IBM updates and enhances Image Construction and Composition Tools component of SmartCloud Provisioning
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Updated Virtual Image Management Tool
Makes Changes Easy and Efficient
by: John Crawford
IBM has enhanced its Image Construction and Composition Tool (ICCT) software recently, and the new version is included in the company’s IBM SmartCloud Provisioning 2.1 which was announced August 10.
ICCT has been a part of IBM’s Workload Deployer product in the past, and the previous version was included in SmartCloud Provisioning 1.2. The new release of SmartCloud Provisioning brings together a High Scale Low Touch hypervisor, IBM Workload Deployer, IBM Virtual Image Library, an iItegrated monitoring solution, and the updated ICCT into a single product. These capabilities appear as individual web pages in a multi-node kernel services environment designed to offer small- to medium-sized customers a cloud entry point with the IBM logo included.
ICCT is designed to maximize the use of an organization’s existing virtual images by allowing those images to be imported from various attached hypervisors, modified, extended and recaptured. It is not necessary to rebuild an image from scratch to make driver updates, kernel changes or software additions. Additionally, ICCT includes the concept of a bundle, which is a standalone package that can be combined with a base image to create a new base image made up of the original base image and whatever software was installed by the bundle. There is no limit to the number of bundles that can be combined during the extension process allowing a maximum amount of code reuse.
As an example, consider cloud provider who offers three operating systems: A, B and C. Additionally, he offers a couple of databases: D and E and finally a couple of web servers F and G. Stopping there, we have multipliers caused by the platform (32-or 64-bit) and the combinations of operating system a with a specific database and webserver.
It starts to look like this:
Op Sys DB Web Svr
That’s nine combinations already; including 32- vs. 64-bit variations of the operating system doubles it. Multiply that by three operating systems and you’re at 54 images. Consider the implecations to those customers who need older versions of the operating system because their applications won’t run on the newest version. Just keeping track of those images and making sure they are all patched to the current safe level is a full-time job.
Using ICCT, a customer can have six base images, 32- and 64-bit of each one listed above and 32- and 64 bit versions of each of the applications, each in its own bundle for a total of 14 artifacts to maintain. An image specialist is able to log into ICCT, pick from the operating systems, extend the operating system with the appropriate database and web server, save the image, test it and re-capture it, if desired, for a customized solution, but there is no real reason to. It is so easy to build a system (or 20) on the fly that creating the new environment can be done on demand. Every time operating system A is combined with bundle d and bundle g, you get the same result.
The individual software bundles are created one time by a subject-matter expert and from that point until they are updated, they are locked and used like many LEGO blocks to create a customized, deployed image.
The solution saves time, storage space for the images, and divides the work among a group responsible for software packaging and another group responsible for deployment of the finished image.
Here’s another analogy. When you go to a diner, you don’t have to have the blue plate special with chicken, green beans and potatoes just because they have it combined. You can have meat loaf, asparagus and rice pilaf. It’s all there. Just choose what you want and enjoy it.
The latest release of ICCT works with IBM’s SmartCloud Provisioning and VMware. It offers multiple personality support (to be discussed in a subsequent blog post) and the ability to capture images with multiple disks and multiple network interface cards
For more information on SmartCloud Provisioning and Image
Construction and Composition Tools, visit www-
John Crawford has worked at IBM for 14 years in management and consulting positions. He is currently Senior Enablement Specialist with IBM Software Services for Tivoli in the Cloud space. He can be reached at email@example.com or @JohnCrawfordIBM on twitter.