Choose a domain home source type

When using the operator to start WebLogic Server instances from a domain, you have the choice of the following WebLogic domain home source types:

  • Domain in PV:

    • Supply a WebLogic installation in an image and supply WebLogic configuration as a domain home in a persistent volume.
    • Supply WebLogic applications in the persistent volume.
    • Mutate WebLogic configuration using WLST, the WebLogic Server Administration Console, or configuration overrides supplied in a Kubernetes ConfigMap.
  • Domain in Image:

    • Supply a WebLogic installation in an image and supply WebLogic configuration as a domain home layered on this image.
    • Supply WebLogic applications layered on the installation image.
    • Mutate WebLogic configuration by supplying a new image and rolling, or by configuration overrides supplied in a Kubernetes ConfigMap.
  • Model in Image:

    • Supply a WebLogic installation in an image and supply WebLogic configuration in one of three ways:
      • As WebLogic Deployment Tool (WDT) model YAML file layered on the WebLogic installation image.
      • As WDT model YAML file supplied in separate auxiliary images.
      • As WDT model YAML file in a Kubernetes ConfigMap.
    • Supply WebLogic applications in one of two ways:
      • Layered on the installation image.
      • In auxiliary images.
    • Mutate WebLogic configuration by supplying a new image and rolling, or model updates supplied in a Kubernetes ConfigMap.

Note that you can use different domain home types for different domains; there’s no restriction on having domains with different domain home types in the same Kubernetes cluster or namespace.

There are advantages for each domain home source type where Model in Image is the most popular choice, but sometimes there are also technical limitations of various cloud providers that may make one type better suited to your needs. The following table compares the types:

Domain in PV Domain in Image Model in Image
Lets you use the same standard WebLogic Server image for every server in every domain. Requires a different image for each domain, but all servers in that domain use the same image. Different domains can use the same image, but require different domainUID and may have different configuration.
No state is kept in images making the containers created from these images completely throw away (cattle not pets). Runtime state should not be kept in the images, but applications and configuration are. Runtime state should not be kept in the images. Application and configuration may be.
You can deploy new applications using the Administration Console or WLST. If you want to deploy application updates, then you must create a new image. If you want to deploy application updates, then you must create a new image, which optionally can be an auxiliary image that doesn’t include a WebLogic installation.
You can use configuration overrides to mutate the domain configuration before it is deployed, but there are limitations. Same as Domain in PV. You can deploy model files to a ConfigMap to mutate the domain before it is deployed. The model file syntax is far simpler and less error prone than the configuration override syntax, and, unlike configuration overrides, allows you to directly add data sources and JMS modules.
You can change WebLogic domain configuration at runtime using the Administration Console or WLST. You can also change configuration overrides and distribute the new overrides to running servers; however, non-dynamic configuration attributes can be changed only when servers are starting and some changes may require a full domain restart. You also can change configuration overrides and distribute the new overrides to running servers; however, non-dynamic configuration attributes can be changed only when servers are starting and some changes may require a full domain restart. You should not use the Administration Console or WLST for these domains as changes are ephemeral and will be lost when servers restart. You can change configuration at runtime using model YAML file snippets supplied in runtime updates (which are substantially easier to specify than configuration overrides); however, non-dynamic configuration attributes will change only when servers are restarted (rolled) and some changes may require a full domain restart. You should not use the Administration Console or WLST for these domains as changes are ephemeral and will be lost when servers restart.
Logs are automatically placed on persistent storage and sent to the pod’s stdout. Logs are kept in the containers and sent to the pod’s log (stdout) by default. To change the log location, you can set the Domain logHomeEnabled to true and configure the desired directory using logHome. Same as Domain in Image.
Patches can be applied by simply changing the image and rolling the domain. To apply patches, you must update the domain-specific image and then restart or roll the domain depending on the nature of the patch. Same as Domain in PV when using dedicated auxiliary images to supply model artifacts; same as Domain in Image otherwise.
Many cloud providers do not provide persistent volumes that are shared across availability zones, so you may not be able to use a single persistent volume. You may need to use some kind of volume replication technology or a clustered file system. Provided you do not store and state in containers, you do not have to worry about volume replication across availability zones because each pod has its own copy of the domain. WebLogic replication will handle propagation of any online configuration changes. Same as Domain in Image.
CI/CD pipelines may be more complicated because you would need to run WLST against the live domain directory to effect changes. CI/CD pipelines are simpler because you can create the whole domain in the image and don’t have to worry about a persistent copy of the domain. CI/CD pipelines are even simpler because you don’t need to generate a domain home. The operator will create a domain home for you based on the model that you supply.
There are fewer images to manage and store, which could provide significant storage and network savings. There are more images to manage and store in this approach. Same as Domain in Image unless you use the auxiliary images approach. With auxiliary images, you can use a single image to distribute your WebLogic installation (similar to Domain on PV), plus one or more specific dedicated images that contain your WebLogic configuration and applications.
You may be able to use standard Oracle-provided images or, at least, a very small number of self-built images, for example, with patches installed. You may need to do more work to set up processes to build and maintain your images. Same as Domain in Image.