Home > Cloud Computing, Cloud Security > IBM Creates the “CloudBurst” Physical Appliance To Run a Virtual Appliance In a “Private Cloud!?”

IBM Creates the “CloudBurst” Physical Appliance To Run a Virtual Appliance In a “Private Cloud!?”

Charles Babcock at InformationWeek wrote an article titled “IBM Launches Appliance For Private Cloud Computing” in which he details IBM’s plans to bundle VMware with their WebSphere Application Server on an x86 platform, stir in chargeback/billing capability, call it “Hypervisor Edition” and sell it as an “appliance” that runs in “Private Clouds” for $45,000.

Bundling hardware with a virtualization platform as an appliance isn’t a new concept as everyone including Cisco is doing that.  However, the notion of bundling hardware with a virtualization platform and a virtual appliance and then labeling THAT an appliance “to disperse those applications to the cloud” is an ironic twist of marketing.

Tarting it up and calling it a “Cloud appliance” (the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance to be specific) that “…plugs into Private Clouds” is humorous:

IBM this week announced its WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance for deploying applications to a private cloud. IBM is the first major vendor to produce a cloud appliance for its customers, a sign of how the concepts of private cloud computing are getting a hearing in the deepest recesses of the enterprise.

Private clouds are scalable compute resources established in the enterprise data center that have been configured by IT to run a virtual machine upon demand. In some cases, business users are empowered to select an application and submit it as a virtualized workload to be run in the cloud.

The WebSphere Appliance stores and secures virtualized images of applications on a piece of IBM xSeries hardware that’s ready to be plugged into a private cloud, Tom Rosamilia, general manager of the applications and integration middleware division, said in an interview. That image will be cast in a VMware ESX Server file format for now; other hypervisor formats are likely to follow, he said. The WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition is also preloaded on the appliance and can run the virtualized image upon demand. The Hypervisor Edition is also new and both it and the appliance will become available by the end of the second quarter.

Hypervisor Edition is a version of the WebSphere Application Server designed to run virtualized applications on IBM’s x86-based server series. The appliance with application server will be priced at $45,000, Rosamilia said.

Having an application ready to run on a hardware appliance represents a number of short cuts for the IT staff, Rosamilia said. Once an application is configured carefully to run with its operating system and middleware, that version of the application is “freeze dried with its best practices into a virtualized image,” or a complete instance of the application with the software on which it depends.

Additional instances of the application can be started up as needed from this freeze-dried image without danger of configuration error, Rosamilia noted. The application is a service, awaiting its call to run in a virtual machine while on the WebSphere appliance. When it is run, the appliance logs the resources use and who used them for chargeback purposes, one of the requirements for successful private cloud operation, according to private cloud proponents.

Rosamilia said enterprises that have applications that are already configured as a service or sets of services will find those applications fitting easily into a cloud infrastructure. An appliance approach makes it simple “to disperse those applications to the cloud” with a lower set of skills than IT currently needs to configure and deploy an application in the data center.

So now, for the first time ever, you can leverage virtualization to run a “freeze-dried” VM application/service on an x86 server appliance in the datacenter Private Cloud! Awesome. You heard it here second.

Is it any wonder people are confused by Private Clouds? Selling software disguised as a virtual machine, coupled to hardware, but abstracted by a hypervisor as a bundled “appliance” ISN’T Cloud Computing. It’s box pushing.

Not that I should be surprised.



Categories: Cloud Computing, Cloud Security Tags:
  1. Lauren
    May 1st, 2009 at 14:01 | #1

    I think of cloud computing as a different business model, above all. It's all about self-service provisioning, usage tracking, and overall a higher level of automation. This, of course, requires a higher level of management around existing products, which is why you'll see vendors start creating products like this. I agree with you that vendors see this as a way to sell more product, but I don't think I agree with your point of view that private clouds are all "vapor" (pun intended 🙂 ). With labor costs representing the majority portion of datacenter costs, I am guessing more products will be geared toward removing manual labor wherever possible.

  2. May 8th, 2009 at 16:50 | #2

    This was of course inevitable but still completely underwhelming.

    Don't get me started on the term "CloudBurst"… I'm amazed that anyone would put this CloudCruft™ into a product name.


  1. No trackbacks yet.