What we are doing with WAS?
HCL is bringing renewed energy to Digital Experience, as we add new capabilities and move to a much more aggressive release schedule. Customers often ask what we are going to do with IBM® WebSphere® Application Server (WAS) and the purpose of this post is to explain what we intend to do.
Customers around the world have entrusted HCL Digital Experience with their business critical workloads for 20 years. WAS clustering provides a rock-solid foundation for that, and as a result unplanned outages are very rare and performance is consistently excellent. We are not going to treat that lightly or recklessly.
What is rock solid, but flexible?
That said, our customers are also asking us for a less monolithic approach to HCL Digital Experience (DX). Many of them are investing in Kubernetes as the runtime environment of the next decade. We are responding to that demand with the support for Kubernetes that we released in HCL DX v9.5 and enhanced subsequently. HCL’s strategy is to provide a gradual approach, in order to minimize disruption for our customers, while enabling new runtime architectures as quickly as possible.
When we released HCL Digital Experience 9.5 in September 2019, we announced that it would be supported for at least another five years. This means customers can continue to run their WAS clustered environments during this time, and we will continue to enhance it. In this release, we added a supported option to run the product in a Kubernetes environment, such as Red Hat’s OpenShift or Amazon EKS. More Kubernetes platforms will follow, driven by customer demand. Existing applications will run on this platform, and most customers should be able simply to redeploy their applications using the staging-to-production workflow. Existing portlets and themes will also still run in Kubernetes deployments of HCL DX 9.5.
In parallel, our future direction is clearly towards the Kubernetes architecture. We are creating new services, such as our Digital Asset Manager, Content Composer or Experience API, all of which are based on technologies other than WAS. These new services provide exciting new capabilities for our customers, which we hope will make it easier for our customers to justify moving to our Kubernetes architecture.
For clarity, we will not have a singular migration event in which we re-platform HCL Digital Experience to another application server, because that would introduce risk and uncertainty to our customers. We are focusing on adding new features that add value to our customers, and ensuring that existing customers can adopt those.
We hope this statement of direction is clear and helpful. We would love to hear from you if you have comments or questions about this. We would also love to discuss how you can get the most out of your HCL Digital Experience deployment and help ensure your are on an up to date version. Please get in touch with your HCL representative to discuss this further, or you can reach out to Kirsten.Kelley@hcl.com if you need additional information.