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Now available: ‘Supercharging the cloud for an agile enterprise’

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IBM Redbooks recently published the point-of-view “Supercharging the Cloud for an Agile Enterprise”, REDP-5011. The authors start the paper by explaining the situation enterprises find themselves in these days—operating in a fast paced and connected world. The authors state that an agile enterprise must continuously transform and adapt to this ever changing business landscape. This enterprise transformation is accomplished by having a flexible digital fabric and application platform based on cloud computing.

The authors go on to say that the IBM vision and strategic direction for supporting a dynamic and agile enterprise is based on the open cloud architecture. This open cloud architecture at its most basic level consists of three distinct layers: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).

The heart of this paper focuses on these three layers of the open cloud architecture.

The IaaS layer (layer one) resides above the physical hardware and supports virtualization and management of the hardware components. The authors explore the IaaS layer further by introducing the concept of software-defined environments which adds more flexibility and access to all the infrastructure resources by making them into services:

  • Software-defined networks move the network control away from the physical switch to server-based control software.
  • Software-defined storage enables developers to build their own control software to access data, enabling them to customize, optimize and integrate storage components that are ready for immediate use.
  • Software-defined compute decouples the software image from a physical compute resource bolstering application workload mobility, making it possible to automatically select the best system on which to run the application.

The authors state that IBM is both building and acquiring world-leading IaaS capabilities. For example, the recent IBM acquisition of SoftLayer provides the industry’s only seamlessly unified global cloud computing infrastructure.

Next the authors discuss PaaS (layer two) and how it empowers developers by bridging the software-defined environment layer with the composable environment. Composable environments contain cloud services which bring together operational, development, application, database and third party services. Related to PaaS is the IBM and Pivotal announcement of their intent to collaborate on development of the Cloud Foundry open source PaaS framework and to work towards defining an open governance model for the emerging Cloud Foundry community.

The authors provide insight into top layer (layer three) of the open cloud architecture, which is SaaS.  They see this layer as where users gain access to and leverage business applications to support the enterprise’s business processes. The API economy is also explored which is a game changer for application development.  To support these ideas recently, IBM introduced Project BlueMix, a technology incubator platform that leverages Cloud Foundry and includes the core capabilities necessary to build cloud-centric applications. Project BlueMix is intended to further take advantage of the rapid technology innovation happening in the broad ecosystems around OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and various other open cloud architecture components and technologies. The authors foresee how Project BlueMix will be available for private and public cloud consumption, as well as merge core capabilities with IBM SmartCloud Application Services.

This paper is a must read if you want to understand more about the IBM open cloud architecture strategy.

This Point-of-View was written by the following authors, with the assistance of LindaMay Patterson, an IBM Redbooks Technical Writer who works on publications with IBM technology leaders and innovators:

  • Mac Devine, IBM Distinguished Engineer – Director and CTO, Cloud Portfolio
  • Walter Falk, IBM Program Director – IBM Cloud Business Development
  • Christopher Ferris, IBM Distinguished Engineer – CTO Cloud Interoperability

Rob Sauerwalt, IBM Director of Strategy, Cloud Initiative.

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