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IBM taps Red Hat KVM virt for dev cloud

VMware can't win them all

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Big Blue wants developers to create and test their code on its IBM Cloud, and it expects them to code for Red Hat's commercial implementation of the open source KVM hypervisor for x64 servers.

Last June, IBM booted out the first of its CloudBurst cloudy infrastructure packages of servers, storage and the systems software to virtualize it all. These CloudBurst setups were based on IBM blade servers and storage arrays and were equipped with a slew of systems software, including various Tivoli provisioning and management tools and VMware's ESXi 3.5 embedded hypervisor running on a flash drive inside of its HS22 blade servers.

At the same time, the company said that it would be taking CloudBurst infrastructure and packaging it up as a service aimed at corporate development and test environments, but left a big question mark around what that test and dev cloud service would use. For some reason, when you buy a stack and run applications on it, it is called CloudBurst, but when IBM has the stack and you rent it, it is called Smart Business on IBM Cloud. Go figure.

As it turns out, rather than make the CloudBurst infrastructure and Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud service based on the same server hypervisor layer, IBM has decided to play Switzerland and KVM a boost. Programmers who use the IBM Cloud for test and dev will be given RHEV to play with Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server images with a Java layer as they code their apps and run them through regression and other tests. Various other IBM programs can be deployed on the cloud service including various Lotus and WebSphere content management and unnamed database programs from the IBM portfolio.

IBM says that the Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud service will be available in the second quarter in the United States and Canada and will roll out globally through the remainder of the year. No word on what other operating systems and hypervisors will be supported on the dev and test cloud service, but it seems likely that Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and maybe even some Windows desktop images (Windows XP, Vista, and 7) will be options. And it is hard to believe that VMware's ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor will not be an option, considering that enterprises will want to test on the same hypervisor they deploy on.

IBM hints that the dev and test cloud, which has just come out of beta testing, will rely on partners to flesh out its capabilities, including RightScale and Kaavo for cloud management and provisioning, Navajo Systems and Silanis for security, VMLogix for the jukeboxing of virtual machine software stacks, AppFirst for performance monitoring, and Soasta for load and performance testing. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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