Feeds

IBM lobs biz software at Amazon cloud

Will it float?

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

If compute clouds want to succeed as businesses instead of toys, they have to run the same commercial software that IT departments deploy internally on their own servers. Which is why a deal struck between IBM and Amazon's Web Services subsidiary is important, perhaps more so for Amazon than for Big Blue.

Today, IBM announced that it would be deploying a big piece of its database and middleware software stack on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. The software that IBM is moving out to EC2 includes the company's DB2 and Informix Dynamic Server relational databases, its WebSphere Portal and sMash mashup tools, and its Lotus Web Content Management program. This stack is being deployed on instances of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which is in turn deployed on EC2, which itself is based on Linux servers with Xen hypervisors providing virtual machine slices.

IBM is offering so-called "machine images" of this software on the EC2 cloud immediately to developers, which is not intended to support production workloads but to allow them to create pre-production code and gain some familiarity of using the EC2 compute cloud and related storage clouds, like S3 (Simple Storage Service) and EBS (Elastic Block Service).

IBM says it will offer full-machine images of this software intended for production workloads in beta "in the coming months." The company did not indicate when it would have commercial-grade support for its own software when running on the Amazon cloud infrastructure, but it would probably be summer or later. IBM says that it is currently tweaking its Tivoli system management and provisioning software to deal with EC2 and storage clouds.

IBM says that it will announce pricing for the production versions of its software running on EC2 when it is ready for primetime. So you have to wait for pricing. But the company did give some guidance on how it would be priced. As you can see from this table, IBM will be using the Processor Value Unit (PVU) utility pricing model for its software, which debuted two years back on its own and other manufacturer's servers. A small instance on EC2 with a single virtual core is rated at 50 PVUs, which is the same rating that x64 processor cores are rated at.

A large EC2 instance with two virtual cores on EC2 is rated at 100 PVUs, and an extra large instance with four virtual cores is rated at 200 PVUs. That dual-virtual core EC2 image is rated at the same PVUs as a single core is on an Itanium, Power5, PA-RISC, or UltrasSparc/Sparc64 server. Ditto for the System z9 mainframe engines, which have a 100 PVU rating per core.

IBM's Power6 machines are rated at 120 PVUs, except on blade servers, where I/O is constrained and IBM only rates the Power6 blades at 80 PVUs. IBM's System z10 mainframes are also rated at 120 PVUs per core. IBM is also allowing customers to deploy its software on what Amazon calls high-CPU instances of its EC2 slices, which have more CPU oomph and less main memory. A high-CPU EC2 instance in an extra large configuration - which has eight virtual EC2 cores and 1.7 GB of memory on a 64-bit x64 server, is rated at 400 PVUs.

The PVU ratings do not bear a strong relationship to the performance of the underlying iron. But this is the impression that IBM's utility pricing scheme wants to convey, just as does similar pricing mechanisms from its competitors in the software racket. At best, there is a very loose correlation between PVUs and performance.

The interesting twist on the Amazon-IBM deal is that Big Blue is going to let companies that have already bought software licenses run that software out on the EC2 cloud, once the offering is generally available.

The EC2 cloud already supports a bunch of different commercial software. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Oracle Enterprise Linux, openSUSE, Gentoo, Debian, and Ubuntu Linuxes can be deployed on EC2, and so can OpenSolaris Unix and Windows Server 2003. Oracle 11g, MySQL Enterprise, SQL Server 2005, and SQL Server Express databases can be deployed on EC2, and Sun's Java Application Server, Red Hat's JBoss Enterprise, and Ruby on Rails can also be loaded on cloud slices. The funny bit is that Amazon is charging a premium for Windows slices compared to Linux or Unix. That premium ranges from 20 to 50 per cent, depending on the size of the slice. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.