Introduction to BEA WebLogic Server and BEA WebLogic Express™

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Overview of WebLogic Server System Administration

System administration of WebLogic Server includes a wide range of tasks: creating WebLogic Server domains; deploying applications; migrating domains from development environments to production environments; monitoring and managing the performance of the runtime system; and diagnosing and troubleshooting problems. (A WebLogic Server domain is a collection of WebLogic Server services designed for a specific purpose. For example, you might create one domain to provide an employee portal and another domain to provide business services to your customers.)

Because the WebLogic Server management system is based on Java EE and other standards, it integrates with systems that are frequently used to manage other software and hardware components. In addition, WebLogic Server includes several of its own standards-based, extensible utilities. Alternatively, you can use APIs to create custom management utilities.

The following sections provide an overview of system administration for the WebLogic Server component of your development or production environments:

For information about installing WebLogic Server, see the Installation Guide.


Choosing the Appropriate Technology for Your Administrative Tasks

Table 2-1 describes common system administration tasks and associated technologies.

Table 2-1 Choosing the Appropriate Management Technology
To do this...
Use this technology...
Create domains
The Configuration Wizard guides you through the process of creating or extending a domain for your target environment. See Creating WebLogic Domains Using the Configuration Wizard.
To automate the creation of domains, use the WebLogic Scripting Tool, which is a command-line scripting interface based on Jython. See Creating Domains Using WLST Offline in WebLogic Scripting Tool.
Or create domain configuration XML files that conform to the WebLogic Server schema. See Domain Configuration Files in Understanding Domain Configuration.
Migrate domains from development environments to production environments
Domain Template Builder’s pack command archives a snapshot of a domain into a JAR file. The unpack command expands the archive and creates the necessary start scripts and certain security and configuration files. See Creating Templates and Domains Using the pack and unpack Commands.
Track changes in a domain’s configuration
In environments that you allow configuration changes to active domains, WebLogic Server automatically maintains a versioned archive of configuration files. See Configuration File Archiving in Understanding Domain Configuration.
To receive real-time notifications that a domain’s configuration has been modified, enable the configuration auditing feature. See Configuring the WebLogic Auditing Provider in Securing WebLogic Server.
For tightly controlled production environments, configure the runtime domain to be read-only (see Restricting Configuration Changes in Understanding Domain Configuration). You can change the read-only setting if you need to roll in changes that have been tested and approved in a staging environment, or you can modify and test your staging environment, and then use a Web server to re-route requests from your production environment to the staging environment.
Configure connections to Web servers

Web server plug-ins. See Understanding Using Web Server Plug-Ins With WebLogic Server in Using Web Server Plug-Ins with WebLogic Server.

