The IT infrastructure of large corporations is setting sail to a new promised land called Software-defined data center (SDDC). SDDC envisions to have all elements of the infrastructure — networking, storage, CPU and security – virtualized and delivered as a service. Naysayers argument that SDDC is a marketing tool, a hype. Believers claim victory be stating software will define the future data centers.

To stir the pot is that enterprises are lured into the “dark” side by a voice whispering that SDDC would allow to optimize CapEx (Capital expenditures) and OpEx (operating expenditure) savings.

“why” not to miss the SDDC trend?
SDDC is about orchestrating, coordinating and applying resources from the server, storage and networking pools to ensure that the applications or services meet the capacity, availability and response time SLAs the business requires. IT organizations will have to make significant changes to elimate barriers that exist between the various technical domains; e.g., network, compute, storage. The numbers of people involved with manual tasks will be reduced. The time to market of an application going live on a new provisioned server (incl storage, networking and application deployment) would become a matter of hours instead of weeks.

How to deploy the complete or a subset of the webMethods service stack onto a server without the hassle of doing repetitive manually configuration steps in a limited amount of time? WebMethods Command Central (CC) you say?

CC stands for “Centralizes administration, configuration and monitoring of webMethods environments for on-premise and public and private cloud implementations,
improving consistency and reducing risk.”.

How does CC handle the provisioning of a new webMethods Integration Server installation?
A pre-requisite is that the server on which the Integration Server is to be installed runs the SoftwareAG Platform Manager (SPM) component. Once SPM is available the target environment needs to be registered in CC. Through a number of distinctive steps (which includes the generation of a template) CC can spine up a cloned Integration Server through the SPM satellite. In order to interact with CC several clients are available (Web UI, Command Line Interface (CLI), …). Leveraging template based provisioning products, files, configuration and files can be cloned/copied between source and target node.

In a perfect world you would like to incorporate the CC CLI instruction set in your personal scripts to automate the installation and configuration as much as possible.Further tests with the CC 9.6 reveal that at this moment template based provisioning has at least following limitations:

  • target server needs to be first equipped with SPM before further installation can be scheduled.
  • predetermined list of files that are part of template based provisioning for files. Unable to customize list. All or nothing scenario.
  • only works with a Default instance under the installation folder. Unable to deploy template to customized instance names.
  • no Simulation mode like Deployer.
  • no variable substitution in template.
  • unable to rollback fixes through CC.

In the land where SDDC is Colonel and orchestration is one of his majors some of the above remarks would be considered as a disadvantage.
Word has it that CC 9.7 could come with remote SPM bootstrapping. In layman’s terms this means that on a virgin server, having an ssh deamon and a Java virtual machine available should be sufficient to get SPM installed through a remote installation procedure.

Honestly, wouldn’t be surprised if some of these challenges are resolved in future versions of the product.

Author: Johan De Wulf