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IBM CloudBurst and WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance Compared

CloudBurst and WCA both provide a compelling consideration in any cloud platform strategy

Contents of an IBM CloudBurst:

a. Base Hardware Configuration:

  • 1 42U rack
  • 1 BladeCenter Chassis
  • 1 3650M2 Management Server, 8 cores, 24GB Ram
  • 1 HS22 CloudBurst Management Blade, 8 cores, 48GB RAM
  • 3 managed HS22 blades, 8 cores, 48GB RAM
  • DS3400 FC attached storage


b. Cloud Software Configuration:

  • IBM CloudBurst service management pack
  • IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager v7.1
  • IBM Tivoli Monitoring v6.2.1
  • IBM Systems Director 6.1.1 with Active Energy Manager; IBM ToolsCenter 1.0; IBM DS Storage Manager for DS4000 v10.36; LSI SMI-S provider for DS3400
  • VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 U4; VMware ESXi 3.5 U4 hypervisor


What is WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance?

WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance is a computing system optimized for running WebSphere middleware in a virtualized environment. WCA is an appliance that the customer uses to bring existing compute resources into a cloud, and acts as a software vending machine for the deployment and management of WebSphere-based applications

WCA is not intended to be a general purpose cloud computing infrastructure. It is optimized for running WebSphere software in a way that is application/middleware aware. WebSphere CloudBurst appliances come pre-loaded with WebSphere software solutions (i.e., Application Server, Process Server, etc) ready for deployment into a customer's infrastructure.

Contents of a WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance:

  1. Hardware Appliance
  2. SW Media Pack:

Media Pack -- WAS Hypervisor Edition on SLES based on V6.1

Media Pack -- WAS Hypervisor Edition on SLES based on V7.0

Fitting in Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure:

In my paper titled “Anatomy of Cloud Computing”, I discuss the various pluggable points that form the ‘Elements of Cloud Computing platform”. A high level reference diagram that can be employed to define the building blocks of a cloud.

Elements of Cloud Computing

Figure: Elements of Cloud Computing

Expanding on this reference diagram, we can see how the various technologies included in IBM CloudBurst and WCA, collectively provide a near complete in house cloud solution. We can break down the various capabilities of these offering to see how they fit into various elements:

  1. Infrastructure:
    1. IBM CloudBurst :

i. Provides HW – Expandable HS22 blades, DS3400 attached storage

ii. Provides SW – VMware ESX Hypervisors for deployments

- Database (DB2) for applications

- Provisioning Software -TPM

- Monitoring - ITM

iii. Rack Mounted (42U) with complete networking

    1. WCA :

i. WebSphere Hypervisor Edition – V6.1/7.0 Images

ii. Resource monitoring for deployment (ESX Hypervisors) Targets ( can be provisioned by IBM CloudBurst)

  1. Governance:
    1. IBM CloudBurst: Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM) Deployment engine interfaced with LDAP (ITDS) and DB2. Authentication and brokering of user requests.
    2. WCA: Role based access to appliance and the catalog.

  1. Workflow
    1. IBM CloudBurst: TPM exploits automation workflow, which is driven by self service component.
    2. WCA: None.

  1. Self Service
    1. IBM CloudBurst : Browser based interface, provides access to provisioning and cloud resources ( Resource request, roles etc)
    2. WCA: Limited, role based access to WCA console.

This discussion also warrants drawing comparison between the two offerings. The Table below compares the technical capability of the two offerings. It is important to note that the complementary nature of two distinct capabilities can be exploited independent of each other. In data centers with extensive WebSphere presence can collectively employ these, as a ramp up cloud solution.

Table: Comparing IBM CloudBurst and WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance


IBM CloudBurst

WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance (WCA)

Hosting Platform

Pre-Packaged HW/SW Solution. With Systems, Storage and Networking Support.

No hosting capability. Purposeful appliance capable of dispensing WebSphere Application server images to a virtualized hosting environment.

Provisioning Platform

Includes Tivoli Provisioning Manager – Automated end-to-end provisioning.

Provisioning automation for ONLY WebSphere application server (Hypervisor Edition).

Storage Service

DS3400 FC attached storage. Built in storage for end-to-end storage needs.

On appliance storage to store OVA images.

Provisioning Service

Automated provisioning of OS, middleware, storage and Network.

Provisioning for ONLY WebSphere Hypervisor Edition.

Monitoring Service

Includes Tivoli Monitoring – manage OS, database and middleware servers.

Monitoring available ONLY for defined deployment pool of ESX servers and the device itself.

Virtualization Platform

VMWARE provides deployment resource pool and Tivoli Provisioning Manager automates end-to-end provisioning.

Dispenses self contained virtual images (WebSphere Hypervisor Edition). Relies on external virtualization platform for deployment and runtime.

Automation Workflow

Tivoli Provisioning Manager provides automation workflows, and script enable service component.

No workflow component available. Best effort support for deployment.

Directory Service

ITDS (LDAP) and DB2 included providing directory service to cloud.

User roles defined on the appliance. LDAP integration available for authentication. These roles valid for appliance functions ONLY.


Element of cloud computing platform describes the various building blocks, which include a amalgamation of technology solutions such as a virtualization, provisioning automation, monitoring, work flow integration, governance and rich user interface. IBM CloudBurst and WCA together provide complementary near complete cloud solutions. While IBM CloudBurst is cloud solution geared towards ramping up more generic private cloud environments, WCA addresses the data center needs with significant WebSphere presence.

It is important to note that the complementary nature of two distinct capabilities can be exploited independent of each other. In data centers with extensive WebSphere presence can collectively employ these, as a ramp up cloud solution. While it is conceivable to reuse some of the already existing technology toward the new cloud platform strategy, it is vital to have a vision and strategy around cloud adoption. IBM CloudBurst and WCA both provide a compelling consideration in any cloud platform strategy.







More Stories By Nitin Gaur

Nitin Gaur, is currently working in capacity of Senior WebSphere Consulting IT Specialist with IBMs S&D Organization. Prior to teaming with IBM S&D organization, Nitin spend several years with WebSphere OEM team, a SWG entity and AIX support – ITS/IGS entity. In his 11 years with IBM he has achieved various industry recognized certifications and enriched his career by doing more than required by the defined job responsibilities. Prior to beginning his career with IBM, he was graduate student at University of Maryland University College. Apart from excelling in his normal job responsibilities, Nitin has been involved with many on going projects at IBM Austin. To name a few, Nitin has been an active member of Austin TVC – Technical Vitality Council, an IBM Academy affiliate since 2002.

As a technical leader Nitin has been involved in various technical paper presentations in various conferences at IBM and outside. The range of the topics presented by him span from software architectures to improvement of management processes. Nitin, has been focused on staying close to customer and always attuned to their needs and problems. One of his primary job responsibilities includes positioning WebSphere infrastructure products and providing technical solution and support to field sales teams. He is relentless in researching skills and presenting the industry best practices of IT Infrastructure. Performing advance technical research and providing IBM clients with strategic solutions on WebSphere offerings is one his forte.

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