IBM WebSphere Automation
2 minute read
Automation goodness arrives to WebSphere universe
Although WebSphere is no stranger to automation through general scripting using wsadmin, IBM’s WebSphere Automation (WSA), as a completely new product opens a new chapter in automating maintenance and everyday operation of complex environments. And by the new chapter, we mean exactly that because the time when we had to manually login to every environment or script that same procedure across tens of servers is over. Imagine deploying a quick fix for an automatically detected issue with just a couple of mouse clicks!
WebSphere Automation was announced in April 2021 and can be installed separately or as a part of IBM’s Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, and it can manage both traditional WebSphere (tWAS) and WebSphere Liberty. Its most valuable features in improving every System Engineer’s efficiency are:
- Managing Security and path management – CVE menu (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) can provide a quick overview of which CVEs are impacting a particular WebSphere instance and all that are sorted by severity.
- Managing Health – in other words, monitoring and assistance in finding e.g. memory leaks in an application.
- Notifications – select criteria and receive notifications when these get triggered.
- Managing Servers – interface where we add or remove instances we want to manage.
Let’s go through a particular scenario with some of these features!
Applying fixes with a click
With some prior configuration, adding new tWAS server instances to WebSphere Automation boils down to running the register-twas.sh script provided by IBM and after a couple of minutes we see our server on the Automation’s Dashboard.
From there we can see a list of the most important security risks per server and what we found particularly useful is that for every CVE there is a comprehensive explanation on how to patch – that is often a real-time saver which mitigates a lot of manual steps.
Instead of checking reactively and doing manual analysis of memory leaks, the Automation tool provides a mechanism to receive email notifications when a memory leak is detected through garbage collection patterns and gather problem determination information while the leak is in progress. This problem determination data can be used to produce reports which can be exported and shared with the application development team to let them know when and where the issue happened.
Where to implement?
Since WebSphere Automation requires OpenShift Container Platform 4.6+, it may be ideal for environments that are going to be migrated to containerized solutions. Of course, most benefits can be drawn from WSA in complex, multi-server environments, however, the tool itself provides valuable assistance to anyone who manages WebSphere environments in production!
Useful links and documentation:
IBM’s WebSphere Automation Official Announcement
Nathen shared his toughts on recent hot takes that ”DevOps is dead”!