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IBM & Cloud Computing: How WebSphere CloudBurst Delivers Consumability

A consumable cloud experience

The new IBM WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance is a one-stop shop for creating, deploying, and managing WebSphere virtual systems in a private cloud. It has quite a lot of very cool features that make this a possibility, and I could go on and on about those features. That’s not where I’m heading today though. Recently, I’ve spent a bit of time experimenting with the appliance, and there’s a theme throughout the entire offering that has me truly excited to see this in the hands of users: Consumability.

It’s nice to have cool features and function, but it is even nicer to be able to easily put those features and functions to work for your business. In my opinion, WebSphere CloudBurst excels at enabling users to take advantage of its plethora of features. To start, the fact that it is delivered as an appliance means users can drop it in, connect it to a network, and power up the box. After a minimal amount of one-time setup, WebSphere CloudBurst is ready to be used. There is no need to install and maintain software on several different machines since all of the function is delivered directly on the appliance.

Beyond the ease of use afforded by its appliance form, WebSphere CloudBurst provides a very sleek, intuitive, Web 2.0 style GUI. From this GUI, users can perform quite a few different tasks. One of the features that appeals most to me is the drag-and-drop editor for building WebSphere Application server topologies. Using the drag-and-drop editor, I constructed a configuration of clustered WebSphere Application Servers, complete with web servers, management servers, and applications in seconds. Really!

In addition to the ease in which WebSphere CloudBurst allows users to build WebSphere topologies, the ease in which these topologies are turned into running WebSphere instances is just as remarkable. After defining a private cloud to WebSphere CloudBurst, a process that is plain and simple I might add, the configurations constructed in the drag-and-drop editor are deployed to that cloud with the click of a button in the GUI. WebSphere CloudBurst takes care of assigning the WebSphere virtual systems to the private cloud based on resource availability and high availability considerations, and it assigns IP addresses as needed. The user is afforded a hassle-free process that results in a complete WebSphere middleware environment, operating system and user applications included.

Not all uses of the appliance will occur in the GUI. To that end, WebSphere CloudBurst provides a handy Command Line Interface. This CLI gives users most of the administration capabilities of the GUI, including the ability to construct and deploy WebSphere configurations. It provides sample scripts that show how to perform common tasks, and it includes an interactive wizard that guides users through completing different commands. The CLI also offers different modes of operation allowing anything from fully automated administrative tasks to more user-driven workflows.

The focus on consumability is ever present in the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance, from the physical form in which it is delivered to the easy-to-use administrative interfaces. You can take a look at some of these capabilities yourself via new demos available on YouTube.

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.