Planning your Liberty – this is not an escape plan

With the web being the new front end to z/OS, most z/OS products are using Liberty as their web server to deliver web content.   Each product seems to be documented as if it is the only Liberty instance on the z/OS image, for example they all default to use http port 9080.

This blog post helps identify what planning you need to do before you can configure a Liberty instance, be it z/OSMF, MQWEB, CICS, or zOS Connect EE.


Often the person installing and configuring the server is part of the “installation team”, and may not be familiar with the  detailed use of the product, or product based tooling, for example the eclipse based  z/OS tooling.   This person’s role is to configure the server so it meets the enterprise requirements, and the configuration within the server is down to the team who requested it.

Update proclib

You need to decide if each instance will need its own procedure in proclib, or one procedure can start multiple servers.

You will need an Angel process – you can have one Angel started task across all of your Liberty instances on an LPAR, or have multiple Angel tasks.  To be shared, an Angel task needs to be at the highest service level.

If you want isolation you may want to set up an test instance with a different started task userid to the production instance.

Where do the product ZFS libraries go

Usually the product code goes in /usr/lpp/IBM/product_name. Typically you make a directory /usr/lpp/IBM/product_name, then mount the product file system over this directory.  Some times this file system needs to be mounted RW during customisation.   When you upgrade you can just mount the new file system instead of the old file system.

Where do the configuration files go?

The Liberty configuration files can go in /var/… or /u/… . If you intend for the server to be started on another LPAR, then the configuration files need to be available on the other LPAR.  Having a variable with the LPAR name as part of the directory will not work.   The configuration files are defined with the WLP_USER_DIR environment variable. You may want shell scripts which define this variable.  For example the shell script prodmqweb could have export WLP_USER_DIR=/u/mqweb/production/MQPA.   You then use sh prodmqweb to define the variable, or pass commands to it, such as sh prodmqweb dspmqweb so you can be sure you are using the right configuration file.

UNIX Directory List Utility ISPF 3.17 has space for 56 characters in the default directory name, but only 40 when working with files, such as new file or rename.   You may want to have a short prefix, or use an alias. For example /u/zoscA/servers/stockManager/server.xml instead of /MVSA/var/zosconnect/servers/stockManager/server.xml

What configuration files will be shared?

If you already have Liberty running in your environment you may be able to reuse some files, and include them in your server.xml. For example if your keystores are defined in a file you could use <include location=”…./keystore.xml”/> .

If you are providing duplicate servers for availability, you can put you common definitions in one file and share this, and server specific definitions in a different file.

It is easier to manage the configuration files if you provide small function specific files.  For example saf.xml, trace.xml,applications.xml, andr keystores.xml .

What TCPIP ports will be used

Each product will need its own ports, typically one port for http, and another port for https.   You can define multiple ports with different characteristics.  You use httpEndpoint and can specify for this port log this information, for that port log different information to a different place.

If you want to have two instances running on an LPAR using the same port,  the port needs to be defined as SHAREDPORT.

You may want to have the same port defined on each LPAR, so no matter which LPAR is used, use port 9443.

You may want to use VIPA so you have one external IP address into your SYSPLEX, and  z/OS SYSPLEX Distributor to route connection requests or distribute connection requests to available servers. If you want to do this you will need a configured VIPA TCPIP address.

You may need to specify which TCPIP instance to use if you have more than one TCPIP instance on an LPAR.

What keystores will be used

You need two keystores

  1. To identify the server – the keystore
  2. To validate certificates passed into the instance – the trust store.  Typically this has Certificate Authority certificates, and any self signed certificates.

These can be file based or SAF based using z/OS keyrings.  For example <keyStore filebased=”false” id=”racfKeyStore”
location=”safkeyring://START1/KEY” password=”password” readOnly=”true” type=”JCERACFKS”/> 

You might have enterprise keystores available to every one, or provide isolation so you have keystores for bank1 servers, and different keystores for bank2 servers.

Defining the APPL and SERVER resource

The Liberty default  APPL definition is BBGZDFLT. This allows people to access the server (the front door).  If you already have a Liberty installed then you may be able to use the existing definition.

If you want isolation, for example test and production, or between two major applications you will need to select and define different APPL resources.

You will need

<safCredentials profilePrefix="ZZZZDFLT"




   /* for z/OS Connect
RDEFINE EJBROLE ZZZZDFLT..zos.connect.access.roles.zosConnectAccess   +
PERMIT ZZZZDFLT..zos.connect.access.roles.zosConnectAccess + 

   /* for MQ Web

These tend to be mixed case, so take care when defining them.

Starting the instance

If you use

S BAQSTRT,PARM='server1'
S BAQSTRT,PARM='server2'

If you use STOP BAQSTRT then both servers will stop.

If you use


You can use STOP BAQ1 to stop just server1.

You can also use

S BAQSTRT,PARMS=’server1′,jobname=BAQ1
S BAQSTRT,PARMS=’server2′,jobname=BAQ2

Then you can use P BAQ1, and also have WLM give BAQ1 and BAQ2 different service classes, and so give them different priorities

Set up monitoring

There may be SMF data available, which you can collect if you enable the SMF collection classes.

You may have data from JMX which you collect and report.

Accessing the server

You will need to set up a profile and give permission to groups of people, just to be able to use the server.

You may need to protect individual applications, for example ability to start or stop applications, or to invoke the application.  This can be done once the basic setup has been done, and the system handed over.

For example in server.xml for z/OS connect

<service name="stockquery" 

It is good policy to only grant access to groups, and not individual ids as it simplified userid administration.  You would define a3Admin, a4Admin, a3Invoke as groups

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