management capabilities in your production system.

Recent WebSphere Benefits

Current versions of WebSphere support the latest Java standards and have the highest ever performance. Java EE 6 provided many simplifications for application programmers, and Java EE 7 delivers extensive options for efficient asynchronous programming techniques. Lower down in the stack, using Java SE 8 gives you a more secure system.

WebSphere has introduced a number of programming models over the years, to fill gaps in the public specifications. Your investment is protected, and you can continue to use the traditional platform for those nonstandard or deprecated APIs that are not included in Liberty.

Moving to WebSphere Application Server v8.5 and v9 is made easier with new clone migration techniques. If you are using UrbanCode Deploy, it includes capabilities to move your existing configuration to the latest version of WebSphere.

Scan your applications with free tools  - opens in new window or tab to understand differences between the versions and apply quick fixes to your code.