Tipps & Tricks

Define service level agreements and monitor them

  • There is no value in monitoring your servers without the knowledge whether you are good or not
  • Define SLAs:
    • Availability of a service
    • Response time goals
    • Maximum concurrent users or requests
  • Key values in WebSphere Application Server to monitor
    • Response time
    • Connection pools
    • Heap Size and Garbage Collection behavior
  • Benefits:
    • Problem prevention
    • Less discussions due to well defines service level agreements

Build staging environments, run load tests and implement quality gates

  • Staging environments are very important to develop and test your
    • application under real circumstances
    • Use at lease a development stage, a pre-production and a productive stage
  • Prepare load tests for testing your defined SLAs
    • build automated load and function tests
    • Operation should use this tests for verification
  • Quality gates define all necessary deliverables for entering the next stage
    • Service level agreements
    • Results of source code checks
    • Results of disaster recovery tests
    • Documentation
    • Repeatable load tests
  • Benefits
    • Quality assurance
    • Trust between operation and development

Create homogeneous infrastructures with suitable baseline settings

  • There is nothing worse than maintaining a heterogenous environment
    • Low response times to problems and outages
    • Need for a broader skill set
    • High demand for documentation
  • Define a maximum of three different infrastructure options (bronze, silver, gold)
  • Baseline settings are the key for more homogeneous and robust infrastructures
  • Baseline settings may include
    • Enablement of certain traces (Garbage Collection)
    • Usage of best practice properties e.g. for automated collection of problem analysis data
    • Tuning parameters and Time out values
  • Benefits:
    • Standardization, where individually has no benefits
    • Many common parameters across all applications

Use scripting as much as possible for configuration tasks

  • There are no misclicks if you use scripting
  • Building up a script repository for common tasks
    • You can use the recoding feature of WebSphere Application Server for your first scripts
  • Scripts are reusable and can be used by new personnel, as well
  • Use script output as documentation for a change
  • Use scripts for WebSphere Application Server installation, configuration and Application deployment
  • Benefits
    • Fast “cloning” of existing environments
    • Better documentation
    • Save time and costs due to automation

Define rules for all log file entries

  • Standardized error codes
    • Use the same error codes across all applications for common problems
    • Define standard behaviors for your defined error codes
  • Every log entry is a call for help
    • Do not write application specific information to the log e.g. “product 17 was selected”
    • Do not throw exceptions “you can ignore”
  • Better: use separate log files for everything the operation team is not interested in
  • Benefits:
    • Easy to monitor
    • Faster response times to real exceptions
    • Easier to identify the responsibilities for problem solving

Bonus: WebSphere Application Server for z/OS additional considerations

  • The 5 golden rules apply to WebSphere on distributed and z/OS, as well
  • Many customers have a dedicated WebSphere on z/OS support team, but there is no really good reason for that
    • Programming model is the same
    • Administrative console and scripting are the same
    • Best practices are the same
    • Most z/OS specific features are additionally to WebSphere distributed features, not replacing WebSphere distributed features
  • You are asking the same questions, but use different ways to get your answers
  • Best way: collaboration between your system programmers and your “normal” WebSphere support team
    • System programmer will be responsible for the installation and the interfaces between z/OS and WebSphere
    • WebSphere support team will be responsible for the configuration and Java related stuff

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