What does PureSystems mean for application development?
IBM recently announced the IBM PureData™ System. This is the third member of a powerful family of IBM PureSystems™ that provide incredible flexibility and productivity to businesses. I’m really excited about using these systems to rapidly assemble some pretty amazing and advanced applications.
To better understand what’s going on here, let’s look at a potential scenario. Let’s imagine that we work at a large company that sells office equipment across the planet. We have several existing systems -- many databases, ERP applications, web servers, tools and more. We’ve have been experimenting with mobile, cloud and analytics but our business stakeholders are worried about the infrastructure costs and skills requirements. Our business continues to demand that we keep our costs down but we also need to be able to deliver new features and applications that will keep the company competitive.
Luckily, we have IBM on our side. We’ve been investing in IBM products and are currently running a pilot project to leverage new IBM PureApplication System and PureData System with some of the latest Rational software.
Using Rational Focal Point™ portfolio management, an analysis of customer demand, market opportunities, and product objectives shows that a new mobile application for field sales and field support personnel would reduce costs and give the company a competitive edge in the marketplace, we also want to incorporate a customer-facing mobile app to schedule service and monitor preventative maintenance cycles. Other ideas, like a streamlined sales portal and an inventory replenishment system are also interesting, but are less critical given current market and internal conditions.
A project kick-off meeting is quickly scheduled, and it leads to productive level-setting and project scope. The application needs: a customer-facing mobile front-end as well as an internally available mobile front-end which will support a wide variety of popular handheld and tablet devices; and a big-data analytic back-end to allow searching of technical articles, social media hits about our products, and internal company sales and support histories.
Requirements were captured into Rational Team Concert™ (“RTC”) and an Agile Scrum methodology was selected to help track real progress during development and insure alignment with what the business is asking for. Then, architects and business analysts iterated a design and broke the problem down into an overall product backlog of stories. Using RTC, initial iterations were identified along with software teams in the U.S., Europe and Asia to work on the sprints.
Using the power of IBM PureData™ Systems, after only a few hours we have the transactional and big data analytics back-end servers up and running. The portfolio analysis showed that migrating the transaction database onto PureData would significantly improve operational performance of the database while reducing maintenance costs at the same time. The application we’re building also needs a big data approach to how the social media feeds will be searched along with our transactional databases and also some external ERP and CRM systems. Again, PureData gives us instances of highly scalable transactional and analytics systems, ready for data and feeds, and in just a few hours we have this configured and ready for use.
Using a web application pattern, an IBM PureApplication™ System provides us a ready-to-develop, load-balanced and fault-tolerant application layer. With Rational Application Developer, we can immediately start parallel development of the social media feed aggregator logic and our query logic layers. At the same time, the teams that have been assigned front-end work can use the same patterns to create two Worklight™ powered mobile front-end layers to tackle all of the popular mobile devices that our business and customers already own. And we can all count on the multiple layers integrating cleanly, thanks to the PureSystem patterns.
Through the combination of the new PureSystems with the lifecycle management capabilities of RTC, we’re able to deliver on-demand continuous integration (“CI”) builds for the overall application. The CI work is always carried out in a consistent, yet isolated, instance of the runtime infrastructure. Also, thanks to Rational Test Workbench, a GreenHat™ technology, access to various back-end systems have been virtualized and can now be tested continuously. As more teams come and go from the project, they can easily spin-up their own development and test instances to work in. This is all thanks to the design work that chose the off-the-shelf patterns and custom patterns, which are instantiated and throttled by PureSystems as needed.
Likewise, as the iterations continue, the QA and business teams can request temporary, isolated instances of the application to perform verification and user acceptance testing. As problems and features are identified, tackled and promoted, RTC re-builds these environments and keep everything consistent.
Using PureSystems, such as PureApplication and PureData, we can quickly create powerful architectures. Using Rational application lifecycle management solutions for PureSystems, we can dynamically manage the work and patterns that will be deployed onto these highly flexible and adaptive systems. These solutions work together to speed the development of even the most complicated applications being constructed by our geographically distributed teams.
I hope this scenario will spur new ideas and provide fuel for your team's innovation. I also recommend that you read Steve Abrams’ and Tim Hahn’s excellent developerWorks article to get a more technical understanding on how to leverage Rational capabilities for your PureSystems projects. Also, check out the Rational for PureSystems solutions home page, to access the latest updates on the offerings discussed in this blog.
About the author
Stephen Henderson is a Solution Marketing Manager with IBM Rational Software. Stephen has extensive experience writing, architecting, troubleshooting and deploying enterprise systems on a variety of platforms. Lately, Stephen has taken up the mission for evangelizing Rational application development tools and solutions. He is now working to show how developers with diverse skills and platform knowledge can work together and have more fun and success building multiplatform applications for variety of IBM platforms including System z, Power Systems and now PureSystems. Stephen plays synth in a classic rock band and loves tinkering with electronics.