Published on 30-Jan-2010
Validated on 12 Mar 2012
"The cloud will help us free up capacity to host more innovation applications and make it easier and cheaper to bring successful applications into production." - —Andy Bravery, Senior Technical Staff Member, Innovation Engineering, CIO Innovation Initiatives, IBM
IBM CIO Innovation Initiatives
Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Service Management, SmartCloud - Foundation
By deploying a private cloud environment, IBM CIO Innovation Initiatives expects to reduce the time to migrate applications from testing into production from several months to as little as one day.
Reduce the time and cost for migrating applications into a production environment
A cloud environment that enables application developers to obtain computing resources for development, staging and production on a subscription basis and rapidly migrate applications from one zone to the next as they mature
Will provide annual estimated savings of US$15 million once fully implemented across the organization; reduces migration process from several months to as little as one day; frees capacity for continued innovation
How can we make it easier for our employees to find, reach and collaborate with each other? What Web 2.0 capabilities drive new levels of organizational efficiency and which do not? Understanding the answers to these questions starts with innovation.
Take IBM® Bluecard for example. Created nearly five years ago, this Web 2.0 widget was built by an IBM developer interested in delivering more dynamic content on IBM’s Intranet. With Bluecard, IBM employees can view a colleague’s contact information simply by scrolling the cursor over his or her name on a Web page. How useful did it prove to be? Very. Statistics count usage upwards of nearly 40,000 hits each month from the several thousand pages on which it has been embedded.
Likewise Team Analytics, which was created as part of an internal application development contest, has seen tremendous acceptance across the company with executives estimating a potential savings of more than US$1 million annually. This innovative application, designed to aid collaboration in a global enterprise, provides employees with a visual method to view team members, their locations and appropriate times to plan meetings based on their time zones. Before, this type of coordination could take several minutes. With Team Analytics, the same task is completed in a matter of seconds.
Such innovations are typical of those supported by IBM’s CIO Innovation Initiatives, which offers IT resources to the innovator community via IBM’s Green Innovation Data Center in Southbury, Connecticut.
“These are classic innovation applications,” says Andy Bravery, Senior Technical Staff Member, Innovation Engineering, IBM CIO Innovation Initiatives. “They started as ideas to test the value of new Web 2.0 capabilities and now would be very much missed if they were turned off. Successful projects like these can change IBM’s DNA and provide IBM clients with insight into how they can better exploit new technologies.”
From concept to production
But what happens when innovations become successful? How can developers move their applications into a production environment so users worldwide can benefit from them? That’s where it gets complicated.
“Presently there isn’t a clear migration process from the innovation lab to a formalized hosting environment,” says Bravery. “The innovation lab’s purpose is not meant for long-term hosting of steady-state applications. We need to move these maturing applications out of the lab to be able to free up resources for stimulating new innovation.”
However, existing processes didn’t make this easy. Most IBM processes and environments for moving applications to a production data center were designed with large business-critical applications in mind; not smaller scale applications like these Intranet applications that are typically developed by an individual or small workgroup. Additionally, the application migration process was primarily a manual process and before an application could be moved into production, the developer had to address corporate governance requirements for security, backup and availability. The associated costs of all this to owners of these smaller applications were prohibitively high.
As the organization sought to reduce the time and cost of moving and hosting applications in a production environment, it turned to cloud computing.
“The cloud environment we have built offers a new facility that did not exist before,” explains Bravery. “It helps applications find a ‘home’ where before they would either have remained in our data center beyond the innovative part of their life cycle, or they simply would not have been developed in the first place.”
Fostering continued innovation
Working with the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and colleagues in the IBM CIO production infrastructure strategy and optimization organizations, the CIO Innovation Initiatives launched a private cloud for hosting new Intranet applications. Bravery estimates that there are more than 50 applications currently running in IBM’s Green Innovation Data Center along with more than 1,000 applications running elsewhere in IBM that could benefit from this private cloud implementation.
Through this cloud, which runs on IBM System x® and BladeCenter® servers in the Green Innovation Data Center, application developers can obtain the necessary computing resources for application development, staging and production on a subscription basis and can rapidly migrate the application from one zone to the next to conduct their own application deployments. As the application migrations accelerate, additional capacity will be added using an IBM iDataPlex™.
IBM Research Cloud Computing (RC2) technology with IBM Tivoli® Provisioning Manager software is used to automate resource, deployment, monitoring and management requests when migrating these applications from zone to zone. The software automatically applies the appropriate security, monitoring and data backup measures so applications conform to corporate standards.
“Application developers typically don’t have time to learn the IBM process for bringing an application into production,” says Bravery. “And with our cloud they won’t need to. The system drives all those steps, only asking the developer for information when needed.”
Moving forward, Bravery expects to move from the IBM RC2 platform to IBM Integrated Service Management Solutions for cloud computing. “We selected the RC2 platform as it was the most mature cloud offering available at the time the project began,” says Bravery. “Today, however, new products in the IBM Integrated Service Management portfolio are able to support our requirements and will enable us to further optimize management of our cloud.”
Dramatically reducing the time and cost of application hosting
According to Bravery, the cloud environment is expected to substantially reduce the cost of hosting applications and accelerate the process for getting these applications into production. Once this private cloud environment is implemented across the organization it is estimated that annual savings in excess of US$15 million can be realized across the portfolio of applicable applications.
Additionally, the cloud will dramatically reduce the time required to move applications from development into staging and from staging into production. Currently, this process can take several months. With the cloud, it can be done in under a day. This is in part possible through the use of prebuilt standardized images that can provide developers with a virtual machine running IBM HTTP Server, IBM WebSphere® Application Server and IBM DB2® data server in a matter of minutes. This enables rapid deployment and enforcement of standards, which helps to reduce support costs.
Another crucial benefit to this cloud-based automation is the ability to enforce required security and compliance checks on applications as part of the promotion process, which should help ensure that security risks are more efficiently identified before the risks are deployed in production. The end result is not only a less expensive process, but also more secure application run time.
But most important to Bravery, the cloud will foster continued innovation across the company.
“The cloud will help us free up capacity to host more innovation applications and make it easier and cheaper to bring successful applications into production,” says Bravery.
- IBM® Research Cloud Computing (RC2) technology
- IBM Tivoli® Provisioning Manager
- IBM BladeCenter® HS21
- IBM iDataPlex™
- IBM System x®
- IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
For more information
Contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner. Visit us at:
You can get even more out of Tivoli software by participating in independently run Tivoli User Groups around the world. Learn about opportunities near you at: www.tivoli-ug.org
Additionally, IBM Global Financing can tailor financing solutions to your specific IT needs. For more information on great rates, flexible payment plans and loans, and asset buyback and disposal, visit: ibm.com/financing
Products and services used
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America January 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Tivoli are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Other product, company or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. This case study is an example of how one customer uses IBM products. There is no guarantee of comparable results. References in this publication to IBM products and services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. TIC14094-USEN-00