Configure connections to databases or other systems
Within individual applications, you can define your own data sources or database connections using JDBC, or connect to external systems using resource adapters. When you deploy such an application, WebLogic Server creates the data sources and connections for you. See:
If you have not defined your own data sources or connections within an application, you can use the Administration Console or the WebLogic Scripting Tool to create the resources. See Administration Console Help or Using the WebLogic Scripting Tool in WebLogic Scripting Tool.
Manage the server life cycle
The Node Manager is a utility for remote control of Managed Servers. It runs separately from WebLogic Server and enables you to start up and shut down Managed Servers. While use of Node Manager is optional, it provides additional life cycle benefits if your WebLogic Server environment hosts applications with high availability requirements. See Using Node Manager to Control Servers in Managing Server Startup and Shutdown.
To start Administration Servers, or to start Managed Servers without using Node Manager, use scripts that WebLogic Server installs. See Starting and Stopping Servers in Managing Server Startup and Shutdown.
Modify or add services to an active domain
The WebLogic Server Administration Console provides a graphical user interface for modifying or adding services to an active domain. See Administration Console Help.
If you prefer a command-line interface, use the WebLogic Scripting Tool in interactive mode. See Using the WebLogic Scripting Tool in WebLogic Scripting Tool.
Monitor application server services and resources
Monitor the performance of services such as the EJB container, servlet container, and JDBC data sources from the WebLogic Server Administration Console.
If you use SNMP in your operations center, you can enable WebLogic Server to send SNMP notifications for runtime events that you define. See WebLogic SNMP Management Guide.
Deploy applications
The WebLogic Server Administration Console provides a series of Web-based deployment assistants that guide you through the deployment process. See Administration Console Help.
To automate the deployment of applications, use the WebLogic Scripting Tool. See Deployment Commands in WebLogic Scripting Tool. You can also use the deployment API to write Java programs that deploy applications. See Programming WebLogic Deployment.
For information about additional deployment utilities and APIs, see Overview of Deployment Tools in Deploying Applications to WebLogic Server.
Modify applications in an active domain
To modify the configuration of a deployed application, use a text editor or IDE to modify the deployment descriptor. Then either redeploy the application or use the deployment API to upload the modified deployment descriptor and cause the application container to re-read the deployment descriptor.
Monitor activity within applications
Determine which data points you want to monitor and then instrument one or more beans to expose this data through JMX. See Developing Manageable Applications With JMX.
Alternatively, use the WebLogic Server Diagnostics Service to insert instrumentation code into a running application and monitor its methods or monitor transactions that involve the application. Use this technology to discover the cause of problems that cannot otherwise be discovered by scanning the available monitoring metrics. If you determine that the problem is within your application, you can prevent the problem from recurring by using JMX to expose attributes that indicate the application’s health state is degrading. See Configuring and Using the WebLogic Diagnostic Framework.
Optimize the performance of your application and maintain service level agreements.
Work Managers configure how your application prioritizes the execution of its work. Based on rules you define and by monitoring actual runtime performance, WebLogic Server can optimize the performance of your application and maintain service level agreements.
See Using Work Managers to Optimize Scheduled Work in Configuring WebLogic Server Environments.
Configure and secure administration communications
You can separate administration traffic from application traffic in your domain by enabling the Administration Port. In production environments, separating the two forms of traffic ensures that critical administration operations (starting and stopping servers, changing a server’s configuration, and deploying applications) do not compete with high-volume application traffic on the same network connection.
The Administration Port only accepts communications that use SSL, and therefore secures your administrative requests. See Administration Port and Administrative Channel in Configuring WebLogic Server Environments.
Configure logging and view log files
Many WebLogic Server operations generate logs of their activity. Each server has its own log as well as a standard HTTP access log. These log files can be configured and used in a variety of ways to monitor the health and activity of your servers and applications.
By default, WebLogic Server uses the standard JDK logging APIs to filter and write the messages to log files. See Understanding WebLogic Logging Services in Configuring Log Files and Filtering Log Messages.
Alternatively, you can configure WebLogic Server to use the Jakarta Project Log4j APIs to distribute log messages. See Log4j and the Commons Logging API in Configuring Log Files and Filtering Log Messages.


Summary of System Administration Tools and APIs

WebLogic Server includes several of its own standards-based, extensible utilities that you can use to create, manage, and monitor domains, or you can use WebLogic Server’s management APIs to create custom management utilities.

Table 2-2 describes the utilities that are included with WebLogic Server.

