Thursday, October 2, 2008

v7 UPDI "Update Installer" and v7 IF "Installation Factory" (a really nifty tool)

Both the WebSphere Update Installer (UPDI-v7) and WebSphere Installation Factory (IF-v7) are tools that ship with the WebSphere product, and they are both downloadable and/or updateable to newer versions from the WebSphere support and download site. Customers have commented that they hate having to install and manage multiple versions of such tools, so when the v6.1 tools were updated to support WebSphere v7 there was a major design emphasis on ensuring that each of the resulting v7 tools could also be used to replace the existing v6.1 tools in a mixed v6.1 and v7.0 environment (you don't need both 6.1 and 7.0 copies). In other words, UPDI-v7 can update either v7 or v6.1 servers, and IF-v7 can generate either v7 or v6.1 Customized Install Packages (CIPs) and/or Integrated Install Packages (IIPs).

Since UPDI is the only way to update WebSphere servers, every customer already knows about it (if you really don't, please immediately see the WebSphere v7 InfoCenter UPDI information).

Many (most?) customers have still not discovered the nifty "Installation Factory" (IF) tool. In a nutshell, IF is a way for a customer to merge an initial WebSphere (or plus a FixPack (say plus multiple interim fixes (iFixes) into a single, smaller, install called a "Customized Install Package" (CIP). The resulting CIP can be used to do a "scratch" install of that combination, or it can do a "slip" upgrade of an existing installation. IF is even capable of merging several product CIPs into a combined single "Integrated Install Package" (IIP). If you are not familiar with IF the I suggest you browse the WebSphere v7 InfoCenter IF information, and also read the DeveloperWorks article "Using Custom Installation Packages to install and update WebSphere Application Server in large development environments". Even if you are still on v6.1, you can download and use the IF-v7 to great advantage. Give the preceeding IF-v6.1 article (but still fully applicable to v7) a read and I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. The most common comment I hear from customers is "why didn't someone tell me about IF" - so, you have now been told. :-)