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WebSphere Center of Excellence

The WebSphere Center of Excellence (WCoE) can be a virtual organization that is used as a forum for WebSphere technology discussions to help build consensus in your IT organization. WCoE can also be a full-scale technical organization with a clear emphasis on consulting rather than direct product or service delivery to the customers. Either way, a good WCoE is useful and valuable.

Virtual Organization

When a WCoE functions as a virtual organization of WebSphere Application Server technology, its function is similar to that of WebSphere planning engineering. However, it has a different emphasis on providing a forum for technology discussion in order to build consensus. In addition, the members can work together to review and approve product strategies, plans, and roadmaps. For appropriate cases, WCoE can make infrastructure technology recommendations, such as the following, to the senior management for approval:

  • Evaluate and approve target legacy systems and form conversion strategies.
  • Evaluate and approve migration strategies, plans, and roadmaps for WebSphere technologies.
  • Evaluate emerging technologies and make recommendations on introduction strategies and plans.
  • Evaluate JEE standards development and approve migration strategies and plans.

As far as existing products (for example, WebSphere Application Server), WCoE needs to be able to discuss and approve product strategies, plans, and roadmaps. For new products, such as WebSphere Process Server, WCoE can facilitate discussions and make recommendations to the enterprise infrastructure architectural authority for approval or disapproval about the use of the technology in a company. In other words, the WCoE needs to be an ongoing meeting that is a forum for stakeholders to review new technology and best practices.

This kind of WCoE is a critical organization where you can exercise influence over the technological future of the WebSphere technologies in your company. WCoE’s work can shape the future for your WebSphere teams. You want to lead and participate in making key decisions working with the other WCoE members.

This is a virtual team that you want to be part of. This is a forum that you do not want to miss.

Full-Scale WebSphere Engineering Organization

WCoE can be a full-sized WebSphere Application Server engineering organization with an emphasis on WebSphere consulting rather than direct product and service delivery. As seen in Figure 1.5, WCoE has a unique organization structure:

  • JEE standards and framework
  • WebSphere performance testing and monitoring
  • WebSphere operations excellence

WCoE needs to be staffed with experienced WebSphere engineers whose job is to help other WebSphere engineers be more successful. These senior WebSphere engineers do not directly provide WebSphere Application Server products and service to the customers. Instead, they provide engineering artifacts, such as monitoring strategy for performance testing and automation scripts for system audit. They are also pulled into production emergencies to help solve tough technical problems, or are otherwise engaged to assist in resolving for difficult technical problems. However, WCoE does not have day-to-day production on-call responsibilities.

JEE Standards and Framework

Senior JEE developers and architects will be part of WCoE. They will work with the application development organization to deliver JEE application standards and JEE application best practices. They will be responsible for the design and implementation of JEE application framework. All JEE applications with WebSphere as the target deployment environment must use the framework in application development.

These JEE experts provide consulting services for JEE standards, application framework, and WebSphere application best practices. This consulting service is not only for other WebSphere engineers, but also for enterprise architects, application developers, and software vendors. If this WCoE team does a good job upfront, many potential application and system problems are eliminated in preemption (for example, before the software defects have a chance to be programmed into the applications).

WebSphere Performance Testing and Monitoring

WebSphere performance testing and monitoring strategies are critical to the quality and stability of the systems delivered and managed. Consultants who focus on performance and monitoring work are both WebSphere infrastructure and IT infrastructure experts. These WebSphere performance and monitoring consultants have extensive knowledge of the IT infrastructure of a company. They know how many enterprise applications are interconnected or integrated through the system capabilities provided by the infrastructure.

Thanks to their extensive infrastructure and application knowledge, WebSphere performance and monitoring consultants know where, how, and what to monitor in production and performance testing environments. They know how to retrieve detailed performance data in target areas. They use these precious performance data to help the testing organization form highly effective testing strategies and plans. In other words, they are the experts of the powerful methodology of selectively monitoring production systems. They retrieve relevant performance data to guide corresponding performance testing. They know how to use the performance data harvested in testing systems to further hone the production environment. In addition, they have the low-level technical skills to help them perform their job and achieve their technical vision. For example, they know how to create or use system tools to monitor various infrastructure components, such as networks, OSs, JVM, and Java applications.

This team is the high-strength glue that powerfully connects production and testing. These WebSphere performance and monitoring experts are fearsome warriors who neutralize system and application defects with deadly accurate “smart bombs.” They are mighty defenders of your WebSphere system stability and availability, working with your testing organization and application support team.

WebSphere Operations Excellence

WebSphere operation excellence is all about quality automation that is tested and well controlled. This is presided over by WebSphere engineering process and automation experts. They are operations specialists whose job is to help the service engineers reach a high level of productivity and delivery quality through process automation. Their charge is to design process automation programs and apply script programming skills to develop the automation programs.

These WebSphere engineers also provide process automation consulting and help the service engineers customize the automation programs. The team helps to substantially improve the productivity of a team while reducing many human errors in system operations.

Production support refers to participating in production-related engineering and operations support, such as providing production with on-call support. WCoE engineers must have no direct production on-call support responsibilities, but can be engaged for difficult and critical problems as SMEs.

WCoE, as a full-blown WebSphere engineering organization, can belong both to a product-based support model or solution-oriented support model. WCoE can be the engineering division of a large WebSphere organization, or provide support to solutions-based teams.

WebSphere service engineering teams assigned to different LOBs can collectively function as a peer organization to WCoE. WCoE and WebSphere service engineering teams work together on WebSphere planning engineering through a virtual team led by WCoE.

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