As application developers or testers, we all want to be able to access higher-quality development and test environments more quickly and more reliability, so we can accelerate how we do our work. In one word, we want to become more agile.
Also, more and more enterprise customers are getting tired of managing desktop applications, especially large companies with tens or hundreds or even thousands of developers. Just imagine the work to apply software and OS emergency patches. Back when we all had terminals for application development, managing environments was simple, but with desktop computers, it has become a huge task.
However, as practitioners ourselves, we recognize and fully understand the needs of development teams and their related operations teams. That is why we now make all of the Rational integrated development environments available on the cloud, too.
What difference does it make?
The first thing to realize is that a cloud-based integrated development environment will not change the way that you write code or share models and source code with your colleagues. It might change the way that you test your code.
All four Rational development environments that are available on the IBM® SmartCloud Enterprise are designed for collaboration. They all include the IBM® Rational Team Concert™ Eclipse client, along with the integrated development environment tools.
Because your IBM® Rational® development environment does not run on a physical machine within your network, you will obviously need a way to access the environment remotely.
Along with the practitioner's desktop, here is what you will find, already installed and configured in all four cloud-based Rational development environment images:
- IBM Rational Team Concert, Eclipse client 4.0.1
- SSH and Virtual Network Computing (VNC) server for a secure remote access from a light desktop
- Development environment running through automation scripts
- Getting Started documentation to help you quickly access your development environment
As you can see in Figure 1, the virtual development environment can be enabled to access your privately owned infrastructure and machines securely by using a VLAN. This takes advantage of private resources that cannot or should not be on a public cloud infrastructure so that practitioners can do their work.
Figure 1. Rational development environments on SmartCloud Enterprise
Request a new instance for your cloud development environment
Imagine that your company has given you access to SmartCloud Enterprise, and you're ready to get started with your first access to your new development environment.
Hosting virtual desktop environments on the cloud can make life easier for developers. With what is available to you on SmartCloud Enterprise, provisioning and accessing your environment are simple.
Even though it is a simple to get to your Rational development environment, I encourage you to watch the YouTube video that shows all of the steps before you start (see the link in the Resources section).
Select the image
The first thing to do is to request an instance of a Rational development environment:
- Use an Internet browser and connect to the SmartCloud Enterprise portal.
- After you have chosen a data center location for your cloud instance and associated data, you will be offered a list of available images, depicted in Figure 2, that can serve as a base for your Rational development environment.
- Select the image that corresponds to the development environment that you want to use, and click Next.
As Figure 2 shows, all four Rational development environments are available with a bring your own license model (BYOL) for Version 8.5.1. BYOL means that you use a purchased license for the Rational development environment, exactly as you do on your desktop.
Depending on whether your work involves, for example, UML modeling, building mobile or advanced web applications, or even maintaining a COBOL or RPG application, select the image that includes the appropriate application:
- Rational® Software Architect for WebSphere® Software
- Rational® Application Developer
- Rational® Developer for System z® or Rational® Developer for Power Systems Software™
Figure 2. Rational development environments available on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
Configure the instance
Another important step in creating your cloud instance is configuration of the virtual machine that hosts your Rational development environment. In addition to providing a name and size for this machine, this helps you define the general VM setup. For example, you can control access, for security, by assigning a mandatory RSA key (see the Key attribute) or by using a VLAN when you need to make your cloud instance part of a secure network.
Figure 3 shows the "Configure image" dialog window in the Add Instance view, where you specify parameters. The process is documented in-depth in the User's Guide that is available from the SmartCloud Enterprise portal.
Figure 3. Virtual machine configuration
Configure additional parameters
The next step in the cloud instance creation wizard is to personalize the virtual development environment. As you can see in Figure 4, you are asked to specify parameters that will be applied to the instance by activation scripts when the instance starts.
The first parameter is a password that is common to all Rational development environments. This password is used and set up by both the operating system and the VNC server for the default user, idcuser.
