Rational Automation Framework Adds Support for New Runtimes

I am very pleased to inform you about the IBM Announcement yesterday which extends the ability of  Rational Automation Framework to support managing configurations and application deployments for other IBM and non-IBM middleware environments.   In this announcement letter, IBM announced the MidVision extensions to IBM® Rational® Automation Framework for IBM WebSphere®.    IBM Rational Automation Framework  (RAF) already supported WebSphere Application Server and Feature Packs,  WebSphere Process Server, WebSphere Registry and Repository, WebSphere Portal Server,  WebSphere HTTP Server for install, patching, configuration and application deployment.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with RAF,  it is a customizable and extensible framework for management and control of complex middleware environments. It provides a tool for middleware environments that can deliver automation and consolidation capabilities for administration of development, Q&A, staging, and production. The framework helps businesses increase productivity, improve speed, quality, and consistency of application delivery, and reduce costs of standards compliance, IT governance, and disaster recovery.

With MidVision Extension to IBM Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere Connectivity, IBM now extends IBM Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere to offer core automation benefits to two key middleware environments from the WebSphere Connectivity portfolio:

  • WebSphere MQ Series
  • WebSphere Message Broker

In addition, IBM Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere for the first time offers support to non-IBM middleware platforms with two additional MidVision extensions:

  • Oracle WebLogic Application Server
  • RedHat JBoss Application Server

RAF leverages the Build Forge Automation technology.   Those of you that are at Impact should stop by the Deployment, Planning and Automation Pedestal to check the new product out.


IBM Deployment Planning and Automation

Deployment, Planning and Automation is a new solution area that the Rational Software Delivery Automation products are playing an important role in.   The idea is that solution architects today must collaborate with a variety of teams to plan solutions and their deployment.  These include members of the development team,  release engineers and middleware administrators.  Often this collaboration is done using Power Point slides or Visio diagrams that are simply pictures that very quickly become out dated.   In my first Web Cast for this business segment area,  Vinit Kutty and I describe the challenges with collaborating using this common approach and propose a new  approach described in the IBM Deployment Planning and Automation Solution.    I encourage you to watch the Webcast and share your feedback here with me.    The products included in the solution are Rational Automation Framework,  Rational Asset Manager (Of course!!) and Rational Software Architect.  Enjoy!


New Guy!

Hello All,  I am the new Segment Leader for Rational Software Delivery Automation.  Some of you may remember me from my previous role as the product manager for Rational Asset Manager.   RAM was the product I previously brought to market and managed the growth of for 3 years.   I am excited to lead this new business segment that includes the Rational Build Forge and  Rational Automation Framework for WebSphere.  We hope to see the family of products in the segment grow shortly.   I am looking forward to publishing new posts with other members of the SDA team.    Here are some of the areas I plan on writing about:

  • Tips & tutorials on how to better use SDA tools
  • How we use SDA tools to build our solutions
  • News and announcements relevant to SDA
  • Our thoughts on future SDA directions and how you can influence them

Sharing this information and collaborating with you will be hopefully be helpful for your teams as you work on your projects.   It will also help us, as we learn from you and the comments you leave.  Our ultimate goal is provide you more effective software delivery solutions that help you achieve your business results.

Thanks and look forward to working with all of you.

Carlos Ferreira

Article about Automated Test Infrastructure

A team recently published a great article on IBM’s developerWorks site that illustrates a test automation architecture ecosystem.  This is a great example of a DevOps mindset and shows how connecting development and operations approaches and tools using automation leads to a more productive and efficient environment for a specific discipline; in this case, Test.

This article on the IBM website is:  here

Twitter as Simplifier

I can’t say that I am a Twitter addict.  It has its uses and benefits, for sure, but I tend to be more pragmatic about what I use it for rather than over-enthusiastic.  One of the great things about it though, is the enforced brevity of its format.  That leads to amusing and brilliant gems such as one Tweet that I found here describing DevOps as applied to a number of issues:  “elegant versions of the crap you hacked in perl 10y ago”

Rather says it all in far less than 140 characters.

Automation Value Estimators

Figuring out the value of automation can be tricky.   IBM Rational recently put a couple of helpful tools up on the website to help with this.  These value estimators are a simplified synthesis of the expertise gained by IBM consultants in the field.  While there is, perhaps, no substitute for a company-specific or environment-specific analysis, these are great examples that will help someone get a general idea of how to get value in this area and should provide a starting point from which to move forward.

The value estimators are here.  (Note:  There is a login screen, but it can be bypassed.)

Why Automate?

As the DevOps discussion gains momentum worldwide, it is beneficial to actually stop and look at the reasons to automate things on a more general basis.  We should do this not so much because it is some great mystery of the universe, but because it is valuable to have a structure within which to discuss the topic.  Given the results-oriented culture associated with DevOps, it is especially helpful as a way to focus effort, avoid over-optimization, and generally prioritize where and how to apply automation.

In most general terms, there are five main benefits to applying automation.  They are, in no particular order:

  • Speed
  • Traceability
  • Repeatability
  • Predictability
  • Infrastructure Reuse

The reason that these are in ‘no particular order’ is that the priority associated with them will be governed by the overall business – across discipline areas.  One discipline area might have a specific need for one or more of these, but at the business level, there might be a much more costly cross-disciplinary item that will take priority.  That can be hard for folks without visibility to understand, but businesses must be brutal in these assessments and focus first on the biggest return – not the most popular or visible.  That is the nature of efficiency, prosperity, and ultimately, survival in a competitive world.

Going forward, we’ll take a look at each of these five main benefit areas, how to begin tapping and prioritizing actions to gain the benefits, as well as some of the pitfalls associated with them.