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It seems like 'virtualization', ‘cloud computing’ and 'software as aservice' are all big industrybuzzwords that get tossed around with varying definitions. I am gettingmore and more questions abouthow these things play in the IBM and WebSphere space. As I study theattributes associated with theseterms, I am starting to get a feel for how they fit together.
One interesting way to think about these topics is as a progressionof virtualization - fromthe machine, to the server, to the cluster, to thea
I also see ‘appliances’ playing a role in how IBM materializes anddelivers these technologiesto enterprises. Let me elaborate.
A Progression of Virtualization
Virtualization:I think of virtualization as afoundational technology.Base virtualization technology starts with a focus on the machine.Computers have long virtualized memory, disk, and CPUs, but now we'reseeing the industry focus on virtualizingthe entire machine and operating system - the way VMWare, Xen, and PowerVM do.These hypervisors aresimilar to the logical partitions (LPARs) that have beenaround IBM fora long time in ourSystem z and System p products.
As part of the virtualization of themachine and OS, middleware can be virtualized, allowing for virtualservers. This is where the fun starts. Once we have virtualservers, wehave the basic building blocks. These ‘atomic’ pieces can stand alone,but are more interesting when linked with others image. Where atom
CloudComputing: The progression continues, fromvirtualizing a machine/serverto virtualizing a group or cluster ofservers. Cloud Computing buildson Grid Comp
The cloud is really about the management and dispensing of themachines and the software that runs on these machines. A modern computecloud allows a consumerto use a web application (or some programmatic means) to requestcompute capability cont
One problem that I’ve heard some of our enterprise customers expressis a concern with runningenterprise applications on a public cloud. The concern is centeredaround exposing mission crit
SaaS:Software as a Service sits atop this stackand leadswith a business thought.You don't “buy” software any more; you just pay for the service. Alongwith the business thought,SaaS environments attempt to virtualizethe application. In a SaaSenvironment, applications anda
Now, you don’t need virtualization or cloud technologies tocreate a SaaS environment; however,if I were creating one, I would use them.
Our Strategy: Become Rainmakers
I see IBM (Systems and Technology Group, Tivoli and WebSphere)getting in the business of whatI like to call rainmaker technology. Rainmakertechnology is software and hardware thatwork together to help enterprises create clouds ☺. There are manytechnical facets to beinga rainmaker, and we have teams tackling many different aspects of thetechnology. IBMBlue Cloud,and TivoliDCM are all examples of IBM technology thatenable clouds.
Ruth Willenborgis our lead chemist and is mastering the artof atomic and molecular virtualization.She and her team have made great progress in virtualizing parts of theWebSphere product line,including WebSphere Application Server and collections of our SOAi
BrianMartin and our WebSphere XD team is actively workingon enabling and managingenterprise clouds, by controlling middleware running on virtualmachines as well as real machines.Even a well-virtualized machine isn't exactly like physical hardware,and provisioning andload-balancing software needs to understand the difference. We're alsoworking with our hardwareteam on finding ways to provision large numbers of application serverson racks of purposedPower–based systems.
DennisQuan and our Tivoli team are working on a projectcalled Blue Cloud, which is a general-purpose management system thatincludes cluster management software, virtualization tools Xen andPowerVM, and the open-source Hadoop parallel work
Andy Rindos, from our team is working with our university partnerson theVirtualComputing Initiative. This allowsuniversities and their partners to have access to pre-loaded images atany time, in any place.In environments like this, where demand for particular machines isbursty but predictable - having these virtual labs allows fortremendous savings, which allows the function to be extendedto places it never was before.
Virtualization is partly about increasingagility andimproving time to value. A natural wayfor us in IBM to deliver that function is with appliances. We areexperimenting with ideas around“rainmaking appliances” at several (all?) levels of the virt
In all of these ways we are working with ourcustomers toenable them to make their own clouds – we’re rainmakers after all.