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IBM SmartCloud Entry: Deploy two working environments in minutes

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Note: This post was originally published on our French blog, ThoughtsonCloud.fr.

The importance of “time-to-service”

As an IT Infrastructure consultant, I am used to meeting IT Operation teams. People that I consider clients are seen internally by other lines of business as IT providers. Both are measured on two common criteria: the quality of their work and the time to service when delivering.

According to the IT Operation team’s feedback, one of the most common activities is the creation of an operation environment, including resizing and dismissal to release the resources associated when the project is completed.

A recurring use case is that of an IT department striving to satisfy the development department. Development aims to follow up the business requests as quickly as possible.

Virtualization alone is not enough

Previously, virtualization positioned itself to eliminate any idle time in the process of generating a new environment.  Over time, it has been proven that virtualization itself is not sufficient to solve this problem.

In x86 environments, the provisioning of a new environment (meant as an operating system contained in a virtual machine (VM)) is a very simple activity that VMWare has helped democratize.

In back-office environments (like those based on IBM i and AIX), provisioning is not complicated. The difference is that it requires an element of coordination across IT Operation, Storage and Network teams, given the number of tasks to be shared among the various actors. Stability, considered as one of the value points of this platform, induces one to think (erroneously) that such environments cannot support the dynamicity that is specific to the cloud environments.

Standardization and automation: the keys to success

The real difficulty lies in standardizing the requests from the lines of business, and identify the workload deployable offered in the Service Catalog.

Standardization requires the IT department to make some choices to identify and standardize what can be deployed. Once this effort is done, the remaining task consists of implementing enough automation to enable the user to manage a request from the beginning to the end (throughout the fruition of the environment being provisioned).

The goal is as clear as the value: to minimize the time to service in order to have an operational environment in near real-time.

The following video is an example of what IBM is able to offer customers that are sensitive to the problem of dramatically reducing the time to service. In less than seven minutes, the example shows an IBM SmartCloud Entry use case, deploying two working environments in a few minutes, the first running IBM i 7.1, the second AIX 7.

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