IBM Shows Off SOA Cloud Appliance

Cloud computing and virtualization can save money, but the environments aren’t easy to manage. The security challenges of dynamic datacenters drove Trend Micro’s acquisition of Third Brigade yesterday.

Today, IBM is answering the provisioning challenges of rapidly changing datacenters with its IBM WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance

Priced at $45,000, the appliance will deliver pre-fabricated software
images to servers in private clouds, easing patching, updating, and
provisioning. It will be unveiled at IBM’s IMPACT
conference
next week in Las Vegas.

“You could do this by hand, but it takes time,” said Tom Rosamilia,
general manager of the applications and integration middleware division at
IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) software group.

“The appliance helps companies move from version to version of the
software. You can download the latest fixes and freeze a new image and any
subsequent image will get the new stuff,” he said.

In addition, he added, the appliance better enables datacenter managers
to adjust to changing demand because automated provisioning is faster than
manual provisioning. “If today you all of a sudden see a peak in demand and
you try to deploy a server manually, the peak will be gone by the time you
deploy it. As a result, people often have to do peak provisioning. They
either risk a slowdown or denial or provision for peak demand and have
unused servers.”

It is the latest in IBM’s service-oriented architecture (SOA) lineup, WebSphere
DataPower SOA Appliances
.

It works especially well with IBM’s WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus,
which delivers standards-based integration and service oriented interfaces
to WebSphere applications.

The software image used by CloudBurst is called IBM WebSphere Application
Server Hypervisor Edition. It comes with Novell’s SUSE Linux but customers
can replace that with Red Hat. It uses Tivoli License Manager to ensure
that a company does not exceed the number of software images that its
licenses allow.

IBM is further supporting CloudBurst by delivering an on-premise test
environment for the appliance through its IBM Implementation Services for
Cloud Computing initiative.

Software on the public cloud

In addition to the appliance that manages private clouds, IBM is
announcing BPM BlueWorks, a set of tools available in the cloud for Business
Process Management (BPM).

Cloud tools make sharing easier. “Some people use [Microsoft] PowerPoint
or Visio to model business processes,” said Rosamilia. “With cloud tools I
don’t have to buy a license, download software, and train people. I can
work in the cloud and share what I’ve done with a colleague. In fact, I can
collaborate with others in the public cloud whether we’re working for the
same company or not.”

Often, cloud versions of software destroy the market for licensed
versions of the same software, but that won’t happen with BlueWorks.
Although the cloud software allows users to model processes for free, they
will have to buy a license to implement those processes in software.
Furthermore, the licensed version of the software has more features and
functions than the cloud version.

The cloud is a great delivery tool for software vendors and also empowers
customers by allowing them to test drive software. “It’s an easy on-ramp
for BPM,” Rosamilia said.

IBM is committed to cloud computing, he concluded. “These are great
examples of how we provide value to clients through private and public
clouds. We are committed to both models. It may surprise some people to
see us in the public cloud.”

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