Friday Apr 12, 2013

Using Native Installations of Oracle WebLogic

By default, when using Oracle WebLogic, the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based product is installed in embedded mode. This means that the configuration files and files within the product are used directly by Oracle WebLogic, including configuration files necessary for Oracle WebLogic itself (e.g. config.xml). The installation process generates the necessary configuration files and then using generated versions of Oracle WebLogic utilities points the Oracle WebLogic runtime to the files in the product environment. The term embedded is used to describe the fact that Oracle WebLogic uses files embedded in the product rather than its own files; it simply provides the runtime for the environment.

This default approach has advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages Disadvantages
Simple and easy to implement configuration, ideal for development and other non-production environments Changes to domain configuration within Oracle WebLogic console must be reflected in configuration files using user exits or custom templates to retain changes across patches/upgrades.
One Oracle WebLogic installation can be shared across many environments on the same host Does not support clustering without complex manual changes to configuration files
Default security setup Administration Server deployed with product
Common configuration change scenarios are handled by configuration settings Oracle Enterprise Manager does not recognize Oracle WebLogic targets without manual configuration of discovery
  Utilities provided must be used to manage product
  Limited changes to some features (such as domain)

This setup is ideal for development and other non-production environments where you need multiple copies of the product on a single host but may not be appropriate for production environments where advanced security setup and clustering are typically required.

The alternative is to install the product in what is termed, native mode. Typically Oracle WebLogic J2EE Web Applications are deployed directly to Oracle WebLogic and managed using capabilities within Oracle WebLogic. This has the advantage of gaining full access to the Oracle WebLogic facilities like advanced configuration and more importantly the ability cluster the product across multiple nodes. Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.2 and above, can be installed using this mode with minor changes to the installation process. It is also possible to convert an embedded installation into a native installation with minor changes, if migration to this mode is appropriate.

The native mode allows the product to have access to support using the features of Oracle WebLogic with fewer configuration steps than embedded mode. The advantages and disadvantages of this mode are outlined in the table below:

Advantages Disadvantages
Native Support for Clustering/Managed Servers Support for multiple environments per domain is limited at present stage. Multiple WebLogic installs may be required if multiple environments are on the same host
Changes to domain do not require manual changes to templates Requires some manual effort in setting up domain, servers and security for environment
Administration Server can be separated from product servers   
Oracle Enterprise Manager natively recognizes Oracle WebLogic targets  
Native facilities in Oracle WebLogic and/or Oracle Enterprise Manager can be used to configure, operate and monitor the product  
Configuration and operational facilities of Oracle WebLogic can be used (including documented variations)  

The two modes have different attributes and different approaches applicable to different situations. The following recommendations should be consider when deciding which mode to use:

  • It is not impractical use different modes for different environments. One mode will not usually satisfy all the needs of all environments.
  • It is recommended to use native mode for production implementations as it offers flexibility, cluster support, separation of the Administration function and the ability to use the advanced configuration elements of Oracle WebLogic as well as Oracle Enterprise Manager (if applicable).
  • It is recommended to use native mode if each environment is housed in a separate virtual machine, which is common in virtualized implementations. This will allow configuration at the virtual machine level to be used and reduces maintenance efforts.
  • It is recommended to use embedded mode if more than one copy of the product exists on the same virtual or non-virtual host. The ability to share a common copy of Oracle WebLogic is reduces the maintenance efforts for multiple environments.
  • It is recommended to use embedded mode for development environments where java based development is taking place. This setup supports the use of the expanded mode features of Oracle WebLogic used by the Oracle Utilities SDK, which requires access to expanded directories for multi-user development.

For more information about native mode installation refer to the new whitepaper Native Installation for Oracle Utilities Application Framework (Doc Id: 1544969.1). For customers considering clustering and/or Oracle ExaLogic also refer to the Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering (Doc Id: 1334558.1) whitepaper available from My Oracle Support.

About

Anthony Shorten
Hi, I am Anthony Shorten, I am the Principal Product Manager for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework. I have been working for over 20+ years in the IT Business and am the author of many a technical whitepaper, manual and training material. I am one of the product managers working on strategy and designs for the next generation of the technology used for the Utilities and Tax markets. This blog is provided to announce new features, document tips and techniques and also outline features of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products. These products include Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing, Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management, Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Management and Oracle Enterprise Taxation and Policy Management. I am the product manager for the Management Pack for these products.

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