November 13, 2013 | Written by: Helvio Machado
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Lately, many independent software vendors (ISVs) have started moving to a software as a service (SaaS) model, supported by an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model on cloud. However, even on cloud, in most cases they still have to worry about the IT infrastructure to support their software business.
In this blog post, I will share how these ISVs can take advantage of IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+ (SCE+), thus eliminating infrastructure issues and concerns, while leaving more time to focus on their core business.
SCE+ is a private and shared cloud computing offering from IBM. It provides virtual machines in different sizes on AIX, Linux and Windows platforms, with service level agreement (SLA) options between 98.5 percent and 99.9 percent hosted across data centers across the world. It also provides managed services up to the operating system (OS) layer, based on IBM outsourcing business, with decades of proven experience.
On a traditional cloud IaaS model, ISVs contract virtual machines (VMs) from the service provider and provision them. Once this is done, the ISV will need to care about too many things during the activation and lifecycle. On SCE+, these things are managed by IBM. Some examples are:
- Security settings: While in other IaaS offerings the ISV would need to worry about what security settings and policies to apply to the OS, in SCE+ this stays under IBM’s responsibilities and is tied to a tested and proven security policy. During the VM lifecycle, periodic health checks are performed to ensure everything is set in accordance to the established policy.
- Patch management: This is a sensitive point that demands a lot of effort and attention from system administrators. By missing a critical security patch, the OS can be vulnerable and suffer attacks, thus taking services down. The patch management process in SCE+ assures patches are regularly deployed, within some different patching windows options. Look for more about this in a future blog post.
- Backup: Standard SCE+ services already contain flat file backup for the whole virtual machine and include off-site and encrypted backups. Optionally, ISVs can contract online database backup for IBM DB2 database software, Oracle and MS-SQL technologies. On traditional IaaS offerings, this is usually under the ISV responsibility.
- Monitoring: The whole infrastructure and all managed services provided by SCE+ are monitored on an around-the-clock basis and, if any incident happens, IBM support teams will take required actions to restore services. Also, there are options to contract additional monitoring for non-managed services, such as database and middleware, which send alerts to the ISV’s email address.
- Service management: All SCE+ managed services are based and guided by ITIL V3 best practices and an IBM governance model. This is very important for ISVs to ensure that their core business IT infrastructure has well-defined IT service management processes.
Those activities are time consuming and, without appropriate tools and processes in place, can lead to failures in the infrastructure thus resulting in service unavailability. At the end of the day, many ISVs spend their precious time and resources performing such tasks while they could be putting that energy into their SaaS offerings.
Besides the management aspects, by adopting SCE+, ISVs benefit from the cloud elasticity model, once they can grow their infrastructure according their business need. This is a very interesting model and it has been shown as an attractive solution with some ISVs I have been working with.
Would you like to chat more about this? Look for me on Twitter and let’s do it! You can also find more information about SCE+ here.