Dot-com Your AS/400 with WebSphere

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With the industry shifting focus from the clients and desktops to the Web and servers, the AS/400 has a new chance to shine. With WebSphere Application Server running on top of the integrated Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and accessing the integrated database, the AS/400 gives you a more stable platform and a more secure solution for running a dot-com business or storefront on the Internet. But that’s not all that you get. With WebSphere’s ability to take advantage of multiple processors, multiple instances, and even multiple machines, you can set up a site that can not only handle the traffic that you want but also give you the stability and throughput that you and your business need.

One of the biggest problems that anyone putting up a Web site has to deal with is closing off, or getting rid of, all the single points of failure. Using WebSphere to manage your site will help to remove some of those points and will increase your availability to your customers. WebSphere provides a stable and secure Web environment through the use of five technologies: workload management, load balancing, fault tolerance, clustering, and data mirroring. In this article, I’ll cover WebSphere’s implementation and use of these technologies and then describe topologies for deployment.


Workload Management


Workload management is a technology that allows you to create identical application servers that together present a single image of a server. All of the servers will have the same deployed application components on them (servlets, JavaServer Pages [JSPs], Enterprise JavaBeans [EJBs], etc.). This will allow any of the servers to handle any request that comes in. The request will not know which server will process it, nor will this information matter.

As a part of workload management, nodes represent a single physical machine that you have configured to run your applications on. You will run your clones of the application servers on these nodes. To do this, you need to make a model of your installed server. Make sure that you make this model after you have installed your servlets. You can add your servlets to your model after you make it, but it’s easier if you do it beforehand and test your environment.




Models are exactly what they sound like: snapshots of your application server environment. Models are then cloned so that the application can be represented on multiple servers. It is through the model that you are going to manage your workload management environment. If you want to add new Beans to your setup, you’ll add them to the model, and the changes will be propagated to the clones. You will also change environment variables, such as a parameter that gets passed into one of the applications that you have set up, and start/stop the clones from the model.


Snoop Example


As an example of workload management configuration, I’ll walk through the setup of a servlet. I’ll use the snoop servlet that is included with the default server. Note that I have already configured my HTTP server instance to talk with my instance of WebSphere and that I have two nodes (physical machines) in my setup: RCH111A for the full-service administration server, and RCH111B as the administration agent. Both are V4R4 machines with WebSphere installed on them.

First, I select my application server under my full-service administration server. You can select any level that you want, but these instructions apply to all of them. From this server, I right-click to bring up the context menu, select the Create option, and then select the Model option. There are a number of options that you can specify, but the one that you will be most concerned about is the Workload Management Selection Policy.

Available policies are Random, Round Robin, Random Prefer Local, and Round Robin Prefer Local. WLM uses the policy to select which server instance will handle an HTTP request. Random and Round Robin do pretty much what you’d expect, but their local derivations first attempt to use the same node as the workload-managed client before using a server instance residing on a remote node.

As shown in Figure 1, I chose Round Robin for this example. After making the model, I need to create some clones. The number of clones depends upon how much hardware you have. There is one job per clone, with all threads that are associated with that clone running under that job. So you need to balance that against the amount of memory and number of CPUs that you have. I am using three clones on one node (RCH111A) and two clones on the other node (RCH111B).

After setting up all of the clones, I restart the HTTP server instance. From the Administrative Console, I start up all the clones from the model. If I’ve configured my administration agents and HTTP server correctly, when I go to the URL for one of my servlets, the servlet will run on any of the clones based on the selection policy that I chose in my model.


Load Balancing


I’ll take a look at one of the benefits that you get from workload management: load balancing. Load balancing is simply the ability to have your workload distributed so that every request or application gets equal time to do its job. The work should be distributed so that no one application is doing all of the work while the others idly sit by. WebSphere can create copies of your servers and then distribute your workload across these copies.

You can also configure your AS/400 to allow additional memory and CPU access for the jobs under which the requests are being processed. Or you can run them with different priorities, customizing which work items get done faster. You will also be able to add additional AS/400 machines to expand your throughput even more.

