WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance (press release) is just such a machine. Plug it into your data center network, specify a bunch of other machines on the network, and CloudBurst installs WAS on those machines automatically. We say that what it's installing is a cloud, as in cloud computing. So with CloudBurst and some server computers, you can set up your own private WebSphere cloud in your data center.
|CloudBurst is a significant advancement to simplify the installation of WAS environments. The installs are fast, reliable, and easily repeatable; it doesn't require a large operations staff to spend considerable time performing the installs. What's installed is WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition. CloudBurst is an appliance in part to make its installation simple; we wouldn't want a chicken-and-egg problem where the installation tool is as difficult to install as the software it's supposed to install. CloudBurst's development codename was Rainmaker, which Jerry Cuomo discussed in 2009 Trends and Directions for WebSphere.|
CloudBurst comes with WAS HV images already installed on it, which it then uses to install WAS HV on the other machines as you direct. This means it can install a cloud of WAS 6.1 and 7.0 servers. Odds are CloudBurst will support other WAS-based products in the future, such as Process Server and Portal.
CloudBurst makes sure that WAS is installed and configured the same way on each host server. This avoids a number of production problems. You can also use CloudBurst to install both your production environment and test environment, ensuring that the two environments really are configured the same. This will cut down on a problem we often see where an application problem can be reproduced in production but not in test because the two environments which are supposed to be identical in fact apparently are not, differences which can be very difficult to track down.
CloudBurst can also be loaded with feature packs and your own application EARs to have those installed in the cloud along with WAS.
For more information, see also "IBM Shows Off SOA Cloud Appliance" (internetnews.com).