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IBM's Smarter Cloud

The new public cloud offering from IBM

A recent announcement from IBM signaled the availability of a new offering in the smarter planet initiative: IBM Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud. One of the newest offerings in the suite of cloud products from IBM, the IBM Cloud provides a public cloud where users can launch and run selected IBM software. As its name implies, the IBM Cloud is especially focused on development and test scenarios.

The idea is to let developers and testers quickly spin up both development and application runtime tools, use them, and just as quickly tear them down. Since all of the software runs on the IBM Cloud infrastructure users don't need to acquire hardware or software, nor do they deal with lengthy install processes. All they do is select the necessary software components and launch them into the cloud.


IBM was one of the sponsors of the 4th International Cloud Computing Expo, which took place November 2-4, 2009 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA, with more than 2,220 delegates.

To get started, users simply go to the home page for the IBM Cloud and sign up. Since the offering is currently in open beta, this means all users have to do is create a username and password. At this point there's no need to provide any kind of payment information like a credit card because users can launch instances for free. Once launched, these instances stay up and running for a user-specified period of time or until manually removed by the user.

As for choosing an instance to launch, users choose from a provided list of IBM software that includes products from IBM's Rational, WebSphere, and Information Management brands. This includes, but is not limited to, software like Rational Application Developer, Rational Software Architect, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere sMash, and DB2. Once the desired software is selected, users move on to configuring the image that will be used to create a running instance on the IBM Cloud.

During the image configuration step, users provide a few important pieces of information. This includes standard information like the name of the instance launch request, the amount of compute resource required by the instance (specified by selecting from small, medium, or large server sizes), and the expiration date of the instance. In addition, users specify product-specific configuration information during this phase of the launch process. For instance, when launching a WebSphere Application Server instance users would provide the password for logging into the WebSphere Application Server administration console.

After the selection of the instance and configuration of the image, users only need to verify the configuration and accept licensing terms. Once this is done the process of provisioning begins. In a matter of minutes users can begin to utilize their selected and configured IBM software running in the public IBM Cloud.

It takes little time to launch software on the IBM Cloud, and as such, users can easily scale up and down their development and test environments to meet the current development and test goals of their business. Any user currently involved in development and test efforts, especially if they are using IBM software as part of such efforts, would benefit from at least taking a peek at this new offering (after all it's free to try out during the open beta). You can learn more about the IBM Cloud and even take it for a spin by visiting the website. Also, be sure to stay tuned for updates as the offering moves from open beta to a generally available public cloud platform.

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Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.