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Achieving High Availability with IBM FileNet Content Manager 5.2.1 and IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3 using WebSphere Base edition via a “stovepipe” configuration.

Technote (FAQ)


Question

How do I configure IBM FileNet Content Platform Engine 5.2.1 and IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3 for high availability on WebSphere Application Server in a stovepipe configuration, without using application server clusters?

Answer

Abstract:
Traditionally, highly available ECM applications are provided by creating clusters of application servers. Application server clusters provide transparent high availability solutions such as workload balancing, session replication and failover.

It is also possible, however, to configure an environment as a “Stovepipe” configuration by using application servers in such a manner that high availability is achieved at the stovepipe level via a hardware load balancer.

The purpose of this document is to provide the steps to configure a highly available “Stovepipe” environment for use by IBM FileNet Content Platform Engine 5.2.1 (“CPE”) and IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3 (“ICN”) by using WebSphere Application Server 8.5.5 without application server clusters through the use of a hardware load balancer. Support for this stovepipe topology is limited to the CPE and ICN applications. This document will not provide detailed steps regarding how to configure the hardware load balancer for load balancing and monitoring the stovepipes. Please consult your hardware load balancer documentation for those details.

The high availability approach described above has inherent limitations and drawbacks. Note that in order to provide a comprehensive and transparent highly available solution for CPE 5.2.1 and ICN 2.0.3, it remains strongly recommended to use an application server clustering solution such as WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment.


Configuration Details and Requirements:
In order to maintain a highly available environment without application server clustering, a hardware load balancer must be configured to balance user requests across the stovepipes at the application tier, while the remaining components in a given stovepipe are configured to use specific ECM servers. A generic virtual host name is used for each application in the IBM ECM solution. The virtual host name and virtual IP address resolution are controlled in the “hosts” file on each server.

The hosts file on each server is used extensively in this stovepipe topology. For example, the mapping from the application tier (ICN) to the tiers below is accomplished via virtual host names that are mapped in the host files on each application server to the physical IP address of the specific CPE server in the tiers below.

The hardware load balancer must be configured with monitors (ie, availability checks) for the CPE and ICN servers within each stovepipe. If a monitor check fails for a particular server, access to the application instance (ICN) that depends on the stovepipe containing that server must be blocked until the unresponsive server is back online.

IBM ECM deployments typically have a variety of applications that interact with the Content Platform Engine servers. If a Content Platform Engine server becomes unavailable, all application instances depending on that server will be blocked – that is, the load balancer will not send user requests to those application instances. In the event that an application instance (ICN) becomes unavailable, only that application instance will be blocked from further user requests, while the CPE associated with it remains online. The reason the CPE server must remain online is that the CPE instance may be serving other applications that are still operating normally, so it would not be advisable to take the whole stovepipe (CPE and other applications) offline when just one application instance (ICN) is unavailable.

  • Requirements:

    • A hardware load balancer, along with virtual IP addresses and host names configured for all CPE and ICN instances. The load balancer must use sticky sessions based on the client source IP address. The CPE and ICN components must be configured to use the virtual IP address and virtual host name when connecting. To connect to the CPE and ICN components, the CPE and ICN URLs must use the virtual host name and IP address.
      For example:
        http://<CPE VIP> or <CPE virtual HostName>:port/FileNet/Engine
        http://<CPE VIP> or <CPE virtual HostName>:port/acce
        http://<ICN VIP> or <ICN virtual HostName>:port/navigator
        http://<ICN VIP> or <ICN virtual HostName>:port/navigator/Ping
    • Each ICN server must be configured to use the specific CPE server in its respective stovepipe via host file entries that map the virtual host name to the CPE server that resides in that stovepipe.
      For example, each ICN server host file must contain:
        <CPE server Alias Name> <CPE server IP address for that particular stovepipe's CPE>
  • Install WebSphere Application Server 8.5.5 (or other supported WebSphere version compatible with CPE 5.2.1 and ICN 2.0.3) following the instructions in the IBM Knowledge Center for WebSphere. All CPE WebSphere instance profiles across all stovepipes must be configured to use same bootstrap port number.
  • Install and configure CPE 5.2.1 on each of the CPE servers following the instructions provided under Installing a single server FileNet P8 System in the IBM Knowledge Center for FileNet P8 Platform 5.2.1.
  • Each CPE server in each respective stovepipe must have identical configuration settings for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and JDBC data source settings.
  • Deploy the CPE application on each CPE server following the instructions provided under Installing a single server FileNet P8 System in the IBM Knowledge Center for FileNet P8 Platform 5.2.1. All CPEs must be deployed with exactly same bootstrapped EAR file.
  • Complete the CPE post-deployment steps by following the instructions provided under Installing a single server FileNet P8 System in the IBM Knowledge Center for FileNet P8 Platform 5.2.1..
  • Navigate to the Administrative Console for Content Platform Engine (“ACCE”). Use the CPE virtual IP or host name and port as the <CPE_server and port> in the ACCE URL. Create the FileNet P8 Domain.
  • Use ACCE to configure an Object Store if needed.
  • Install and configure ICN on each of the ICN servers following the instructions for configuring an IBM FileNet Content Manager Repository in the IBM Knowledge Center for IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3.
  • Each ICN server in each respective stovepipe must have identical configuration settings for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and JDBC data source settings.
  • Deploy the IBM Content Navigator application following the instructions in the IBM Knowledge Center for IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3 .
  • Navigate to the Content Navigator administration tool. Use the ICN virtual IP or hostname and port as the <host_name and port> in the administration tool URL.
  • Create and configure an IBM FileNet Content Manager repository (if needed) by following the instructions provided under Administering IBM Content Navigator Components in the IBM Knowledge Center for IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3. The URL of the CPE repository must be constructed using the virtual IP or hostname and port of the CPE server as shown below:

      iiop://< CPE server Alias Name >:<CPE WAS BOOTSTRAP_ADDRESS port>/FileNet/Engine
  • Define an ICN desktop with the IBM FileNet Content Manager Repository following the instructions provided under Administering IBM Content Navigator Components in the IBM Knowledge Center for IBM Content Navigator 2.0.3

Document information

More support for: Content Navigator

Software version: 2.0.3

Operating system(s): AIX, Linux, Windows

Reference #: 1693308

Modified date: 12 May 2015


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