WebSphere Application Server & Liberty

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Now Available: Portable installs for WebSphere Application Server and Liberty on z/OS

By Jeff Mierzejewski posted 15 days ago

In 2022, the WebSphere Application Server team updated the Installation Manager jobs for z/OS to allow for the creation of portable installs: copies of WebSphere products which contain their own Installation Manager metadata, and can be moved easily to other z/OS systems and updated there when necessary.  (For more information, see the New Usage Patterns technical document.)

Beginning with WebSphere Application Server Fix Packs and, and WebSphere Liberty Fix Pack, portable installs are now available on IBM Fix Central for each WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and WebSphere Liberty fix pack.

Follow your usual procedures to find the particular fix pack you are interested in, then look for an entry like one of the following:

Version 8.5:

Fix Central portable install for WebSphere Application Server V85

Version 9.0:

Fix Central portable install for WebSphere Application Server V9


Fix Central portable install for WebSphere Liberty
The blue Instructions link on each Fix Central portable install takes you to an overview document explaining how to download, uncompress, and use the portable installs. Each portable install includes a README file (on Fix Central, and in the root of the portable install itself) which lists the contents of the portable install, space requirements, and the service mountpoint to be used for the portable install.

How do I use a portable install?

  1. Follow the download link to a page with the .pax.Z file, the corresponding .sig file, and a readme.  For example:

  1. Download the files, and upload the pax.Z file to z/OS.
  2. Follow the instructions (the Instructions link above) and readme to allocate a zFS filesystem and mount it at the correct service mountpoint. (This mountpoint is provided in the readme file, along with the amount of disk space required for the filesystem.)
  3. From any user ID meeting the minimum requirements for an Installation Manager ID, log in to the USS shell and decompress the .pax.Z file:

    cd /global/instmgr/WL220002
    pax -rz -ppx -o saveext -f $HOME/wlp-zos-

Now you can remount the filesystem (read-only) at its production location.  If will contain a wlp directory with the Liberty runtime, and a hidden directory (.im) with the Installation Manager metadata for the product install. You may need to adjust your JCL or shell scripts to point to the wlp subdirectory.  As soon as this is done, you can start your servers at the new product level.

Each portable install filesystem can be copied elsewhere within your data center, or backed up and restored.  To apply maintenance to filesystem or any copy, mount it on the local z/OS system at its initial service mountpoint  (e.g. /global/instmgr/WL220002) and use the Installation Manager sample jobs for portable installs to apply fix packs or updates.

Downloading a new portable install takes about the same time as downloading a fix pack repository.  So in general, we recommend that instead of applying fix packs to an existing install on z/OS, you simply download a new portable install at the desired level and uncompress it.  This leaves your earlier product level(s) available (and serviceable) for as long as you need them.  With portable installs from Fix Central, you can download a new level of WebSphere Application Server or WebSphere Liberty and be running servers at the new level in as little as 30 minutes (10 minutes for Liberty).

Additional reading:

  • New Usage Patterns for Installation Manager on z/OS (describes portable installs)
  • Using Installation Manager portable installs on z/OS  (short instructon document)