Table 2-2 Management Utilities
Administration Console
The Administration Console is a Web application hosted by the Administration Server. Use it to manage and monitor an active domain. The management capabilities include:
  • Configuring active domains
  • Stopping and starting servers
  • Monitoring server health and performance
  • Monitoring application performance
  • Viewing server logs
Through the Administration Console, system administrators can easily perform all WebLogic Server management tasks without having to learn the JMX API or the underlying management architecture. The Administration Server persists changes to attributes in the config.xml file for the domain you are managing.
WebLogic Scripting Tool
The WebLogic Scripting Tool (WLST) is a command-line scripting interface that you use to manage and monitor active or inactive WebLogic Server domains. The WLST scripting environment is based on the Java scripting interpreter Jython. In addition to WebLogic scripting functions, you can use common features of interpreted languages, including local variables, conditional variables, and flow control statements. You can extend the WebLogic scripting language by following the Jython language syntax. See
Configuration Wizard
The Configuration Wizard creates the appropriate directory structure for a WebLogic Server domain, a config.xml file, and scripts you can use to start the servers in your domain. The wizard uses templates to create domains, and you can customize these templates to duplicate your own domains.
You can also use the Configuration Wizard to add or remove services from an existing, inactive domain.
You can run the Configuration Wizard through a graphical user interface (GUI) or in a text-based command line environment. This command line environment is called console mode—do not confuse this mode with the Administration Console. You can also create user-defined domain configuration templates for use by the Configuration Wizard.
Configuration Template Builder
The Configuration Template Builder provides the capability to easily create your own domain templates, to enable, for example, the definition and propagation of a standard domain across a development project, or to enable the distribution of a domain along with an application that has been developed to run on that domain. The templates you create with the Configuration Template Builder are used as input to the Configuration Wizard as the basis for creating a domain that is customized for your target environment. See Creating Templates Using the Domain Template Builder.
Apache Ant tasks
You can use two Ant tasks provided with WebLogic Server to help you perform common configuration tasks in a development environment. Ant is a Java-based build tool similar to Make.The configuration tasks enable you to start and stop WebLogic Server instances as well as create and configure WebLogic Server domains. When combined with other WebLogic Ant tasks, you can create powerful build scripts for demonstrating or testing your application with custom domains.
See Using Ant Tasks to Configure a WebLogic Server Domain in Developing Applications for WebLogic Server.
SNMP Agents
WebLogic Server includes the ability to communicate with enterprise-wide management systems using Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). WebLogic Server SNMP agents enable you to integrate management of WebLogic Servers into an SNMP-compliant management system that gives you a single view of the various software and hardware resources of a complex, distributed system.

Table 2-3 describes APIs that you can use to create your own management utilities.

Table 2-3 Management APIs
Java Management Extensions (JMX) is the Java EE solution for monitoring and managing resources on a network. Like SNMP and other management standards, JMX is a public specification and many vendors of commonly used monitoring products support it.
The Administration Console, WebLogic Scripting Tool, and other WebLogic Server utilities use the JMX APIs.
Java EE Management API
The Java EE Management APIs (JSR-77) enable a software developer to create a single Java program that can discover and browse resources, such as JDBC connection pools and deployed applications, on any Java EE Web application server. The APIs are part of the Java EE Management Specification, which requires all Java EE Web application servers to describe their resources in a standard data model.
Deployment API
The WebLogic Server deployment API implements and extends the JSR-88 deployment specification. All WebLogic Server deployment tools, such as the Administration Console and wldeploy Ant task, use the deployment API to configure, deploy, and redeploy applications in a domain. You can use the deployment API to build your own WebLogic Server deployment tools, or to integrate WebLogic Server configuration and deployment operations with an existing JSR-88-compliant tool.
WebLogic Diagnostic Service APIs
The WebLogic Diagnostic Service includes a set of standardized APIs that enable dynamic access and control of diagnostic data, as well as improved monitoring that provides visibility into the server. The interfaces are standardized to facilitate future enhancement and integration of third-party tools, while maintaining the integrity of the server code base. The service is well suited to the server and the server’s stack product components and targets operations and administrative staff as primary users.
Logging APIs
By default, WebLogic Server uses the standard JDK logging APIs to filter and write the messages to log files. See Understanding WebLogic Logging Services in Configuring Log Files and Filtering Log Messages.
Alternatively, you can configure WebLogic Server to use the Jakarta Project Log4j APIs to distribute log messages. For more information, see Log4j and the Commons Logging API in Configuring Log Files and Filtering Log Messages.

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