October 6, 2011 | Written by: Megan Irvine
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Virtual machine sprawl
You may already be aware of the concept of a virtual machine (VM) – a place on the cloud where you can install software and run applications, and VMs can be configured to do many things, but let’s take that idea one step further. What if you had to manage VMs, all running the same kind of servers and applications, performing similar tasks. Managing those resources – preparing them, destroying them, and then relinquishing them – is another process to consider. You could spend a lot of time configuring the same type of virtual machine over and over again. Inconsistencies might pop up from having multiple “unscripted” deployments. It becomes harder to keep track of VMs, so some might grow “stale” – they are no longer needed, but are still holding on to resources.
IBM Workload Deployer (formerly IBM Cloudburst Appliance) is a purpose-built hardware appliance, designed to answer this kind of problem. Given your cloud infrastructure, IBM Workload Deployer allows you to optimize the image management process for your environment. It dispenses WebSphere Application Server topologies, which are easy to use and customizable, into the cloud.
Patterns and virtual systems
IBM Workload Deployer includes WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition images, preinstalled with operating system, WebSphere Application Server, and HTTP server. These images are ready to use or can be customized with additional software and applications. IBM Workload Deployer also provides patterns, which are templates for topologies that have been optimized for WebSphere environments. They can include multiple virtual images, which are deployed to the cloud as a virtual system. Patterns can be reused to deploy multiple, consistent, WebSphere environments that are middleware-aware. In other words, you can have applications deployed to a cluster in a WebSphere network deployment cell for high availability or failover.
IBM Workload Deployer gives you more than just the ability to spray out virtual machines; it supports the propagation of virtual systems with workload management capabilities into the cloud.
How to get started
You do need to have a cloud infrastructure in place, whether you are using your existing data center or some other hardware or virtualization solution. Configuring IBM Workoad Deployer is a matter of making the appliance aware of that infrastructure:
- Identify the hardware, hypervisors, and networking (IP addresses) for the cloud.
- Choose virtual images from the catalog, and customize them as needed.
- Use patterns from the catalog to describe the WebSphere topology to be deployed.
- Deploy virtual systems in one step.
If you are not already familiar with WebSphere Application Server, there are many courses available to get you up to speed. This page lists several training paths to choose from. Each training path provides recommended courses for a specific product set or job role.