HCL Digital Experience 9.5 Docker and Container initialization performance

Beginning with from HCL Digital Experience 9.5 Container Update CF192 release, container DX applications initialization performance is improved. Review the following guidance for information, defaults, and options to manage container applications initialization performance when deployed to Docker, Red Hat OpenShift, and Kubernetes platforms.

Introduction

When deployed on the supported Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes environments, the HCL Digital Experience core platform "Pod" must be started before it can start serving requests. Furthermore, once the Pod is started, HCL Digital Experience Portal and Web Content Manager core must be initialized before the OpenShift or Kubernetes readiness probes can determine that the Pod is able to serve requests.

The OpenShift or Kubernetes readiness probe functions to execute an HTTP request to the "/wps/portal" or "/ibm/console" page and ensures that it responds. The HCL DX core must be initialized by execution of the "startServer.sh WebSphere_Portal" process before the readiness probes completes successfully. This starts the IBM WebSphere Application Server profile containing HCL DX Portal and Web Content Manager. This initialization process includes several IBM WebSphere and HCL DX applications including select portlets that must initialize before the HCL DX Core can respond to the readiness probe.

In DX 9.5 Container Update CF192 and higher, to support a faster initialization of DX core Portal and Web Content Manager in Docker, Red Hat OpenShift, and supported Kubernetes platforms, most DX portlets not required for initial operations will default to a "lazy load" initialization. Using this means of initialization, an HCL DX portlet application is not started by a user request, but by the first standard HTTP request that occurs and renders a DX portal page that contains the portlet application on the server. Direct access to the portlet, for example an Ajax request, does not start the portlet. In addition, some IBM WebSphere applications not required for initial operations will not be autostarted.

ConfigEngine Tasks

Three ConfigEngine tasks are deployed to support improvements to HCL DX Core initialization times. They are:

  • stop-autostart-docker-applications
  • default-autostart-docker-applications
  • start-advanced-editor-applications

stop-autostart-docker-applications

The stop-autostart-docker-applications task is executed during the Docker image build for DX Core when initialized on Docker, Red Hat OpenShift, or Kubernetes platforms. This task manages the following functions:
  • It will stop the Advanced Rich Text Editor.ear (Textbox.io) files from autostarting.
  • It will lazy load all DX portlets that do not require the Portal and WCM functions to operate.
  • Portlets required for DX operations that will be loaded and initialized include for example, theme modules that are loaded from Portlets. These portlets must be started in order for the theme modules to load. The "Login" and "WCM Local Rendering" portlets are in also this list as they are required to present the Woodburn Studio demonstration site entry page, and therefore the Kubernetes readiness probe. Note that the readiness probe defaults to the WebSphere Application Console via probe functions that execute an HTTP request to the "/wps/portal" or "/ibm/console" page and ensures that it responds. SeeFigure: Configure Editor Options the list of portlets that are needed for DX operations and will automatically load.
Figure 1. Configure Editor Options


default-autostart-docker-applications

The default-autostart-docker-applications task will restore the autostart status of all applications to their out of the box status (and not apply Lazy load initialization functions).

start-advanced-editor-applications

The start-advanced-editor-applications task will start the Advanced Rich Text Editor.ear (Textbox.io) application, if required, and if the customer configures WCM to use the WCM Advanced Editor.
Prerequisites:
Portal Administrators should run the start-advanced-editor-applications task to start the Advanced Rich Text Editor.ear (Textbox.io)application, then proceed to select the Advanced Editor in the Web Content Manager Authoring > Configure > Editor Options interface.

Important Considerations and Limitations of the Container Initialization Improvements

As a result of not autostarting, these applications and portlets, initialization of DX Portal may be faster, but the initial access of most pages will initially be slower due to the fact that the application/portlet must now be initialized. Note this only affects the first access of that application/portlet (as initialization is a once per system activity). As new DX PODS are started, initialization of DX pages with non-required applications and portlets will be slower on first HTTP request.

Using Advanced Editors for WCM

As noted above, beginning with Container Update CF192, and default settings for ‘lazy load’ of non-required portlets and applications, the Advanced Rich Text Editor .ear Textbox.io for WCM is now NOT started. Since this is not a lazy load but rather a stop of the Advanced Rich Text Editor Textbox IO EAR containing the advanced editor, they must also start the Advanced Rich Text Editor EAR by running the "start-advanced-editor-applications" task, before configuring the Advanced Rich Text editor in the Web Content Manager configuration settings, to make the editor available for content authors. It is not necessary in addition to "commit” the new Docker images once this task completes, because these changes are in the profile which is persisted in an external volume and not in the Docker image.

