This week I attended a Cloudburst ‘Proof of Technology’ day at IBM’s Hursley Labs and I wanted to share my initial thoughts following this chance to play with the appliance. It was a scripted do this, then that set of labs along with some presentations so not necessarily a real tyre kicking but enough for things to click into place and some ideas around its value to form.

Colleagues have already blogged about this new appliance so I’ll keep it simple and liken it to a vending machine for virtualised WAS environments. You pick the one you want, press the button, wait and ta-da out it drops into your private cloud all ready to consume.

Its on-demand nature makes this compelling. Having spent significant periods of time creating virtual environments to play with various products this appeals to my fast food, consumer tendencies and although today it’s only WAS HV edition, DB2 HV is days away with Process and Portal Server HV editions following later.

Let’s imagine you are running WAS, have a number of servers that you are trying to maximise your investment in with a little virtualised sharing of hardware and you want clean, controlled dev and test environments to be simply and repeatably rolled out on demand and torn down when not required, with little fuss. You deploy the environment when you need to use it and when done tear it down. It doesn’t have to sit there consuming resources for any longer than the time you actually need it because when you do need it again you can faithfully recreate it. You can timebox the period that your environment is available and if this period is not extended, your environment is removed.

Thats what you get with this, and it’s so simple you can empower anyone who genuinely requires this level of access and automation to potentially remove a period of let’s be honest, faffing around to aquire the environment which could save huge amounts of time and money. There’s no elasticity, you pick your pattern and if you have 2 nodes that’s your lot. Cloudburst does do some monitoring but it’s not going to give you any more nodes when things are maxing out. It really is simple though.

It’s going to cost you, but nowhere near what you would spend scripting this level of automation and control and IBM are funding the ongoing development and maintenance costs with version 1.1 of the firmware coming so soon you can smell it and 2.0 well on the way.

Does it need to be a hardware appliance, I’m not sure but it is and its available today, in purple. Which must have upset the DataPower guys who already have a purple box in the form of the XB60 B2B appliance. So if you have both don’t rack them up too close together or you just know one day, someone is going to unplug the wrong one.

Is it possible to be brainwashed in a day? Possibly but I believe that if you have an investment in WAS you should have a look this appliance and what it brings to the table. Give us a call and we can put you in touch with a man who has one in a flight case with a pair of servers attached (he brings his own cloud!). He’ll come and see you, let you have a go and you can decide for yourself.