IBM Impact 2012 was just last week with a theme of "Change the Game" ... and I'm still reveling in all of the excitement and energy that goes into conferences such as this. I was fortunate to get a last minute spot to attend the conference and help out at the Solution Center where I had the chance to speak to a lot of customers and other IBMers interested in cloud computing. Among the many things that stood out - there is certainly a lot of interest in cloud computing and patterns of expertise - it also seems that folks are ready to get some first hand experience with these patterns. There's plenty of opportunity for that!
IBM Workload Deployer was specifically featured in the Solutions Center and referenced in many sessions. However, this paled in comparison to the visibility that IWD received as being one of the key components in IBM PureApplication System which was clearly the star of the show (it also helped that we had several real systems on hand to draw the crowds and drool over the raw power present in these systems). Of course IBM PureApplication System wasn't the only shinny new object. There was also a large emphasis on Mobile and BigData .... but it seemed to me that the biggest buzz was around IBM PureApplication System and in particular the "patterns of expertise" capabilities which come directly from our very own IBM Workload Deployer.
I hope you had a chance to attend the conference (perhaps I may have even spoken with you at the solutions center). However, even if you couldn't make it to the conference - there is still a wealth of information available to you. Many of the sessions were recorded so you can still watch the general sessions, detailed interviews from the social playground, highlights of the unconference, and main tent sessions. I'm sure that you will also hear a lot of news in the coming weeks as the impact of what was announced and demonstrated makes it's way through the social channels. If you had a conference pass you can also download many of the presentation materials. Also, don't forget to consider attending one of the IBM Impact2012 comes to you events to be held in various locations in the coming months.
Several announcements that came out during the conference are of particular interest to our community.. First, the IBM Virtual Pattern Kit for Developers was announced. This includes an image that you can download and then leverage to gain experience building patterns. I will warn you that the download is not for a slow bandwidth connection - one of the three images is 16GB (mine is still downloading). However, once you finally get the image you can launch a VM running a version of the IWD technology and leverage your own ESX install to work with a private cloud for development purposes.
Another announcement and opportunity to gain experience working with patterns (that doesn't involve any downloads) is a 90-day free trial of these same pattern capabilities in our public cloud offering - IBM SmartCloud Application Services. This is a great offer and a really quick way to get some hands on experience with both the value of pattern based deployments and our public cloud offering.
I would encourage you to take advantage of these offers. Both are great ways to get some first-hand experience with patterns if you don't happen to have your very own IBM Workload Deployer. As they say "seeing is believing" and it really drills it home the first time you deploy a system and have it up and running within minutes. Another way to get some experience on an actual IBM Workload Deployer appliance is to contact your IBM client representative for a Proof of Technology (POT) or Proof of Concept (POC) ... and don't forget to get a free business value assessment so you can convince your boss how much money you can save the company!
Customers are always impressed when they learn about the simplicity, resiliency, and rapid time to value they can received from virtual applications. However, they are usually a little mystified at how virtual applications really work. After all - they have become quite accustomed to doing things the "traditional way" where they control every aspect of their applications manually. Virtual Applications represent an entirely new way of thinking. Sure, the benefits are enormous but can you really trust them? How is it doing all of this anyway?
What seems like "magic" is really a sophisticated and coordinated set of activities driven and coordinated by IBM Workload Deployer while leveraging the expertise built into the pattern type. Yes, you can trust it because experts have worked to build the system and created to it react and respond much faster than you can. When moving away from manual processes to automated processes it is always nice to get a sense of what is really happening. I think it is just human nature. We can't really place our trust in something until we have first hand experience or understand what it is really doing ... I guess it is the critic inside each one of us. Even after you've experienced the value it is still reassuring to see and understand the "how".
It is the "how does it do that?" type of question that I attempted to answer for virtual applications in a blog post I wrote on the Expert Integrated Systems blog recently. It attempts to pull the curtain aside and describe what is actually happening to support a virtual application pattern. As with my previous post - this was written for IBM PureApplication Systems but the concepts are 100% applicable to IBM Workload Deployer. I think you will find it interesting ... Continue reading ...
Applications - just like humans, animals, plants, and many other things - have a life cycle. They are conceived, given birth, grow, do foolish things in youth, hopefully improve over time, have problems that need to be fixed, don't always age well .... and eventually they will die and release their assets to the next generation. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?
One of the many benefits of virtual application patterns in IBM Workload Deployer and related IBM offerings is support for the complete life cycle of the application.