Source File listing of HCL DX required portlets and applications that will autostart:

These configuration tasks use four files to obtain the list of HCL DX portlet/applications to autostart. All the files are located in the same directory:
configuration root}/PortalServer/installer/wp.config/config/includes
For example, a list on this reference system is are located at:
/opt/HCL/PortalServer/installer/wp.config/config/includes
The four import files are:
advancedEditorEAR - Enable the Advanced Editors
defaultListOfEnabledApps - The out of the box autostart parameters
listOfAppsDockerDisable - List of all portlets and applications who autostart is initially disabled
listOfAppsDockerEnable - List of portlets and applications to autostart after having disabled the one in listOfAppsDockerDisable
List of portlets and applications that are automatically initialized by default
(Container Update CF192 release and later):

PA_Login_Portlet_App

PA_Site_Builder

PA_WCMLRingPortJSR286

PA_WCM_Authoring_UI

PA_Pingpageproperties

PA_Styles

PA_Wiring

PA_wp.pzn.ui.actions

PA_Orphaned

PA_VanityUrl

PA_New_Page

PA_Create_Content

PA_Applications

PA_Toolbar_Content

PA_Toolbar_SiteMap

PA_Impersonation

PA_WebScanner

PA_Theme_Creator

List of portlets and applications initialized via lazy load
(Container Update CF192 release and later):

AJAX Proxy Configuration

Default_Theme_85

Dojo_Resources

EphoxEditLive

ibmasyncrsp

isclite

JavaContentRepository

jQuery_Resources

Live_Object_Framework

lwp.addtosametimelist_war

lwp_groupsViewer_war

lwp_peoplefinder_war

lwp_peoplePicker_war

MashupCommonComponent

Mobile_Preview

PA_Applications

PA_AtiveSiteAnalytics

PA_Banner_Ad

PA_Blurb_1

PA_CM_Picker

PA_ContactList

PA_Create_Content

PA_CredVaultDialog

PA_Dialog_Stack

PA_Dialog_State

PA_DynamicUIApp

PA_EitThemeProperties

PA_FedDocumentsPicker

PA_Feed_Service_Admin

PA_FS_Disambiguation

PA_Impersonation

PA_IWidget_Wrapper

PA_Login_Portlet_App

PA_MosoftExchange2010

PA_New_Page

PA_Orphaned

PA_Page_Picker

PA_Pingpageproperties

PA_Pmizationframework

PA_PortalWSRPProxy

PA_PTransformationApp

PA_Search_Center

PA_SearchSitemapPort

PA_Selfcare_Port_App

PA_Site_Builder

PA_spa

PA_Styles

PA_Tag_Cloud

PA_Theme_Creator

PA_Theme_Manager

PA_Toolbar_Content

PA_Toolbar_SiteMap

PA_VanityUrl

PA_WCM_Authoring_UI

PA_WCMLRingPortJSR286

PA_WCMSupportTools

PA_WebDockPortServlet

PA_WebScanner

PA_Wiring

PA_WPF

PA_wp.feedspace

PA_wp.pzn.ui.actions

PA_wp.vwat.manager

Personalization_Lists

Personalization_Workspace

Practitioner_Studio_Theme_95

PSESearchAdapter

pznpublish

pznscheduler

PZN_Utilities

Quickr_Document_Picker

RESTAPIDocs

Seedlist_Servlet

Simple_Theme

SpellChecker

StartupCheck

SwaggerUI

Theme_Dev_Assets

ThemeDevSite

Theme_Modules

TinyEditorsServices

TinyEditorsTextboxio

Toolbar_Modules

Toolbar_Theme_85

UserProfileRESTServlet

wci

wcm

WCM_EXTENSION

wcm-remote-admin-ejb

Woodburn_Studio_Theme_95

worklight_extension

wp.scriptportlet.editor

wp.scriptportlet.importexport

wps

wps_scheduler

wp.theme.ckeditor.ear

wp.theme.toolbar.xslt

wp.vwat.servlet.ear

WSPolicyManager