Save this damn'd profession of writing,
where one needs one's brains all the time
Last month, I took a poll about which topic to tackle in this next article. By a slim margin (27% versus 23%), "Getting and Installing WebSphere" won out over "WebSphere vs. Tomcat," so that's what I'll cover this time around. I'm not sure how I'll determine the next article--I may just take the runner-up topic. You can still vote, so those of you who didn't vote can register your preference. Not only that, if you voted for "Getting and Installing WebSphere," you can change your vote now. Remember, I said to vote early and vote often....
In this article, I'm going to explain how to get and install WebSphere Standard Edition Version 3.5. I'm not going to talk about running or even configuring the software--IBM has some excellent documentation for that part of the job. But even the simple act of installing WebSphere is different from installing just about any other iSeries product, and this article will explain the differences.
For the more intrepid among you, you may want to try to do this yourself, using the excellent WebSphere Getting Started Guide, available in PDF format.
This manual is a great step-by-step guide to installing WebSphere and the adminclient. However, if you don't understand the pieces, even this guide can be a little intimidating. So in this article, before I get to the specifics of ordering and installing (which are also covered in step 2 of the Getting Started guide), I will give you a little more insight into the components of WebSphere.
WebSphere really consists of two pieces: the WebSphere Application Server (WAS) and the administration client (adminclient). The WAS is the part that actually does the work of communicating with the browser using servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSPs). The adminclient, on the other hand, configures the WAS. The adminclient is sort of the Operations Navigator of the WAS, if you will.
The WAS software runs on the iSeries and is located in a library named QEJB. To find out which version you are at, look at the QEJB data area SF99142 for V4R5 or SF99146 for V5R1. This isn't any different than many other iSeries products. But now WebSphere takes a little bit of a turn--the adminclient must be installed on a workstation. Not just any workstation, either, but a fairly high-powered workstation running either Windows NT or Windows 2000 (there is also an AIX version, but AIX workstations are pretty hard to come by these days). Without the adminclient, you cannot configure and run WebSphere. (Note: This is not strictly true. There are tools that allow you to configure WebSphere from a green-screen, but they are very cumbersome, and they change from release to release.)
A quick recap: WebSphere has two primary pieces, the WAS software in library QEJB on the iSeries, and the adminclient, which is PC software that must be installed on a workstation. So how do you get these pieces?
The iSeries piece (the WAS software) is relatively easy to order and install. WebSphere Standard Edition V3.5 is a free licensed program option (LPO). If you don't specifically order it when configuring your iSeries, IBM doesn't ship it with your machine, but you can always get it for free by simply ordering it. The product you want is product 5733AS3. You can see if you already have it by running the Display Software Resources (DSPSFWRSC) command and looking for 5733AS3. Even quicker, just check for the library QEJB on your machine. If it's not there, you definitely do not have WebSphere V3.5 installed. Note that even if QEJB is on your system, that does not necessarily mean that you have WebSphere Standard Edition V3.5. You'll need to check DSPSFWRSC to be sure that you have 5733AS3 installed.
If you don't have 5733AS3, contact your IBM representative and order it. As I said, it's a free product. Then install it like you would any other licensed product.
The adminclient is the piece that confuses many people. The confusion is multiplied by the fact that there is another PC-based product called WebSphere, namely WebSphere Development Studio. The problem is further compounded by the fact that people have called IBM and ordered "WebSphere" and gotten WebSphere Studio. They have then mistakenly installed this product on their PC, only to find that it is not the WebSphere administration client.
The adminclient comes on a special CD-ROM that is used to install the WAS on your workstation. Right now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "But I installed the WAS on my iSeries when I installed 5733AS3--there's no reason to install it on my workstation as well." And you would be right. Let me try to explain.
WebSphere can be installed on many different platforms. In fact, the two different pieces, the WAS and the adminclient, can be installed on two different platforms, and they will run together just fine. You can run an AIX version of WAS and an NT version of adminclient. Or a Linux version of WAS and a Solaris version of adminclient. Now, the logical question is, why not just run an iSeries version of adminclient to configure the iSeries version of WAS? The problem is that the adminclient (currently) requires a thick client interface, so it can't run on the iSeries. The iSeries is, in fact, the only platform that does not support the adminclient, so there is no iSeries version of the adminclient. You have to run a workstation version of the adminclient to configure your iSeries version of WAS. Does this make sense? (If it doesn't make sense to you, join the club. Many of us who have supported WebSphere on the iSeries have been complaining for some time that we need a different way of configuring WebSphere--specifically a browser-based version. The good news is that IBM may be listening. Future releases will tell.)
Anyway, the upshot of the whole situation is that when you order WebSphere for the iSeries, IBM also ships WebSphere for the other platforms. You take the CD for your workstation operating system of choice and make like you're going to install WebSphere. However, you install only the administration client piece of the software. After installing the adminclient, you configure it to point to the IP address of your iSeries, and from that point on, the adminclient on your workstation will actually be controlling the WAS on your iSeries.
Okay, you're almost there. You've installed the WAS software on the iSeries. You've installed the adminclient on your workstation. You should be ready to go, right? Not quite. When you order a product like WebSphere separately, IBM only ships the base version of the product--the ".0" version, which in the case of WebSphere is 3.5.0. You must then use PTFs to get it up to the current version. You don't normally have to do this immediately unless the base version of the software is broken. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Version 3.5.0 of WebSphere is pretty unstable, and you need to upgrade to the current version. On the iSeries, the current version is 3.5.5.Like installation, upgrading WebSphere is a two-part process: the iSeries piece and the workstation piece.
The iSeries piece is relatively straightforward. There are two steps, one you should be familiar with and one that may be new to you. First, you should upgrade to the latest cumulative PTF; whoever is in charge of your machine's maintenance should be very familiar with this procedure. On V4R5, the latest cume is C2050450; on V5R1, it's C2071510.
The second step may be new to you; in it, you will apply something called a "group PTF." Group PTFs are specially packaged sets of fixes that are related to a specific product and not shipped as part of the cumulative PTF. These PTFs are more frequent than cumulative PTFs and often quite large because they tend to include fixes for OS/400 products that are changing relatively rapidly, such as WebSphere and Java. In order to finish upgrading the iSeries portion of WebSphere, you have to apply the latest WebSphere group PTF for the standard edition. For V4R5, this is SF99142; for V5R1, it is SF99146. (There are also updates for V4R4, but they only bring WebSphere up to 3.5.4. For more information on V4R4, refer to the WebSphere Application Server link at the end of the article.)
At the same time, you need to download the FixPak for your adminclient. Beware, IBM sometimes refers to the adminclient as the administration client or the administrative console--all these terms mean the same thing: the thick client program that configures and controls the WAS on the iSeries.
There is one last little bit of confusion. There are FixPaks available all the way up to V3.5.6 for Standard Edition, but the iSeries group PTF only takes you up to V3.5.5. Since IBM always recommends that you keep the adminclient and WAS version in sync, I suggest you get the V3.5.5 FixPak for your workstation. Click here to get to a page where you can download the V3.5.5 FixPak.
OK, now you've installed and upgraded WebSphere on both the iSeries and the workstation up to V3.5.5. At this point, you can continue on with the rest of the Getting Started Manual. Good luck!
For more information on WebSphere Application Server Standard Edition V3.5, click here.