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IBM Workload Deployer: Application-centric cloud platform (Part 1 of 3)

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Compute, storage, and network infrastructure use cases continue to remain the bulk of cloud computing discussions in addition to virtualization and server consolidation.

Consumption- and subscription-based software services also get attention for specific, non-differentiated services that can be efficiently delivered with cloud.

The application platform capability between the infrastructure services (IaaS, infrastructure as a service) and software services (SaaS, software as a service) has traditionally been riddled by approaches, such as the following two:

  • Multitude of preinstalled static virtual images of operating system (OS), middleware, applications, and varying combinations of the same.
  • Walled garden closed-ended application platforms with proprietary implementations and sandboxed runtimes.

These two models are not sustainable in enterprise environments. IBM® SmartCloud offers enterprise class solutions along with flexible choices. For starters, it offers infrastructure services through six global locations (two in the US, and one in each of Canada, Germany, Singapore, and Japan). IBM SmartCloud for Enterprise and SmartCloud for Enterprise+ also offer a rich service catalog with readily available, pay-as-you-go middleware services from IBM and IBM Business Partners.

IBM Image Construction and Composition Tool is a freely available tool on IBM alphaWorks that helps users build custom images compatible with IBM public and private cloud offerings. See the following website for more information:

http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/iicct

But, what I am going to focus on in this article is the new offering from IBM called IBM Workload Deployer. IBM Workload Deployer appliance has its heritage from IBM WebSphere® Cloudburst Appliance. IBM Workload Deployer extends the topology pattern-based virtual system definition and deployment introduced by WebSphere Cloudburst Appliance. IBM Workload Deployer focuses on an application-centric model defining virtual application patterns incorporating capabilities such as autonomic scaling, caching, load balancing, and so on. It promotes the concept of deploying and managing your application workloads in a shared, self-managed environment rather than manually creating and managing the application middleware topologies. This concept promises to deliver greater simplicity, elasticity, and density among others.

I provide a quick overview of modeling and deploying a virtual application in IBM Workload Deployer and use screen captures to highlight several key capabilities. The information is organized as follows:

  • Part 1 – Configuring Cloud Groups and IP Groups
  • Part 2 – Defining a virtual application model, configuring the artifacts and deploying
  • Part 3 – Integration into application development life cycle by using IBM Rational® tools.

The following two figures show the login window and initial landing window of the IBM Workload Deployer appliance.

One initial task is to configure the system so that it knows the cloud infrastructure resources available to it. IBM Workload Deployer provides logical organization of the same by using the constructs IP Groups and Cloud Groups.

We create an IP group that will be a collection of IP addresses for the virtual machines. We then create a cloud group and associate it with the IP group. In Part 2, we use the virtual application pattern and use the cloud group when deploying the virtual application.

To start creating the IP group, select IP Groups from the Cloud menu as shown in the following figure.

Click the ‘plus sign (+) and enter the appropriate values in the IP group pop-up window as shown in the next figure.

Next, you can add the IP address range, as shown in the following figure.

After we have the IP group created, we must create a cloud group to associate the IPs with. Remember that when we deploy an application, we must specify the cloud group, which, using its associated IP group, would have the knowledge of IP address assignment for the VM instances. We see the virtual application creation and deployment in Part 2.

To start creating the cloud group, select Cloud Groups from the Cloud menu, as shown in the following figure.

Click the plus sign (+) and enter the appropriate values in the IP group pop-up window as shown in the following figure.

The configured cloud group is shown in the following figure.

Now that the basic setup and configuration to make the device aware of the available IaaS resources is complete, we continue in Part 2 with creating and deploying a virtual application.

As always, your feedback is highly appreciated either in the blog comment section or by email: anil.somani@us.ibm.com.

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