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From Heikki <nos...@nospam.com>
Subject Re: [JNDI] [Config] Configuration: flat file or registry?
Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 10:43:28 GMT
Hi all,

I have just joined the list and have had only little time to browse
through the list archives.

The discussion of a database (directory) vs. flat-file based configuration
made me recall all the horrors our development team had with both IBM
WebSphere and Sun IPlanet J2EE servers few years ago. As some of you might
know both of these had database/directory backed configuration.

Directory is good for many things. As have been pointed out in this
discussion already, user information in many UNIXes (Linux PAM) has been
successfully transferred from /etc files to directories. How ever, user
information is quite simple when compared to J2EE server configuration.
There's only two datatypes (user, group) both very simple and the
relations between these to datatypes are very simple. And there's no need
to look at multiple users at once.

When you look at an J2EE server, this is not the case. There are many
things to configure and the relationships between the entities are
complex. Multiple entities belong to the same group and their
configuration affect each other. Having the configuration in a format
where you can only see a glipse of the whole at once is a bad idea.

With files you can easily take backups of the configuration and revert to
earlier configurations when something goes sour.  As mentioned by others,
configuration files can be version controlled with, for example CVS. Also
fixing broken configurations (inconsistent links, etc) is much easyer with
file-based configuration.

With both WebSphere (2.0 and 3.0) and Iplanet (don't remember the
version), the configuration database could easily be driven into an
incosistent state, from where the only way out was to re-install the whole
server and start from scratch.  I have never seen this happen with
file-based configuration (WebLogic, JBoss, orion-server, etc).

Heikki Vesalainen, Mermit
: GSM +358.50.3695362
: vesalainen@mermit.fi



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