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Morgan Patou

Documentum – DOCUMENTUM_SHARED is dead?

In June last year, I did my first manual installation (so without docker) of Documentum 16.4 and I was testing it with PostgreSQL. I quickly realized that there were some changes in Documentum and, unfortunately, I don’t believe that it’s for the best! In this blog, I will talk about the DOCUMENTUM_SHARED environment variable. I tested that almost a year ago with a PostgreSQL binary but it’s the same for all Documentum 16.4 binaries. This isn’t a very technical blog, it’s more like a small reflection about what OpenText is currently doing.




In Documentum 7.3 or below, you could define an environment variable named DOCUMENTUM_SHARED before installing Documentum (see this blog for example) which would then be used to define where the Shared components of a Content Server should be installed. This include mainly the following:

  • The DFC properties and libraries
  • The Java Method Server (JBoss/WildFly + all Applications)
  • The Java binaries

Starting with Documentum 16.4, this environment variable has been deprecated (see KB11002330) and Documentum will simply ignore it. So, you will end-up with all the above components being installed right under $DOCUMENTUM, with everything else. I don’t like that because on Linux, we are used to split things and therefore, we are used to have only a few folders under $DOCUMENTUM and a few others under $DOCUMENTUM_SHARED. Now everything is put under $DOCUMENTUM and even the DFC files/folders. By default in your 16.4, you will have a definition of “…” which points to $DOCUMENTUM as well ($DOCUMENTUM_SHARED before) so you will end-up with a lot of ugly stuff right under $DOCUMENTUM and it becomes messy! These are the DFC files/folder I’m talking about:

  • $DOCUMENTUM/apptoken/
  • $DOCUMENTUM/cache/
  • $DOCUMENTUM/checkout/
  • $DOCUMENTUM/export/
  • $DOCUMENTUM/identityInterprocessMutex.lock
  • $DOCUMENTUM/local/
  • $DOCUMENTUM/logs/

Obviously you can change the definition of the “” so this will be put elsewhere and you should really do that for all file but that’s kind of surprising. When I’m doing a review of an environment or an assessment of some sort, the first thing I’m always doing is going to the $DOCUMENTUM folder and listing its content. If this folder is clean (no log file, no backup, no temp files, no cache files, aso…), then there is a good chance that the complete installation is more or less clean as well. If there is a lot of mess even on the $DOCUMENTUM folder, then I know that it’ll be a long day.


II. long live DOCUMENTUM_SHARED! (for now)


So why am I saying that? Well as always when you try to deprecate something, there are leftovers here and there and it’s pretty hard to change people’s mind… Take for example the “docbase” VS “repository”… Since Documentum 7.0, a “docbase” is now officially called a “repository” but yet, a lot of people still uses “docbase” and even Documentum does (there are a lot of remaining references everywhere). I believe it will be the same for DOCUMENTUM_SHARED.

At the moment in Documentum 16.4, there are the following references to DOCUMENTUM_SHARED:

  • D2 16.4 still uses DOCUMENTUM_SHARED to know where the components are installed. This is used to deploy D2 libraries into the JMS mainly. I didn’t check but I guess it will be the same for the BPM/xCP
  • MigrationUtil (change docbase ID, docbase name, server config name, aso…) still uses DOCUMENTUM_SHARED to know where the is, where the JMS is, aso…
  • dm_set_server_env scripts still uses DOCUMENTUM_SHARED for defining other variables like LD_LIBRARY_PATH or CLASSPATH

Because of these remaining references (and probably much more), OpenText didn’t just remove completely the DOCUMENTUM_SHARED variable… No, it’s still there but they put it, with a hardcoded value (same as $DOCUMENTUM), directly into the dm_set_server_env scripts so other references are still working properly.

OpenText just probably didn’t want to completely remove the environment variable directly so they are proceeding step by step. First ignoring it and they will probably remove it completely in a future major version. Until then, I will continue to define my DOCUMENTUM_SHARED environment variable but for Documentum 16.4, I will set it with the same value as DOCUMENTUM because we never know, maybe in the next version, the variable will come back… ;).


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Morgan Patou
Morgan Patou

Senior Consultant & Technology Leader ECM