Saturday, 25 April 2009

Lotusphere Comes To You 2009

Somehow I'd managed to miss the fact that a number of the Lotus team had presented clips on YouTube about next week's LCTY events in Manchester ( Tuesday ) and London ( Thursday ).

Here's the clips: -

and here's the registration site for the events themselves: -

I'm hoping to be at the London event, so perhaps I'll see you there ?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Secure Portal - My First Observations

Well, it's been an interesting few days. A colleague and I spent some quality time building a prototype of a secure portal. This is part of a larger project to provide single sign-on from the Windows desktop to back-end applications such as SAP, via portlets.

For the prototype, we used: -

MS Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Service Pack 2
MS Active Directory 2003
WebSphere Portal Express
Tivoli Access Manager for eBusiness 6.1 ( including GSKit, Policy Directory, WebSEAL etc. )

In essence, WebSEAL uses a "junction" to intercept certain URLs e.g. /wps/myportal etc. to direct users to its own HTTP server instance, where the user is requested to sign on using Basic Authentication ( log-in window ) or Forms-based Authentication ( log-in form appears in page ). Once the user is authenticated, they are directed back to the portal server.

TAM can also be used to provide authorization, so that portal resources ( portlets, pages etc. ) can be authorised by TAM roles, rather than the default of using LDAP groups.

The order of play was roughly: -
  • Install and configure Active Directory
  • Install Portal
  • Configure Portal to use AD
  • Install TAM
  • Configure TAM to work with AD
  • Configure Portal to work with TAM
I'm going to do a more complete write-up as time permits, but we did learn a few lessons: -
  • Don't try and install software on an Active Directory Domain Controller ! One wouldn't do this in production,
  • Use ADSI Edit (adsiedit.msc) to validate AD as an LDAP, check Distinguished Names etc.

  • Ensure that the user used to "bind" TAM to AD has the proper level of authority, including Domain Admin and Schema Admin
  • Ensure that the portal admin. user created in AD has an appropriate group e.g. we used PortalAdmin and PortalAdmins respectively
  • Follow the WebSphere Portal Information Centre when configuring Portal and TAM
  • It's possible to set up a transparent junction in WebSEAL so that URLs such as /wps/myportal can be passed through TAM. This means that the URLs are more "portal-like" rather than the default of, say, /wpsv61/wps/myportal.
  • Remember that, whilst TAM can populate users and groups into AD, the same is not true, by default, in reverse. Therefore, it is necessary to use tools such as TAM's own pdadmin to import users and groups from AD into TAM. This caught us out when we tried to authenticate to portal via an AD user that did not yet exist in TAM !

    It is possible to automate the AD -> TAM population, using the included Tivoli Directory Integrator software. It really depends what mechanism one chooses to use to manage users e.g. AD, TAM or an alternative solution such as Tivoli Identity Manager
Will post more when I get some more time ...

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

IBM Lotus Mobile Connect V6.1.3 expands desktop support to include Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5

With thanks to Vowe for sharing this - I did know that it was coming, because I've been using a beta version since I got my Macbook in early February, but I'm glad to report that the code is now GA - will need to download a copy myself now ...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Upcoming Events @ IBM Hursley Park


Notes and Domino 8.5 19th - 20th May 2009
20 - 21 July 2009
22-23 September

Discovering the value of Connections 2.0.1 7th April 2009

Discovering the value of Lotus Quickr 22nd April 2009

Discovering the value of IBM WebSphere Portal V6.1 6th - 7th May


Discovering the value of Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Operating System Deployment 5.1
6th April 2009

Discovering the value of ITCAM for Response Time 6.2 21st April 2009
27th May 2009

Discovering the value of IBM Tivoli Monitoring V6.2 28th April 2009

Discovering the value of IBM Tivoli Network Manager 30th April 2009

TSIEM - Tivoli Compliance Insight Manager Module POT 6th May 2009

Discovering the value of TSM FastBack v5.5 6th - 7th May 2009

Discovering the value of IBM Tivoli Identity & Access Management Solutions
12th - 13th May 2009

Discovering the value of Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager
14th May 2009


Discovering the value of Web Application Security Testing with IBM Rational AppScan
20th May 2009
Discovering the value of IBM Rational Quality Manager
21st May 2009

Collaborative Requirements Definition and Management Solutions from IBM Rational
3rd June 2009

Collaborative software development using IBM Rational Team Concert
4th June 2009


Discovering the value of IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances (Firmware 3.6.1)
13th May 2009

Discovering the Value of WebSphere Transformation Extender V8.2
2nd- 3rd June 2009


SOA Design and Technology Workshop
28th - 30th April 2009


Design and Technology Workshop
27th - 30th April 2009

You can enrol by sending an email to

Monday, 6 April 2009

Unpacking WebSphere Portal Express for Linux ...

Getting ready to install WPX on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), using VMware Fusion 2.0.3 on my trusty Macbook Pro, I put together the following unpack/extract script: -

unzip -d IL-Setup
mkdir IL-1
tar -xvzf C1TQ8ML.tgz -C IL-1
unzip -d IL-2
unzip -d IL-3
unzip -d IL-4
unzip -d IL-5

using the following: -

Required CDs and downloadable images to install IBM WebSphere Portal Express V6.1.0.1

for inspiration.

Right, just need to find the [Any] key ...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Change of Job - Moving from one side of the fence to the other

Well, apart from being the beginning of a new tax year here in the UK, and also being Pay Day (!), I'm pleased to report that, for me, April 6 is the beginning of something new and shiny for me.

After 4+ in a pre-sales technical role, I am pleased to report that I'm now joining IBM Software Services for Lotus ( known as ISSL ) as a Portal Architect. From my perspective, this is a great move for me, as I'm joining a most excellent team of professionals, who provide consultative, technical and project management experience to IBM's clients across the world.

I'll be focusing on portal-related projects, which kinda makes sense given my experience with IBM's WebSphere Portal platform over the past 6 years.

For the record, I cut my teeth with Portal 4.1, learned to love it across multiple platforms including AIX and OS/400, wondered through the wonderful world of Workplace, and have been involved in numerous Portal 6.X projects since 2006 ( anyone remember Cafe Culture ? ).

From my perspective, I'm now getting the chance to practice what I have been preaching over the past few years.

I'll do my best to keep this blog updated, as it should continue to serve me well as an aide memoire as, to misquote T Clancy Esq. "If you don't write it down, it never happened".

If you're interested in knowing more about ISSL, why don't you check out the website here.