OpenShift WebSphere

IBM WebSphere Application Server on OpenShift V2 Tutorial

A. Synopsis

What this is about

We’ve created a IBM WebSphere Application Server cartridge in order to demonstrate the power and flexibility of Red Hat’s Open Hybrid Cloud strategy. The main focus for this cartridge is OpenShift Enterprise (

The cartridge currently supports the following features:

  • Provisioning of new IBM WebSphere Application Server instance in minutes
  • Full build & Deploy life cycle (as with EAP cartridge)
  • Hot Deployment
  • Jenkins Integration
  • Integration into JBoss Developer Studio

The source code can be found here:


1. Create new Gear

2. Select WebSphere Application Server Cartridge

3. Cartridge creation is finished

4. Overview of newly created application

5. View of created sample application

6. Demo of WebSphere Admin Console

7. Integration into JBoss Developer Studio

B. Installation

1. Setup OSE Environment

You have the following deployment options for this cartridge:

2. WebSphere Application Server Installation


In contradiction to the deployment model of other cartridges (that includes all binaries of a certain technology), we’ve decided not to put the installation files into the cartridge. The reasoning behind:

  • IBM WebSphere Application Server Binaries are very large (around 2-3 GB)
  • Installation process for the binaries takes takes a long time (up to 15 minutes according to the computing resources)

Binary Installation

The following steps will take you through the installation steps for IBM WebSphere Application Server for Developers:

# Install Installation Manager + WebSphere Application Server for Developers

# Replace install.xml
# You can find a sample "install.xml" here

 # Create key files (for connection to IBM download site)
cd tools
touch secureStorage
touch masterPassword
vi masterPassword

# Insert your own IBM ID
./imutilsc saveCredential -passportAdvantage -userName <IBMID_USERNAME> -userPassword <IBMID_PASSWORD> -secureStorageFile ./secureStorage -masterPasswordFile ./masterPassword

# Start installation (you must be root)
su -
./installc -log /tmp/ibm_installation_manager.log -acceptLicense -masterPasswordFile ./tools/masterPassword -secureStorageFile ./tools/secureStorage

Non-Root permissions

In order to create profiles by non-root users, special file permission settings have to be set on your WebSphere installation. Please follow the steps described here:

Installation Result

After successfully executing the above steps you have installed the following components:

  • IBM Installation Manager – /opt/IBM/InstallationManager
  • WebSphere Application Server – /opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer

3. Customize SELinux Configuration

Since IBM WebSphere Application is installed outside of the gear’s sandbox, you need to customize SELinux permission settings in a way that the installation directory “/opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer” can be accessed with read/write.

As a workaround and/or for testing purposes you could also temporarily disable SELinux policy enforcement:

setenforce 0

4. Cartridge Installation

The cartridge can be installed as any other OSE cartridge. However, you MUST have to make sure that WebSphere Application Server has been installed before (as described in the preceding sections):

On each OpenShift node execute the following commands:

cd /usr/libexec/openshift/cartridges
git clone
oo-admin-cartridge --action install --recursive --source /usr/libexec/openshift/cartridges
oo-admin-ctl-cartridge --activate -c import-node --obsolete
oo-admin-broker-cache --clear && oo-admin-console-cache --clear

B. Administration and configuration

Configure a custom installation location for IBM WebSphere Application Server

This cartridge needs an existing installation of the WebSpehere Application Server on each of your nodes. You need to define the location of the installation through a system wide environment variable

echo "/opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer" > /etc/openshift/env/OPENSHIFT_WEBSPHERE_INSTALL_LOCATION

this will make sure that the cartridge finds the necessary components.

Configure non-root file permissions

The file permissions of your WebSphere installation must be set to allow non-root profile creation (see official IBM documentation: This has to be done once per binary installation. You can use the following script as a basis for automating this: “usr/”

How profile creation works

This cartridge will call ${OPENSHIFT_WEBSPHERE_DIR}/install/bin/ and create a profile with the name ${OPENSHIFT_APP_NAME}. The profile will be created underneath the profile directory inside your gears data directory.

The profile will have security enabled. An admin username and a password are generated at the time of creation and the PerfTuningSetting will be set to development.

Access to WebSphere Admin Console

PREFFERED – Option 1) After you have created your gear, do a rhc port-forward <GEAR_NAME> and open a browser with the following URL https://<YOUR_LOCAL_IP>:9043/ibm/console.

Option 2) The Admin Console is also exposed via a separate external port that can be determined as follows:

rhc ssh <GEAR_NAME>

Now point your browser to the following URL: https://<GEAR_DNS>:<WC_ADMINHOST_SECURE_PROXY_PORT>/ibm/console/logon.jsp and enter your credentials. Unfortunately the Admin Console tries to redirect us to the local port 9043. That is why we have to enter the following URL manually: https://<GEAR_DNS>:<WC_ADMINHOST_SECURE_PROXY_PORT>/ibm/console/

Hot Deployment

Hot Deployment is accomplished by using WebSphere’s “Monitored Directory Deployment” feature (see official documentation here: In order to deploy an EAR just put it in the following directory: app-root/data/profile/monitoredDeployableApps/servers/server1.

In addition to this you can also Jenkins as a build server for your application. Just login to your OpenShift Console, select your WebSphere application and click Enable Jenkins. This will create a new Jenkins job for your application that will be triggered after each GIT push to your OpenShift instance.

C. Reference Information

WebSphere specific

OpenShift specific

By Sebastian Faulhaber

Sebastian has spent over 8 years at IBM working as a technical consultant focusing on Business Integration and Business Process Management (BPM).
In 2013 Sebastian joined Red Hat as a Solution Architect; In this role, he used his extensive field experience to support customers with their digital transformation using open source & cloud technology. In 2019 Sebastian took over the leadership for a team of IT architects dealing with middleware, container technology and cloud at Red Hat Germany.

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