Friday, 26 October 2012

Everything you ever wanted to know about IBM's Cloud solutions …. but were afraid to ask

This post heartily recommends a series of articles about IBM's SmartCloud offerings and solutions, with particular focus on IBM PureApplication Systems and IBM Workload Deployer.

As part of my move into the WebSphere organisation, I'm getting up-to-speed with a lot of new solution areas, including IBM's offerings around the cloud, in terms of building and provisioning private cloud infrastructures. I need to learn more about two particular solutions - IBM PureApplication Systems and IBM Workload Deployer.

These three articles, by José De Jesús, have provided me with exactly what I needed.

Cloud computing is a model that provides web-based software, middleware, and computing resources on demand. By deploying technology as a service, users have access only to the resources they need for a particular task, which ultimately enables them to realize savings in investment cost, development and deployment time, and resource overhead. Enabling users to access to the latest software and technologies also fosters business innovation.

This article series will help you understand what cloud computing is and how it works, and how IBM products can help you succeed with a cloud strategy.

This first article begins by examining some of the technologies that make cloud computing possible, and then explains the basics of cloud computing.

IBM Workload Deployer is an appliance that can provision virtual images and patterns onto a virtualized environment. It provides a cloud management application as a Web 2.0 interface, pattern modeling technology, and an encrypted image catalog that comes preloaded with virtual images, patterns, and script packages. Workload Deployer does not include the virtualized environment itself — that is, the servers, the software, the hypervisors, and the networking resources. These resources are external to the appliance and must be defined as part of the Workload Deployer configuration.

Workload Deployer supports three types of hypervisors: PowerVM®, VMware ESX, and z/VM®. Workload Deployer also enables you to manage multiple hypervisors or cloud groups as isolated pools of hypervisors of the same type.

IBM PureApplication System embeds the capabilities of IBM Workload Deployer and offers the same Web 2.0 interface and pattern modeling technology, but it also integrates the hardware, the hypervisors, the software, and the networking resources needed to support the cloud environment.

IBM PureApplication System is called an Expert Integrated System (EIS) because it includes everything needed for the cloud in a single box. As Figure 1 illustrates, with Workload Deployer, you bring your own cloud into the picture, whereas, with IBM PureApplication System, you get a cloud-in-a box, which also incorporates Workload Deployer technology. Both Workload Deployer and IBM PureApplication System enable the rapid adoption and deployment of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service offerings.

If you have been following this series, you will have noticed that Part 1 introduced cloud computing concepts in general and briefly mentioned some of the IBM products that make IBM's cloud portfolio the most comprehensive in the industry. From that broad view, the next articles focus on providing a good introduction to how some of our core products actually work. Part 2, for example, introduced the concept of patterns and explains how to create virtual system patterns in IBM Workload Deployer and IBM Pure Application Systems. Following that discussion, this article illustrates how script packages work and shows you how they link virtual system patterns with the actual systems that get deployed with those patterns. This "Navigating" series will end with an extensive tour of the rest of the IBM portfolio so that you can easily navigate your way through the many options and offerings available. (A sister deep-dive series being developed will provide more in-depth coverage on specific topics.)

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