Ok, back in Las Vegas for another week of IBM technology... IMPACT is really great but this year it is rather hot outside so it is a good thing IBM keeps me busy inside...
It is three days into the the conference and I have now had my own speaker session about the implementation of DataPower XB60 and WTX for ESAB (http://www.esab.com/) and also finalized my IBM Champion interview so now I can relax and really enjoy the rest of the week without freaking out about my public appearances... ;)
What's new and exciting then?
Well, for starters those breakfast egg-cheddar cheese-bagels are quite alright... ;)
But there are a lot more goodies coming our way. Unfortunately IBM has forced me to sign a few NDA's (that's None Disclosure Agreement) so I can not share those releases with you only the public ones (for now at least...).
The most exciting for me (and my clients) would be the release of WebSphere Appliance Management Center (WAMC) as part of the support-pack for DataPower rather than a licensed (read: costly) product. The new version 5 of WAMC also have a lot of improvements and a much smaller foot-print on the running server. If you are running a multi-box environment you should really look into WAMC 5; the "multi" part don't have to be "multi" in the sense of production-production to gain benefits from WAMC but can also be a production-test setup. WAMC 5 will be GA (Generally Available) by the end of June...
Further good news is the announcement of the WTX EDI-pack support on DataPower firmware 5 (coming end June as well along with WTX 220.127.116.11 where this is included). This means that we can finally use the EDI type-trees and the compliance maps on DataPower. This comes from IBM allowing us to use the RUN() function.
For all you old Mercator people (like me) and Launcher users this means that we can start using those router-maps again. This also shows that if you nag the right people long enough things will change for the better... ;)
With this release we will also see the need for the WTX test domain go away and instead be supported out-of-the-box in DataPower, so you only need to open a port, give the IP address in Design Studio and start test running maps on the DataPower box directly. I assume this will also be the case for deploying (=uploading) the compiled maps from Design Studio, even though that was not mentioned during the session...
There has also been some talk during open sessions about new ideas when it comes to the appliance form-factor. My belief is that we will probably see much smarter solutions for connectivity for cloud and/or gateway services coming along in the form of a "connectivity" DataPower. This would be awesome for any gateway solution where you would run the server side in the trusted (intranet) zone while having a "receiver" as proxy in the DMZ, e.g. Sterling Integrator for B2B traffic. This would also mean that we would have a secure and flexible route to our trusted domain from any Cloud solution out there.
This can of course be done today using a regular DataPower, e.g. XG45, but I see that the "connectivity" model would be more limited and therefore (hopefully) less expensive.
Talking about the XG45; that's a new improved XS40 still in a 1U shape but with added protocol handling and now being able to run WTX maps as well. This clearly indicates the focus IBM has on DataPower and the willingness to listen to the demands from the market. Previously the XS40 was quite limited and you had to go that extra mile (read: show the money) to get the protocol support needed for every day use in the XI50.
Now with the new supported protocols and functions in the XG45 while considering the added hardware in XI52 you get a distinct separation in use cases even though many of the XI50 functions have been ported to XG45. The choice for a smaller customer with need only for a secure (and smart) gateway for the DMZ the XG45 is now the clear choice!
Continuing with more of the cool stuff is the IBM Workload Deployer, the snippet below explains it in more detail (stolen from IBM.com):
"IBM Workload Deployer is a hardware appliance that provides access to IBM middleware virtual images and patterns to easily, quickly and repeatedly create application environments that can be securely deployed and managed in a private cloud."
This is essentially the only thing needed for your perfect "transformation-as-a-service" solution as you can throw WTX Launcher on there and have it scale up and down dependent on your needs. I would really like to get my hands on one of these...
For anyone wondering about the DataPower GUI I can only tell you things are lightening up for us... more than that I can not reveal, sorry... (remember those NDA's?)