I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage – when I was young, I had to walk to school – uphill both ways! Back in the seemingly ancient days when I first started working with IBM’s WebSphere Application server – version 3.5, in 2000, it really was uphill both ways! One didn’t simply deploy applications, one had to add servlets by hand. It was a long, laborious process. How far it seems we’ve come in many ways, yet perhaps not so far in others. By the end of my tenure with IBM’s Common Development and Test group, some 10 years later, we still did most of our work by hand, except we had a nice little ANT script developed by some folks in the Raleigh labs that almost completely automated the installation of WAS 6.1. But moving applications through our environments, or from say, version 6 to 6.1, was still a manual task done almost entirely by hand.

Thankfully those days are in the past, and today there’s tools that can assist in provisioning servers, managing configurations of application environments, and in the world of WebSphere Commerce a lovely tool (also written in ANT) called WebSphere Commerce Build and Deployment which can almost totally automate the deployment of changes to a Commerce site from code repository to production server.

Yet, still, migrating sets of applications from one version of WebSphere Application Server to another remains a challenge. Yes, there’s the WebSphere migration toolkit, and UrbanCode Deploy, among others, but the process still requires a great deal of effort.

What if you could point a tool at an existing WebSphere implementation, pull in all the configuration for the cell and all the applications, then point the same tool at a new set of servers, provision a new version of WebSphere on them, and then push that configuration onto the shiny new version with little manual effort? Stay tuned, and you might just find out how!

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