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An Oracle DBA's Guide to WebLogic Server

Like it or not, knowledge of WebLogic is now part of the DBA role. You don’t have to know a great deal to be useful with basic WebLogic setups, but the whole Fusion Middleware stack is big and complicated. Once you step beyond the basics, IMHO it is time for you to hire a full time Middle Tier Administrator.

The purpose of this article is to introduce some of the concepts of WebLogic Server, providing links to more specific articles. I think of it as the type of thing I wish I had read during my first hour of learning WebLogic Server.

Related articles.

Introduction to Web Application Infrastructure

When we think of the top-level view of infrastructure to support web applications, we are normally thinking about a situation like this.

Reverse Proxy

The client browser connects to your systems via the internet or an intranet. Typically you would expect your SSL termination to happen at a load balancer, reverse proxy, basic web server. You would not expect your application servers or database servers to be visible to the outside world directly.

Focussing more on the infrastructure itself, you might expect a basic system to look something like the following. The diagram shows two of every element to indicate they should be made resilient in some way, as should the firewalls.

Reverse Proxy - Full Architecture

Requests come through a site firewall and are forwarded by a load balancer to a reverse proxy, which provides SSL termination and hides the real machine names and ports of the services they support. If the load balancers can provide SSL termination and reverse proxy functionality, then the separate reverse proxies are unnecessary. Requests are reverse proxied through to a more secure network, which holds the application servers, such as WebLogic Server. In turn, the application servers will contact the database servers.

Definition of WebLogic Components

All the WebLogic components are Java processes.

The following diagram may help to solidify the relationships between the components.

Domain

There are many ways to organise your domains. You could use a single domain for your whole company, split based on functional areas or split on technology type. The latter may be useful when trying to minimize licensing costs.

Domain Organisation

WebLogic Installation

The only major prerequisite for a basic WebLogic Server installation is a JDK, which must be installed prior to WebLogic installation. Depending on the version of WebLogic being used, you have a choice of which JDK to use.

When using JDK6, use JRockit for servers and HotSpot for desktops. The only option for JDK7 is HotSpot, which now includes all the cool things from JRockit. Always use Oracle’s JDK, not OpenJDK.

You can download the relevant version of WebLogic Server from OTN or eDelivery. I always use the generic JAR file, which supports 64-bit environments.

WebLogic Downloads

Before installing, you need to decide on some basic paths for the fusion middleware home, domains and applications. Assuming "ORACLE_BASE=/u01/app/oracle", you might use something like the following.

By default the installer will suggest the domains and applications should be placed in a directory called "user_projects" under the middleware home. This is not ideal as any upgrade will leave these configuration directories under an old middleware home.

This article gives an example of the installation process itself.

WebLogic Configuration (Create Domain)

I often use the Configuration Wizard to create domains as it provides a simple GUI interface. It is started using the following command.

$WLS_HOME/common/bin/config.sh

Basic domain management is described in these articles. There are some slight differences between WebLogic versions.

Creation of clustered domains is described in the following articles.

I would suggest always running in "Production Mode" on servers, even if they are development servers. It means you can adopt a single approach all the way through your development, test and production environments.

WebLogic Configuration (Start/Stop)

When a domain is created it includes several scripts allowing you to start and stop components.

$WLS_HOME/server/bin/startNodeManager.sh
$DOMAIN_HOME/bin/startWebLogic.sh
$DOMAIN_HOME/bin/stopWebLogic.sh
$DOMAIN_HOME/bin/startManagedWebLogic.sh <managedServer>
$DOMAIN_HOME/bin/stopManagedWebLogic.sh <managedServer>

Examples of their use are in the installation and configuration articles linked from this article.

WebLogic Configuration (AdminServer)

Once the AdminServer of a domain is started, you have access to the web-based administration interface using the following style of URL.

The administration interface is relatively intuitive. The pages are broken down into several sections:

Clicking on the "Servers" node displays the current status of the AdminServer and all the managed servers. The "Configuration" tab allows you to create, clone or delete managed servers, while the "Control" tab allows you to start and stop them. Clicking on the managed server name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options.

AdminServer - Servers

The "Clusters" node displays basic information about clusters belonging to the domain. This screen allows you to create, clone or delete clusters. Clicking on the cluster name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options.

AdminServer - Clusters

The "Machines" node displays information about node managers the domain can communicate with. This screen allows you to create, clone or delete references to node managers. Clicking on the machine name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options.

AdminServer - Machines

The "Deployments" node displays the applications that are currently deployed to the domain. This screen is the starting point to deploy, redeploy, undeploy, start or stop applications. Deployments can target individual managed servers, groups of managed servers or whole clusters. Clicking on the deployment (application) name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options.

AdminServer - Deployments

The "Data Sources" node displays the data sources that are currently defined for the domain. This screen is the starting point to create, delete or reconfigure data sources. Data sources can target individual managed servers, groups of managed servers or whole clusters. Clicking on the data source name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options.

AdminServer - Data Sources

The "Security Realms" node is used to define authentication methods and security information available to the domain. Clicking on the realm name allows you to drill down into the detailed configuration options. Providers for a number of authentication methods, such as LDAP and Active Directory, are present.

AdminServer - Security Realms

If the domain has been extended with Fusion Middleware Runtime, you also have access to Enterprise Manager.

An example of this will be shown below.

WebLogic Configuration (WLST)

Although the administration web interface is quite useful, you quickly learn that some tasks you do very often require a lot of clicks to complete. To save time you may wish to script certain operations. Fortunately, WebLogic comes with a very powerful scripting tool called WebLogic Scripting Tool (WLST). Discussing this is beyond the scope of this article, but there are many articles on the internet about it.

Forms and Reports Services

Forms and Reports Services requires and existing WebLogic 11g installation as a prerequisite. The installation is very simple. Pick the inventory and middleware locations, then click the "Next" button a lot. You can see examples of the installation here.

The installation creates a "ClassicDomain" with Forms and Reports installed and running. The managed servers are controlled in the normal manner using the administration console.

Forms - Administration Console

Most of the Forms and Reports configuration can be done through Enterprise Manager.

Forms - Enterprise Manager

If you’ve done Forms and Reports Services configuration on Oracle Application Server, the configuration files are all the same, but in different locations. You can read more about the configuration in this article.

Application Development Framework (ADF)

Application Development Framework (ADF) is a separate install on top of an existing WebLogic Server installation. ADF releases are separate to WebLogic Releases, but there are some dependencies so make sure you are using the correct version.

Installation is easy. Specify your middleware home and click "Next" a lot. You can see examples of the installations here.

Once installed, there are extra options when you create or extend a domain.

ADF Domain

Picking the "Oracle Enterprise Manager" option enables the Enterprise Manager URL.

Enterprise Manager is where you will find most of the performance monitoring tools.

Cloud Control

Grid Control and now Cloud Control are built on WebLogic. Grid Control 11g required a separate WebLogic installation step, whereas the Cloud Control installation has WebLogic bundled, so it is very hands-off in comparison.

Cloud Control is a (big) ADF application, so administration from the console and Enterprise Manager is the same as any normal ADF application. Having said that, most of the time you should only have to start and stop the services.

You can see an example of installing Cloud Control and some basic management tasks here.

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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