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Outfitting Clouds with SOA style

WebSphere software

Using virtualization, connectivity and security

A conversation with IBM Fellow Jerry Cuomo, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for IBM WebSphere

Smart SOA: What is your definition of a cloud?

Jerry Cuomo: I can describe it from a couple of perspectives. From a business point of view, a cloud lets you work smart by doing more, quicker, with less.

Technically speaking, a cloud is a logical context for sharing, for example, for sharing hardware and software. A cloud is rubbery and flexible. It grows and shrinks, based on user demands and your business needs. Typically, there is a self-service aspect to a cloud, and this aspect gives you the ability to work agilely, without having to involve everyone in the organization. A cloud also provides tracking and management functions allowing you to pay for only what you use. These are typically the attributes of a cloud that resonate with users.

Smart SOA: How does service oriented architecture (SOA) relate to clouds?

Cuomo: SOA is an architectural style for building a diverse set of applications and systems. Hence, when we look at the anatomy of a cloud, we look at it in a service-oriented way. Specifically, we look at a cloud as providing a set of services abstractions. You can imagine having service abstractions for managing and automating infrastructure services, platform services and application services. SOA is our architectural style of choice for building clouds using these layered services.

Smart SOA: What are some critical requirements for enterprise clouds?

Cuomo: Our strategy is to enable organizations to create middleware and application clouds in the enterprise by providing the right utilities in the areas of virtualization, connectivity and security. And, where it makes sense, they should also leverage the public cloud. Using public clouds is a very cost-effective way for companies to acquire temporary infrastructure to develop or test applications, while still running their mission-critical function in their private cloud.

Smart SOA: Describe what you mean by virtualization.

Cuomo: Our goal is to provide virtualized middleware and virtualized middleware management tools. Virtual middleware images are readily available so that users just need to personalize them with their applications and adapters. They can dispense images into the cloud, and manage the resource pool by updating it, installing patches, and so on. They can also optimize the images according to business policy, or what is important to the business. WebSphere together with IBM Tivoli® solutions supply value-added on-premise cloud management features, like software license management, reporting/billing and monitoring – allowing an organization to customize the charge-back model used in their cloud.

] Smart SOA: Describe the connectivity requirement for enterprise clouds.

Cuomo: The second critical area is connectivity, or connecting resource pools. Think of it as a cloud-savvy enterprise service bus. Cloud A to Cloud B. Allowing secure communication between clouds. Shaping the traffic, shaping the payloads between those clouds, protocol to protocol. Cloud B may speak one protocol, and cloud A may speak a different protocol. As we communicate between clouds, we shift those protocols. Discovering and filtering services is another area that is really critical. Allowing you to see the services in a particular cloud that are pertinent to you– no more and no less. Being able to filter out the services that only make sense in certain contexts to certain users. Connectivity can be accomplished using technologies like WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, IBM DataPower® appliances, WebSphere Service Registry and Repository and WebSphere Adapters.
Connecting should bridge between the private cloud and the public cloud.

Smart SOA: Describe the security needed in a cloud environment.

Cuomo: The notion of running applications in a cloud, or a shared environment where other lines of business are running, can scare some companies. They’re not just scared about a public cloud, but also about running their assets in a private cloud, so securing images is very important. Images can be secured through encryption, and dispensed to the cloud over secure tunnels. Tunneling is a key technology extending beyond the trusted domain, through the DMZ, and connecting out to other trusted sources, such as business partners and trusted public clouds. This can be accomplished using technologies like our business-to-business (B-to-B) gateway, B-to-B DataPower appliance, and WebSphere® DataPower XML Security Gateway XS40.

Come to Impact 2009 May 3 – 8 in Las Vegas, where Jerry will be on-hand to discuss SOA, Cloud technology and WebSphere.

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