One thing that shocks newcomers to FileNet is the effort involved in installing the software. Any seasoned computer user would normally expect that it entails nothing more onerous than running setup.exe, with a shiny new application available within a few minutes. How wrong they are! An experienced engineer will do well to get the base system established in under a day. But for the complete P8 suite, spanning multiple environments, I’ve known this to take weeks, and frequently, months.
With version 5 of FileNet P8, IBM have introduced a new tool for installing the software. The CPIT, or Composite Platform Installation tool, allows implementers to deploy P8 within a single-server, and removes all the hassle that we’ve come to expect in installations. Under no circumstances should this be used in Production scenarios – with the constraint of running on a single machine it is intended for demonstration systems, development machines, and testing situations. For everything else, we’re back to the tried and trusted approach.
The tool is supported on Windows, AIX and Linux. It has to be said that it’s somewhat fussy – disk space requirements are adhered to religiously, permissions are not to be neglected, previous installation attempts must be wiped off, and even then, failures can occur for no obvious reason. But once you’ve adapted to its fussy demands, it really is a boon to be able to deliver a system in under 3 hours.
There is a downside though. I can’t speak for the rest of the FileNet community, but I’m not aware of any of my current or previous P8 customers who rely on the DB2 database, or Tivoli Directory services. But if you use CPIT, you’d better get used to them. One of the caveats of DB2 that I’ve recently found is that I had to acquire a Licence file; without it, DB2 refused to start up. No mention of that in the CPIT documentation. Reluctantly, I’ve had to start learning snippets of DB2 & TDS, so that I can manage the system, no choice really.
But then, I guess that was IBM’s intention when they introduced CPIT.