|Not long ago I created a demonstration that highlighted the new support for the PowerVM platform introduced in WebSphere CloudBurst 1.1. In that demonstration I showed how you can deploy to a PowerVM cloud by defining a new cloud group that interfaces with a VMControl instance to manage a pSeries cloud environment. However, in the demo I did not go into much detail about the components of a pSeries cloud used with WebSphere CloudBurst.|
|Since pictures help me out a lot, I thought I’d start the discussion with an image that depicts the components in the pSeries cloud environment and the workflow when using WebSphere CloudBurst to deploy systems to this environment.|
|The workflow begins when a user requests the deployment of a pattern and targets that deployment for a PowerVM cloud group. WebSphere CloudBurst first checks that the cloud group contains the compute resources necessary to deploy the pattern. After the resource checks are complete, WebSphere CloudBurst decides where to place each virtual machine that will be created from deployment using its intelligent placement algorithm. No matter the type of the cloud environment being utilized the appliance retains control over placement decisions, thus ensuring the virtual system has been deployed in a way that optimizes both performance and availability.|
|Once the placement decision has been made, WebSphere CloudBurst communicates with the VMControl instance, which in turn instructs the Hardware Management Console (HMC) to create LPARs on the targeted pSeries machines. These LPARs will host the virtual machines that represent the WebSphere Application Server nodes in your virtual system. After the LPARs have been created, WebSphere CloudBurst leverages VMControl to instruct the Network Installation Manager (NIM) to deploy virtual images to the necessary LPARs.|
|When the LPARs have been created and the virtual images have been deployed to those LPARs, the common process of virtual system creation can proceed. This process includes starting virtual machines, starting WebSphere Application Server components, and running any user-supplied scripts. The end result is a ready to use, virtualized WebSphere Application Server cell running on the PowerVM hypervisor platform.|
|I hope this provides a nice overview of the underlying environment when PowerVM hypervisors are used with WebSphere CloudBurst. As for those users who are not WebSphere CloudBurst cloud administrators, the information above is nice to know but not necessary. The user experience with respect to building, deploying, and managing your virtualized application environments with WebSphere CloudBurst is consistent regardless of the type of your cloud platform.|
|-- Dustin Amrhein|
A view from the clouds: Cloud computing for developers
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Over the past couple of weeks following the WebSphere CloudBurst announcement, I've had the opportunity to talk to several people about the new offering. Some of these people were IBM customers familiar with WebSphere products while others were non-IBM customers with a general interest in cloud computing solutions. Among both groups of people there was nearly always a common question: Why is WebSphere CloudBurst delivered in appliance form? The answer to that question is three-fold: consumability, security, and computing power.
By delivering WebSphere CloudBurst as an appliance, users benefit from extreme consumability. Getting started using WebSphere CloudBurst is as simple as plugging the appliance in, connecting it to your network, and spending a little bit of time with the initial setup. The software that provides the function of WebSphere CloudBurst is on the firmware of the appliance, so there is no need to install or maintain this on any other machine. In fact, updates to the firmware, and thus WebSphere CloudBurst software, can be achieved from the WebSphere CloudBurst GUI.
The WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance shares many of the same security features of the DataPower Appliance. This means that the box is tamper resistant thus preventing its physical components like memory and hard disks from being used in any other capacity. In addition to the physical security of the appliance, WebSphere CloudBurst also includes function to encrypt certain sensitive information. Information like SSL certificates, usernames, passwords, virtual images, and more are securely encrypted and stored on the appliance. This prevents the possibility of something or someone outside the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance getting access to these sensitive bits of information.
Finally, the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance provides the necessary computing resource to manage the resources of the private cloud. The virtual images delivered with the appliance that contain the operating system, WebSphere Application Server, and IBM HTTP Server are quite sizeable (somewhere in the neighborhood of 20GB). The appliance provides the storage capacity that is needed for the images delivered with the appliance and the customized images that users may create (not to mention fancy storage algorithms that are able to represent customized images as deltas of shipped images and provide other handy compression techniques). In addition, the appliance supplies the necessary computing resource for moving these large images across the wire and into the private cloud.
Regardless of whether or not I'm talking to an IBM or non-IBM customer, I give the above answer every time I'm asked why WebSphere CloudBurst is delivered in appliance form. It seems to resonate pretty well with both groups of people, so I hope it makes sense to anyone reading this. As always, if you have any questions feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a Tweet @WebSphereClouds.
-- Dustin Amrhein