The company I work for serves many large corporations in our customer base, many of whom are IBM shops with the commensurately large WebSphere installed bases. So, as you might imagine, it behooves us to keep abreast of the latest stuff IBM delivers.
We are fortunate enough to be pretty good at what we do and are in the premiere tier of IBM’s partner hierarchy and were recently able to get an IBM Workload Deployer (IWD) appliance in as an evaluation unit. If you are not familiar, the IWD is really the third revision of the appliance formerly known as the IBM WebSphere Cloudburst appliance. I do not know, but I would presume the rebrand is related to the fact that the IWD is handling more generic workloads than simply those related to WebSphere and therefore deserved a more general name.
You can read the full marketing rundown on the IBM website here: IBM Workload Deployer
This is a “cloud management in a box” solution that you drop onto your network, point at one one or more of the supported hypervisors, and it handles images, load allocation, provisioning etc. You can give it simple images to manage, but the thing really lights up when you give it “Patterns” – a term which translates to a full application infrastructure (balancing webservers, middleware, DB, etc.). If you use this setup, the IWD will let you manage your application as a single entity and maintain the connections for you.
I am not an expert on the thing – at least not yet, but a couple of other points that immediately jump out at me are:
- The thing also has a pretty rich Python-based command line client that should allow us to do some smart script stuff and maintain those in a proper source repository.
- The patterns and resources also have intelligence in them where you can’t break dependencies of a published configuration
- There are a number of pre-cooked template images that don’t seem very locked down that you can use as starter points for customization or you can roll your own.
- The Rational Automation Framework tool is here, too, so that brings up some migration possibilities for folks looking to bring apps either into a ‘cloud’ or a better managed virtual situation