IBM Puts Its SOA Where Its Virtualization Is

IT analysts have been saying for the last few years that companies can
leverage greater computing efficiencies by plugging virtualization
technologies into a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

IBM is ushering virtualization to the SOA altar this week by splicing
virtualization capabilities from its System p servers with SOA middleware to
help customers boost hardware and software performance and ease maintenance

Virtualization enables IT administrators to run multiple pieces of software
on a single machine.

IBM employs virtualization in its System p servers, which allows a single
machine to be split into multiple partitions, which can each run different
operating systems and multiple applications. This helps customers shift
processing resources during periods of peak activity.

SOA is a distributed computing paradigm that allows multiple services and
software to be reused, making computing more efficient. Plugging
virtualization into an SOA, then, makes sense. But that doesn’t mean it’s

IBM will start offering System p Configurations for SOA Entry Points to
allow processing resources to be shifted from one partition to another on
the fly to meet peak demand needs. IBM’s System p machines run IBM’s AIX and
Linux operating systems on the same box.

IBM is also offering an optional High-Availability Cluster Multiprocessing
(HACMP) program to give companies fail-over protection to keep systems up
and running, said Scott Handy, a vice president in the Systems & Technology
Group for System p servers.

The SOA configurations will include different flavors of IBM WebSphere,
Tivoli and Information Management software, as well as a detailed reference
architecture for customers or business partners.

Handy said the entry points will get customers, who may have been reluctant
to transition to SOA because changing architectures is “daunting and hard to
get started,” to dip their toes in the water.

If the entry points fly high on the Power-based System p machines, IBM could
take them to its other server lines, including the x, i and z systems.

“I don’t see this as a single point in time announcement but a rolling
thunder and a series of things that will be rolling out through the year,”
Handy said.

The news comes as IBM is preparing for its first-ever SOA customer
conference in Orlando this May.

SOA and virtualization, both expected to amount to multi-billion-dollar
markets in the next few years, are also being sold by IBM  rivals, including Microsoft , Sun Microsystems , and BEA Systems , to name a few.

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