You can manage the complete life cycle of virtual applications from a single interface that is fully integrated and well thought out - not just a series of links from one product UI to a
different product UI. This eliminates the complexity of having to work with different interfaces, paradigms, metaphors, controls, labels, names, authorization, and so on - that is often the norm in many customer environments today. I think the benefits of this integration are obvious - eliminating confusion, configuration, miscommunication, interpretation, and mapping errors. Providing a truly complete solution also facilitates a common knowledge base and encourages cooperation and collaboration among teams. You can share patterns, providing consistent governance for a solution, guarantee consistency in deployments, and build upon the expertise provided by others. Having an integrated solution for design, development, deployment, configuration changes, monitoring, and problem determination ensures that time is not wasted and valuable information is not lost.
In a recent post I spoke about my experience at Impact 2012 and several announcements that were made during the conference. Among the announcements were opportunities to get free experience building patterns and custom pattern types for use in IBM Workload Deployer, IBM PureApplication System and IBM SmartCloud Application Workload Services. This included two offers: a 90-day free trial of IBM SmartCloud Application Workload Services and a new Virtual Pattern Kit for Developers - both available here. These are both terrific offers. The IBM SmartCloud offer gives you experience with patterns in the real public cloud environment for a limited period of time. The Virtual Pattern Kit for Developers provides a virtual image of IBM Workload Deployer that can be used in your own environment for development purposes to build and validate patterns.
In this post I'd like to focus on the Pattern Development Kit for Developers. This is an excellent way to get some first hand experience working with patterns. It provides a way for you to have your own virtual image of IBM Workload Deployer and associated tooling so that you can begin to work with patterns, create custom images, and create entirely new pattern types. It includes the web application and database pattern types as part of the image. It also includes the IBM Image Construction and Composition Tool, the Plugin Development Kit, and the Command Line tool - all of the tools that you need to create your own images, patterns, and custom pattern types. You can then validate these patterns and images in your private cloud environment before exporting them for deployment in IBM Workload Deployer, IBM PureApplication System, or IBM SmartCloud Application Workload Services.
I've created a video that demonstrates how easy it is to install and configure the Virtual Pattern Kit for Developers to get help get you started with this new offering. I hope you find this helpful.
In my last post I gave you my impressions of Impact 2012 .... including my assessment that IBM PureApplication System was the star of the show. I also pointed out how PureAS leverages the capabilities of IBM Workload Deployer and provided references to several areas where you can get more information on IBM PureApplication System and some hands-on experience with patterns.
The purpose of this post is to point you to another post - an insightful comparison of IBM PureApplication System and IBM Workload Deployer offered by Dustin Amrhein in the A view from the clouds: Cloud computing for developers blog. This is a quick read from Dustin - giving his report from Impact as well as a nice overview of the similarities and differences between IBM PureApplication System and IBM Workload Deployer to assist you if you are considering either offering. ... read Dustin's post ...
The answer is yes, I did a related but different blog post with a similar title a few weeks back. At that time I was primarily highlighting a webinar that I co-presented with Keith Smith regarding the various virtualization solutions and features that are available in IBM Workload Deployer in virtual application patterns and virtual system patterns leveraging the Intelligent Management Pack (IMP). If you didn't get a chance to attend that webcast live then I encourage you to check out the replay (especially Keith's portion with details on IMP - a really helpful overview).
This new blog post expands on the theme of that original blog post but takes a broader vision of where IBM has been with our private cloud offerings in WCA and IWD up to and including the recently announced IBM PureApplication System - and how this history demonstrates our leadership in supporting applications in the cloud.
It's here at long last! IBM PureSystems was announced today and in particular the IBM PureApplication System family member. IBM PureApplication System includes many of the capabilities that you have been hearing about and using in IBM Workload Deployer. While this solution includes and builds upon the capabilities of Workload Deployer, there's also a lot more functionality that is built into a completely integrated and optimized solution that not only manages your private cloud but runs it in the most optimized fashion. It really is a complete private cloud solution that is highly optimized to provide the best possible integration of software and hardware made simple for your application needs.
By the way, IBM PureSystems of which IBM PureApplication System is a family member, are the first of a new breed of expert integrated system that you've probably heard referenced many times in the past few weeks leading up to this announcement. I'm sure you've heard the popular tagline that we have have been using - built-in expertise, integrated by design, and simplified experience. Each and every one of those statements is proven true in these offerings. I hope you were able to catch the live broadcast today so you could see and hear how we are delivering on each of those statements. If not, there are plenty of ways for you to learn more. A great starting point is this short demo by Jason McGee, Distinguished Engineer (DE) and Chief Architect for WebSphere Cloud Computing.
We have a landing page for IBM PureSystems where this video and many others are currently available along with information to help you get up to speed on what we just announced. Keep checking this site to stay up to date as new material is made available: http://ibm.co/HxXzwB
As you can see this is a really big deal for IBM. We've got a comprehensive solution that goes far beyond what the competition offers - and we're pouring all of our expertise into making all of the complicated things extremely simple for you. The long wait is nearly over! IBM PureApplication System is coming to the rescue!