Most people assume that in order to run WAS admin scripts, you need to have full WAS installation available on the client machine. This is not correct. Starting with WAS 6.1, it is possible to use the so-called “administration thin client”: instead.

The thin client has many benefits:

* The client consists of only two jars approximately 33MB in size, so you can set it up anywhere. With the traditional wsadmin client, you have to get WAS installed on your machine just so you can run wsadmin scripts. This is especially tedious if you have to deal with multiple versions of WebSphere products (and most large organizations have WAS versions in parallel). With the thin client you can just copy the two jars from an existing WAS installation onto a client machine. The only catch is that IBM JDK (or, more precisely, a JDK containing IBM security provider — on Sun and HP-UX WAS actually comes with the Sun JDK) is still required. You can copy it from an existing install as well (I hope it doesn’t violate any licensing terms).

* Since the client’s size is so small, you can add it to your version control or to your Maven repository. This makes the build more repeatable for developers (your build does include deploying to the application server and “running tests against it”:/build-to-test, doesn’t it?).

* The shell script to run the thin client could be easily customized. For example, you may want to add some Java classes to wsadmin classpath. This will make it possible to invoke these classes from your wsadmin scripts. Or you “may want to use a more modern jython version”:/using-jython-221-with-wsadmin-tool for your scripts. In fact IBM does’t supply a shell script with the thin client, they just provide an “example”: .

You’ll need to make sure that you update your client jars whenever the server installation is upgraded.

Oh, and if you’re using WebSphere ESB/Process Server and want to utilize some of WESB-specific admin tasks (available from AdminTask object), you’re out of luck; the thin client will not support those.

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