These customizations give you much better control over the load balancing. They allow you to specify which parts of your model get more hardware resources and how it all runs together. This tweaking of your site will give you the fastest response time for your customers and better allocations of the tasks—from database access to order
processing—that need to be done.


Fault Tolerance


Now that you have a general understanding of load balancing, I’ll look at fault tolerance and how WebSphere provides it. First, what is fault tolerance? In the context of WebSphere, it means that, whatever you are running, WebSphere will handle anything that goes bad. Loss of a job, some threads dying off, a hardware failure, or even an entire machine failure are all examples of possible faults that can occur in your configuration. You will have to program some of this logic into your application, servlet, or EJB to get this functionality, but WebSphere automatically provides fault tolerance. There is a monitor job that runs alongside the main WebSphere server that will restart your instance if the server goes down. The value in the file that controls this is mntr.retryValue=. The setting of this property tells WebSphere to attempt to restart the server x number of times whenever it detects that the instance abnormally terminated.

There are also clone restart values that you can set that will allow you to restart in the case of failure. Under the General tab on the Administrative Console, you can find the properties for the clone Maximum startup attempts. While the clone is down, WLM will route the requests to the other clones. When the failed clone restarts and comes back online, it will then be able to receive more requests.




With the AS/400’s clustering technology, you have the ability to make the configuration really stand up to the traffic and the ability to handle problems when they come up. You can use clustering to distribute work across even more systems or to gain better failover capability, such as the loss of an entire physical system. As a quick definition, a cluster is a collection of systems that cooperate and interoperate to provide a single, unified computer. This type of setup allows any node in the cluster to handle a request.

Although you can use the cluster concept to increase the number of nodes in a group of WebSphere servers, a cluster is typically used for increased availability of the servers. With the creation of nodes on multiple boxes from WebSphere, you can use the cluster to provide “hot backup” services to the nodes themselves. This means that the backup is a copy of the original box that is monitoring the processes, jobs, or the box itself to make sure that things are going well. In the case of a failure, the second box will assume the IP address of the first one and will continue along while you work on getting the primary box back online.

In a simple two-node clustered environment, when the primary machine fails, the backup would automatically assume the identity and workload of the first box, with very little time off the ‘net. With a better partitioning of the resources on the AS/400s themselves, you could allow both of the machines to be available at the same time. Each node in the cluster would be the primary one for some of the resources, such as servlets, and the backup for other sets, such as EJBs. You would get increased throughput from using two boxes and still get the failover and stability of a hot backup of your environment.


Data Mirroring


It will really help your site if the servlets, JSPs, and EJBs are always available. But what happens if your database goes down? An error in the code itself, a fault tolerance problem, or even a hardware crash will make your database unavailable to you.

To help keep your data safe, you again use clustering to help in fault tolerance. You set up a database on one node in the cluster and put the hot backup on another. You could use this technique for online catalogs and other databases that are going to stay static. It will work great until you change the data in the database. You will need some way of getting the data from the primary to the backup, in either a scheduled time frame or real-time replication. The AS/400 does not provide this solution directly, but there are a few IBM Business Partners that provide various degrees of data mirroring, such as DataMirror

Corporation (, Lakeview Technology (, and Vision Solutions (

With the data copied over and the primary nodes in your configuration all having backups and using workload management in WebSphere itself, you will have a stable and sturdy site that can do your business for you, access your data, process orders, and handle the traffic that you want to have.




So, now I’ll explain how many different setups you can have and what they look like. The results that you see from these configurations will depend on the size of the hardware that you have. As you increase memory and processor speed, the results will improve.

If you happen to be starting with just one box, there are still a number of things that you can do to help keep everything up and running. For a starting point, you can use the workload management technology to manage one of your servers across multiple clones. This will give you more stability in the server that you choose and will also increase your throughput. There is a point of diminishing returns when you’re creating clones. At this point, your server will begin to run slower because of resource allocations and communication traffic between the clones, the HTTP plug-in code, and the full administration server.

