IBM unveils CloudBurst SOA appliance

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IBM unveils CloudBurst SOA appliance

IBM unveiled a raft of new and updated products at its Impact 2009 conference in Las Vegas, aimed at encouraging enterprise use of cloud-based service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology.

The major product unveiling on the opening day was WebSphere CloudBurst, an appliance which will let firms make use of 'private' cloud computing. CloudBurst can store WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition images for use and reuse in a secure cloud environment, which will make it faster to test and roll out new business applications, according to IBM.

"About a year ago we started talking with customers about where the pain points were around cloud, and this is the resulting product," said Tom Rosamilia, general manager for the Application and Integration Middleware division, IBM Software Group. "This appliance freeze-dries the image, and you can ebb and flow with the volume."

Rosamilia noted that the more usual public cloud model, for example Amazon EC2, comprises an off-premises hosted capability.

"You're doing development or modelling on someone else's cloud and making use of their services. The usage cases will be those you're willing to allow outside your environment," he said.

"With the private cloud, you're doing the same thing but inside your firewall. Traditionally you've had to provision for peak use so your servers can stand up. With CloudBurst, you can dispense images so you can quickly bring up capacity and bring it back down again."

Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for the IBM Software Group, added that CloudBurst offers customers "request-driven provisioning and scheduling".

"It's not about making your compute environment cloudy; it's about making it economical," he explained.

The appliance will be available during the second quarter, priced from US$45,000 (A$60,663).

Also at Impact 2009, IBM unveiled BPM BlueWorks, a cloud-based set of business process management (BPM) tools that combine modelling functionality with pre-built industry BPM assets.

Kramer Reeves, BPM product marketing manager for SOA and WebSphere, said that BlueWorks will help firms predict the business outcome of new processes.

The product features modelling capabilities in a "cloud collaborative environment", and lets firms make use of industry assets to accelerate best practice, and link subject matter experts from around the world into the system to work on best practice processes.

Among the other announcements at the opening day of the show was Innov8 2.0, an updated version of IBM's virtual world training tool. The tool is being offered to customers looking to broaden their SOA skill sets.

The latest version includes Smart Supply Chain, Smart Traffic Flow and Smart Customer Service, and will test employees on various business scenarios in the Innov8 business process simulator to help train them on SOA best practice.

IBM said that Farmers Insurance was planning to roll out the new system to its staff across the world.

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