Feeds

IBM services help complicate cloud's horizon

Prey you got some systems nerds

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Cloud computing is supposed to make IT easy. But if it was easy, no one would be able to make any money on the idea.

As it is, companies like IBM are trying to make money twice with clouds: first by selling preconfigured clouds for inside the corporate firewall and then - you guessed it - selling services to help setup and monitor the cloudy infrastructure and train people on how to use it properly.

IBM launched its CloudBurst preconfigured cloudy server infrastructure back in June 2009, but it is just now getting around to selling the companion QuickStart services to speed up the deployment of the blade servers and systems software it consists of.

The base CloudBurst setup is a 42U standard server rack which has a System x3650 M2 two-socket Xeon 5500 server with 48GB of memory installed as a management server for the cloud. Multiple BladeCenter-H chassis can be slid into the rack, but the base box comes with one chassis configured with four HS22 Xeon-based blades. One of the blades is designated as a management blade and the three others are for running virtualized server instances.

The BladeCenter-H can house 14 blades (13 usable by CloudBurst workloads) and three of them can be crammed into the rack, for a total of 39 usable blades. IBM also tosses in DS4300 midrange storage arrays that link to the HS22 blades by Fibre Channel links, which eats up some space in the rack.

The management servers inside the blade boxes are configured with Tivoli Provisioning Manager V7.1 and Tivoli Monitoring V6.2.1, and the blade chassis and its servers are managed with the Systems Director tool. This includes a feature called Active Energy Manager that can shut servers down and power them up as workloads dictate.

The disk array uses IBM's ToolCenter 1.0, DS Storage Manager V10.36, and LSI SMI-S provider, and the master orchestration program for the entire cloud is called the CloudBurst V1.1 service management pack. All of this stuff is used to provision and manage the iron and VMware ESX Server hypervisors that provide the virtualization layer in the blades.

Luckily, you already know all about these tools. So you don't need to buy the QuickStart services from IBM. But for customers who may be new to IBM's blades and its various systems management programs, more than a few will probably be willing to shell out some cash to get Big Blue to do some of the setup work - what, you think you just plug this in like it implies in the press releases? - and to teach you how not to do something foolish.

The CloudBurst QuickStart services available starting from Tuesday include deployment of the BladeCenter iron and integrating that into your environment. All of which, I think, means simply rolling in the racks, plugging in the power and network cables.

IBM will also configure user and security profiles on the CloudBurst iron, and get ESX Server so it can see all of the virtualized servers, storage, and networks. IBM will then verify the platform ("yup, that's your CloudBurst platform"), set up the self-service portal for reserving compute, storage, and networking capacity.

This portal is what masks all of the complexity of the various systems management and provisioning tools that are baked into the CloudBurst iron. IBM will also toss in some prepackaged automation templates and workflows for managing ESX Server virtual machines, and give system administrators some hands-on trading on how to use all this.

What IBM did not announce - as it almost never does with stuff that comes out of Global Services - is a price. If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it. In that case, you probably have three nerds somewhere in the organization that are monkeying around with Ubuntu and Eucalyptus and who already know how to use Amazon EC2. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.