You can also incorporate some of the clustering technology into your picture to help increase your failover capabilities. You can use clustering to monitor for process failure and then have it run a program to perform some additional error handling. This code could notify someone, restart the servers, or do anything else that you can think of and program. There are a number of single points of failure (SPFs) in this configuration, but it is going to give you better stability than you would have with no workload management or clustering involved.

As shown in Figure 2, by increasing the number of AS/400s to two, you greatly increase the number of possible configurations in your setup. You can use a workload management setup with one box functioning as a full administration server and the other working as an administration agent. You can then create a node for each of the two boxes and disperse clones to each of them depending upon your hardware resources. For an SPF in this setup, if the full-service administration server is lost, then your site is going to be down. For another setup, you can make a cluster of the two machines with one of the machines being the backup of the other one. You can also use data replication to keep the databases in sync so that, if there is a failure in the primary box, then the secondary one will take over with current data. You will get very little downtime, and you will lose only the transactions that were occurring when the primary box went down.

Other configurations include the primary box running the full-service administration agent and the backup box not only serving as a copy of the full-service but also running an administration agent on it. With both machines working as nodes in the setup and the agent box running as a backup to the primary box, you can use both machines at the same time with workload management to spread out the requests and still have a backup of the primary in case of failure. This will give you both load balancing and fault tolerance. By adding in a third box to this, you get even more options. You will be able to set up a site that will handle a large number of requests and still be able to handle failures in the servers.


WebSphere Application Server Performance Pack


Even with all of this, there are still SPFs. One is going to be the full-service administration server, though clustering will help to minimize the time that this is down. You will still need to reconnect to the full-service server from all of the agents when it comes back online. Another point of failure is the HTTP server itself. If your HTTP engine goes down, WebSphere can sit idle—even if you have the most solid setup. To help prevent this, you can run multiple HTTP servers with identical content on them on multiple boxes and use

the WebSphere Performance Pack and the Network Dispatcher. As shown is Figure 3, by setting up a PC in front of your HTTP servers and using the Network Dispatcher, you can send your requests to each of the individual HTTP machines. In the case of a failure in one of the HTTP servers, the Network Dispatcher will send the request to a different server. For additional information on this, see the WebSphere Performance Pack documentation.


AS/400 Dot-com


Your customers will use your site’s downtime to jump to your competitors’ sites; downtime means lost revenues and customers. That’s reason to do everything you can to keep your site up and running as much as possible. Using WebSphere running on top of the AS/400’s integrated JVM and database, you get a stable and secure machine for running a dot-com business or storefront. But that’s not all you get. With WebSphere’s ability to take advantage of multiple processors and even multiple machines, you can set up a site that can not only handle the traffic that you want but also give you the stability that you and your business need. In other words, with WebSphere and the AS/400, your job just got easier.




• IBM WebSphere Web page:
• WebSphere Application Server 3 Advanced Edition for AS/400 documentation page:
• WebSphere Scalability—WLM and Clustering (SG24-6153-00, CD-ROM )
• WebSphere V3 Performance Tuning Guide (SG24-5657-00, CD-ROM )


Dot-_com_Your_AS-_400_with_WebSphere05-00.png 400x312


Figure 1: Use WebSphere’s Administration client applications to configure your application server.

Administration Agent

AS/400 RCH111B Full-service Administration Server

HTTP Server

AS/400 RCH111A

Full-service Administration Server

HTTP Server

Clone 1

Clone 2 Clone 1

Clone 2

Clone 3

Database Clone 1

Clone 2

Clone 3


Clone 1

Clone 2

Clone 3


Cluster of AS/400s

Full-service Administration Server

HTTP Server

AS/400 RCH111B—Backup

Cluster of AS/400s

Figure 2: A cluster is a collection of systems that cooperate and interoperate to provide a single, unified computer.

Web Server

Administration Server

WebSphere Server

Machine B

Web Server

Administration Server WebSphere Server

Machine C

WebSphere Server

Machine A

Web Server

Administration Server

Network Dispatcher

Figure 3: In the case of a failure in one of the HTTP servers, the Network Dispatcher will send the request to a different server.



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    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.