Cloud Pak for Business Automation

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CP4BA How to easily install an environment (starter and production types)

By Marco Antonioni posted Sat January 27, 2024 04:05 AM

  

IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation

Introduction

 
When it comes to business automation, the greatest attention is paid to issues such as the simplicity of designing solutions (low-code and no-code tools), the possibility of simply combining processes and rules with artificial intelligence, how to make straight-through (STP) anything to increase the productivity and profitability of a complex solution.
 
Too often the topic of how to design and create a supply chain of runtime environments for the products that will support the business is forgotten or avoided.
The dark work that products and their internal components do to simplify every task classified as 'low-something/no-someother-thing/stp-anything' is remarkable and increasingly complex.
'Operators', often shadowy entities, who carry out many of the installation and configuration tasks 'by-design' are the best friends of IT teams managing containerized environments.
 
The installation and configuration operations of IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation using the official product tools are quite simple and intuitive.
They become a little less so when a detailed configuration of one of the CP4BA capabilities must be defined; in this case you need a detailed skill of the particular component you want to install.
No automation, unless it repeats something already done, will ever be able to replace the work carried out by the designer/architect/systems engineer.
 
The toolset I present in this post has the sole objective of hyper-simplifying those potentially recurring installation and configuration activities; always maintaining the use of the official tools of the product.
In reality there is a second objective and I hope it can be achieved, which is to help my IBM colleagues in the technical sales team and IBM business partners to familiarize themselves step by step with the installation and configuration issues of CP4BA.
  (courtesy @milani creative)
 
This tool must be intended to support activities such as demonstration of product functionality, training ground, fast and automated creation of 'test' type environments.
It must not be used for true production environments as, in addition to not defining the valid tuning for the various scenarios, it uses dynamic storage (PVC with their PV) and therefore makes it practically impossible to define a clear volume backup governance strategies.
 

CP4BA installation overview

 
As previously mentioned, the IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation product offers a complete and effective set of tools and examples to create various combinations of installations.
Basically the sequence of activities for an installation can be exemplified in:
 
1. Definition and characterization of the CustomResource (CR) which descriptively guides the operations that the 'Operator' will have to carry out autonomously to install the capabilities indicated by you
2. The installation of the Operators, for example in a specific namespace
3. The deployment of the CR and subsequent automated creation of all components
4. wait confidently
5. Onboard the users who will carry out activities on the installed products (administrators, developers, end users)
 

When to use this toolset

 
Installation activities can be completely automated following a predefined configuration.
In the 'low' environments (test/q&a/performances), installations and configurations can be done multiple times during the life cycle of a release of versions of application solutions.
To go into real examples, a test/q&a environment that does not require an equivalence of resources with the production one can be created in a short time in automated mode, used and then eliminated to avoid unnecessary consumption of licenses.
 
The toolset can install 'starter' and 'production' type environments, it uses only the standard tools offered by IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation (https://github.com/IBM/cloud-pak/tree/master/repo/case/ibm-cp-automation),
there is therefore no risk of non-standard operations not supported by IBM Support.
 

How to use the toolset

 
Detailed instructions on how to use the toolset are described in the README page of the repository https://github.com/marcoantonioni/cp4ba-installations
The installation toolset also makes use of other tools dedicated to CP4BA which are always present in my Git Repos page (https://github.com/marcoantonioni?tab=repositories) which can also be freely used for other recurring activities such as deployment of applications and subsequent configurations.
The tool performs, if defined in the configuration, the deployment of an LDAP server and one or more PostgreSQL servers to support the configured products.
It is possible to create additional LDAP servers and federate them as external IAMs in the Pak Zen layer and subsequently onboard the users you select (see supporting cp4ba-* projects).
It is possible to create additional PostgreSQL servers to be used as simple application databases to support development or test environments.
 

How to extend the basic configurations and those present as examples

 
In the repository there are a number of installation examples that can be used as examples to create new configurations useful to you.
There is also a generic template from which to take initial inspiration and create new configurations.
 

Conclusions

 
Ah, but didn't I tell you that to install and configure an environment with this tool you just need to run a single command?
 
Have fun and stay tuned, I will soon release more example configurations for 'production' type ADS and FNET.
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