You will discover that some Rational development environment images, such as the one with Rational Developer for System z, offer more personalization of the development environment (there are more parameters to specify). . If you provide the IP address, a connection to a corresponding IBM® z/OS® system will be created and visible from the Remote System Explorer view of your development environment.
Figure 4. Rational development environments personalization
Access and explore your virtual Rational IDE
Before you can finish the cloud Add Instance wizard, you are asked to confirm your request. If you cancel your request, there will be no further action, and no instance request will be processed, and the wizard will close.
But if you accept, the portal will direct you to a list of your current cloud instances, including the newly requested one. That new instance must go through three states before you can access your development environment:
- When your instance is active, so that you know how you can access it, select it from the list to reveal more information about it. You will see general details of the virtual machine, such as the IP address, the host name, the memory and disk sizes, and specific information about the Rational environment that you selected.
Figure 5. Getting started with Rational development environments
- Read the Getting Started section at the bottom of the page to get details such as what is available to you in the instance. Also read the User's Guide instructions about access to your virtual development environment.
If you follow these instructions, you should see one of the four desktop screen captures shown in Figure 6. You are then ready to start working as you would with a physical desktop installation.
Figure 6. The four virtual Rational development environments
In today's challenging development world, agility has become the norm. Leveraging developers and testers to quickly get access to the right resources at the right time throughout the application or systems development lifecycle is essential for the teams to deliver better quality software in a timely manner.
We are all experiencing a drastic change in the way that we can reach the tools we need to do our daily work. Software development must be part of this change.
Making the Rational development environments available on the IBM cloud is one of the first ways to serve this purpose, where simplicity becomes the rule. More integration between virtualized tools will increasingly ease the way we that deliver high-quality software.
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." — Winston Churchill, November 1942
- Browse the introduction to IBM SmartCloud options.
- Learn more about IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM's enterprise-class public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and how to access the SmartCloud Enterprise infrastructure (requires registration, no charge).
- In the Cloud computing section on developerWorks, delve into how-to articles, tutorials, podcasts, demos, and links to much more info to help both those new to cloud computing and those already experienced.
- Watch the Getting started video for the IBM Rational Integrated Development Environments 8.5.1 on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise (YouTube).
- For related information, read Access your private infrastructure securely from a cloud environment, also by Jean-Yves Rigolet (developerWorks, March 2013).
- Find out more about the Rational software mentioned in this article:
- Rational Application Developer for WebSphere overview for features, system requirements, ratings, and reviews, and then browse the developerWorks page for links to technical articles and many related resources.
- Rational Developer for System z overview and the developerWorks page.
- Rational Developer for Power Systems Software overview and trial download, plus the developerWorks page for many more resources.
- Rational Software Architect products page and be sure to check the developerWorks page and explore the product overview, where you'll find a trial download link.
- Rational Team Concert articles and links to many other resources on IBM developerWorks and the product overview page, features and benefits, system requirements, and check the Rational Team Concert page on Jazz.net. Also, watch the webcast on Using Rational Team Concert in a globally distributed team.
- Explore the Rational software area on developerWorks for technical resources, best practices, and information about Rational collaborative and integrated solutions for software and systems delivery.
- Stay current with developerWorks technical events and webcasts focused on a variety of IBM products and IT industry topics.
- Attend a free developerWorks Live! briefing to get up-to-speed quickly on IBM products and tools, as well as IT industry trends.
- Watch developerWorks on-demand demos, ranging from product installation and setup demos for beginners to advanced functionality for experienced developers.
Get products and technologies
- Download a free trial version of Rational software.
- Evaluate IBM software in the way that suits you best: Download it for a trial, try it online, use it in a cloud environment.
- Join the Rational software forums to ask questions and participate in discussions.
- Ask and answer questions and increase your expertise when you get involved in the Rational forums, cafés, and wikis.
- Join the Rational community to share your Rational software expertise and get connected with your peers.
- Rate or review Rational software. It's quick and easy.