October 18, 2012 | Written by: Daniel Krook
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If you’ve browsed any information technology news Web sites or trade magazines recently, you’ve probably seen ads from IBM that highlight the capability of products for private clouds (IBM PureSystems) and the public cloud (IBM SmartCloud Application Services) to deliver pattern-based solutions that include “built-in expertise.”
In this post, I describe the benefits of a pattern-based approach and share an example from Zend Technologies, an IBM Business Partner. Zend builds their expertise into a pattern that provides an expertly configured environment for running highly available and elastic enterprise PHP application workloads on IBM public and private clouds.
Expert integrated systems deliver ready-to-use solutions
Built-in expertise is one pillar of the expert integrated system concept (along with two others, integration by design and simplified experience). This approach captures IBM and partner solutions into pre-configured, pre-packaged and automatically integrated patterns that can be deployed simply, quickly and reliably.
This stands in contrast to early cloud adoption strategies where customers provisioned a group of virtual machines from an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider, then installed the middleware, configured a clustered topology and deployed their application. To be sure, replacing physical hardware with virtual servers, disks and networks is an improvement, but cloud computing holds much greater potential for time, effort and cost savings than that.
A pattern-based approach dispenses ready-to-use solutions in a platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. Patterns capture best practices for technology solutions from the vendor, tie together all the software and hardware components and make customer consumption easy.
Capturing the Zend Application Fabric for highly available PHP applications
According to a recent Zend Developer Pulse survey, enterprise interest in PHP and cloud platforms is growing rapidly, with a focus on improving the quality of applications and bringing them to market faster. In fact, this blog itself is a great example of how an enterprise like IBM uses a high quality open source PHP package (WordPress) in a SaaS cloud consumption model to provide a social media presence quickly and effectively.
In the recent past, to create a PHP environment on the cloud I suggested that customers provision a couple of virtual machines on SmartCloud Enterprise, then manually install Zend Server and upload a PHP application to test the link to the DB2 database. This does take advantage of an IaaS cloud delivery model, but it still requires a significant amount of manual configuration.
To meet the expanding demand for easy to consume PHP hosting on enterprise cloud systems from IBM, I worked with Zend to package their highly available, clustered PHP PaaS into a pattern. This pattern is installed onto an IBM public or private IaaS where it can scale up or down in response to server load, and gracefully handles virtual machine failures. Figure 1 shows the Zend Application Fabric topology that can be deployed.
To prepare a pre-configured, optimized, reliable, and production-grade PHP PaaS environment automatically and with less effort, customers can use the Zend pattern to deploy their application quickly. Within 15 minutes they have an elastic enterprise PHP hosting platform that is already integrated with a front end load balancer and is pre-configured to work with DB2.
So there’s an example that shows how the IBM pattern-based approach can capture business partner expertise and easily deploy it on private PureSystems clouds or the SmartCloud Application Services public cloud. You can learn more about the Zend solution on their Web site.