IBM held its annual service-oriented architecture (SOA) and WebSphere user event in Las Vegas this week, where the main talking point was around how cloud computing could be applied to SOA environments.
However, IBM's cloud ambitions are much broader than this, according to Walter Falk, Global Test Cloud executive and SOA Infrastructure Services leader, who sat down with vnunet.com at the show to discuss current and future developments around the technology.
"Cloud is still very new and immature from a standards perspective; it's lacking security and service level agreements," Falk said. "What we're seeing from enterprises is that they're quite willing to adopt private clouds. They're taking advantage of cloud computing, but by taking their existing datacentres and turning them into a cloud model."
The most common use for cloud computing at present is for non-production, development and testing environments, according to Falk. "There's a large number of underutilised servers that you can put virtualisation and images on to deliver a standard environment," he said.
"Developers can go through a service catalogue and select the type of environment they need at the time they need it. After three days [for example] the cloud deprovisions the infrastructure and it's available for someone else to use."
This approach has several benefits. Firstly, it makes it quicker for testers to get access to the development environment they require. Falk estimated that customers of the CloudBurst appliance can get this down to minutes, rather than days or weeks. It also means that servers are not sitting idle for so much of the time. Finally, there is a cost advantage.
"You'll get up to 75 per cent capital reduction through server consolidation and virtualisation, 50 per cent operational spending reductions, and a significant reduction in licensing costs as you need fewer machines," Falk explained.
"Also, 30 per cent of defects in the testing cycle come from wrongly configured test equipment. If you can eliminate this through implementing a private cloud, it's much more efficient."
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