The enterprise-ready IBM SmartCloud Enterprise is a dynamically provisioned and scaled environment that provides you with everything you need to develop and test applications (if you want those applications to be able to use all the advantages of cloud computing). The environment provides:
- A Web 2.0 dashboard for managing your cloud resources for development and test.
- Images of IBM software packages essential for development and test (the tools in the cloud).
- A set of APIs for managing and accessing the Cloud resources programmatically (the tools for the cloud).
On the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise site, you'll find these pages:
- Overview: The landing page for the Developer Cloud. Here's where you log in after you have created an account. After logging in, you can add instances, view notifications, and view your account summary.
- Control panel: Manage and monitor the cloud resources; you can add and manage instances, images, storage, and service instances.
- Asset catalog: View and manage the details of public and private images (permissions, system files, user guides, customizations, and general content). This feature is powered by the Rational® Asset Manager product and enables the core support forums functionality for the Developer Cloud.
- Account page: Holds your access keys, your reserved IP addresses, account and instance/image notifications, some global statistics, manage users, and view usage reports.
- Support page: Access support forums and a large variety of helpful cloud repositories, resources, and assets.
In addition to the web site, you can access the Developer Cloud through a RESTful API, a Java™ API, and a command-line management interface.
How IBM SmartCloud Enterprise benefits developers
The challenges to planning, implementing, and maintaining an application development and test environment are evident:
- Large up-front capital commitment and a well-in-advance planning process are required to procure the infrastructure in advance.
- An infrastructure that doesn't get used efficiently due to heterogeneity and lack of transparency.
- Configuration drift and manual server configuration limit testing accuracy and complexity.
- Environment provisioning is a labor intensive, manual, time-consuming process.
SThe IBM SmartCloud Enterprise environment helps eliminate all of that. (Being for developers, though, we're not going to address issue number one in this article.)
What if you could run more tests faster?
One of the things working in the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise environment can offer developers is the ability to only have to pay for the testing resources when you need them instead of paying for the entire infrastructure in advance. (I know, I said I wouldn't talk about cost, but in this case paying only for what you use means your budget for testing can go farther).
And this one is a dream: Working with IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, you can set up new testing environments and entire topologies based on standardized configurations with just a few mouse clicks. Compare that to a manual process of procuring servers and installing software on them manually!
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise provides a self-service portal to give you rapid access to virtual machines with options for storage:
- Ephemeral storage (in other words, tied to the VM) or
- Persistent storage (where the life cycle is independent of any particular VM).
As well, you get access to operating systems and various middleware and software products. You can quickly reconfigure your testbed by selecting from the IBM-supplied catalog (which includes images of IBM software and other operating systems). You can choose from the menu of public images or pick from your own software licenses and applications.
As in most current development environments, once you stop work for the day, it takes time to get back to where you were. With IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, you take a snapshot of your image and use that snapshot to resume your work immediately, right where you left off. And you can save your customized images in your own private catalog to access in the future so you're always building on your own successes and avoiding the same mistakes over and over again.
What if you could run more accurate tests?
As I just mentioned, you can choose from a catalog of software with pre-defined test configurations from development and testing tools (like Rational and WebSphere®) and runtimes (like Java J2EE). Having a substantial portion of your testing software already in proven configurations makes the work that much easier. And images such as Rational Application Developer and Rational Software Architect come with the Developer Cloud adapter already pre-installed which will help you automate tasks and access cloud resources directly from these IDEs.
What if you could work better with others?
You can interact with the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise site through a browser or through a number of IBM Rational tools. This ability gives the site a rather unique Internet-based user "experience" that makes the environment an efficient one for developers so they can easily reuse components and collaborate in application development.
And the available tools and runtimes and configurations are designed to be used in a collaborative manner, so not only can you share your applications and their tests, you can share the tools you're using to test them. For instance, it takes just a few minutes to provision an instance of Rational images. Add your users, configure permissions, and you're ready to start!
The depth of experience behind IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
The IBM SmartCloud Enterprise was constructed using the skills, experiences, and best practices that IBM developers and designers earned through years of working with clients and operating security-rich, reliable enterprise data centers. The knowledge from hundreds of cloud installations, including several of IBM's own internal ones, went into building IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, the interface, and the application building and testing tools.
The developerWorks cloud computing site offers updated resources on cloud computing, including
- An introduction to the world of cloud computing.
- Updated technical articles and tutorials and pod- and webcasts to ease your development efforts, as well as a window in professional workshops and recorded sessions to make you an efficient cloud developer.
- Connections to IBM product downloads and information designed for use in cloud environments.
- An active feed into the topics the community is buzzing about.
- IBM SmartCloud serves up a high-level overview of IBM SmartCloud offerings.
- Stay current with developerWorks technical events.
Get products and technologies
- Learn more about the enterprise-ready IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
- With IBM trial software, available for download directly from developerWorks, build your next development project on the cloud.
- Join the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise Support Community is the community for cloud updates and resources.
- Get involved in the developerWorks community (developer blogs, groups, forums, podcasts, profiles, newsletters, wikis, and community topics) through the developerWorks Community, a professional network and unified set of community tools for connecting, sharing, and collaborating.