WebLogic Server Multi-tenancy and Partition Isolation by Tim Quinn



Using the multi-tenancy features of WebLogic Server 12.2.1, administrators can use domain partitions to share computing resources in the WebLogic domain across different tenants. Administrators can also simplify administration and management by consolidating multiple WebLogic domains into multiple domain partitions in a single domain.

Yet sharing the same resources across multiple partitions works against isolating the partitions from each other for security and privacy reasons. This short article explores that tension and highlights how you can use the multi-tenancy features to optimize sharing or isolation.

Virtual Targets

To see how all this works we need to talk about virtual targets in WebLogic Server and their role in multi-tenancy. Briefly, a virtual target does two things:

  1. It establishes how end users connect to apps in a partition (using a partition-specific URI prefix, a partition-specific port number, etc.)
  2. It refers to a WebLogic cluster (or individual server).

The WebLogic administrator creates one or more virtual targets, associating each with a server or cluster, and creates one or more partitions, linking each partition with one or more virtual targets. These associations control where the apps and resources in each partition will run.

Sharing Resources

Here is how you would set up a domain’s virtual targets and partitions to maximize resource sharing.

This is the typical consolidation use case – often called the PaaS (platform-as-a-service) model. Several divisions of one enterprise – for example, HR and Finance for one company – might have their own separate partitions in a single WebLogic domain but want to share the computing resources.

In the simplest example, the WLS administrator creates a virtual target for each partition and links each virtual target with the same cluster (including managed servers MS1 and MS2). Applications and resources from different partitions run in the same managed servers. In this way the WebLogic administrator can share the hardware and software resources on those servers – including the Java virtual machine – across the partitions.

This lets the administrator achieve higher density. Because the partitions are part of the same enterprise, isolating the partitions’ code and data from each other might not be a major concern.

In contrast, if a single WebLogic domain is hosting different enterprises, each as a different partition, questions of isolation become much more important.

Even so, sometimes it might still make sense for different partitions to share the same managed servers. For example if you are offering access to a suite of applications to different customers you have full control over those applications. If you are confident in the applications themselves you might be willing to have different partitions share the same managed servers, comfortable that the apps themselves are well-behaved and will isolate data for one partition from data for another. Read the complete article here.

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