IBM Offers ISVs a Fast Track for Virtual Appliance Deployment on New IBM PureSystems

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IBM Offers ISVs a Fast Track for Virtual Appliance Deployment on New IBM PureSystems

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER IBM Offers ISVs a Fast Track for Virtual Appliance Deployment on New IBM PureSystems Sponsored by: IBM Mary Johnston Turner Jed Scaramella August 2012 IDC OPINION Increasing use of virtualization and cloud architectures is creating new challenges for enterprise-class ISVs that must deploy and integrate solutions across a myriad of unique customer environments and infrastructure platforms. As a result, enterprise customers and ISVs are exploring a range of new and more simplified infrastructure architectures and application software deployment and support strategies. Converged systems that combine hardware and software elements create a simplified and integrated server, network, and storage platform that can improve operational efficiencies and increase time to value. Interviews with a number of application software ISVs indicate that virtual appliances optimized for converged systems are becoming important delivery options because:  Virtual appliances can be deployed more quickly and integrated into existing customer environments much more efficiently — often in hours rather than weeks.  Virtual appliances optimized for converged systems can provide significant application performance improvements because the system is optimized for the needs of the application and can be maintained in a more stable and consistently managed state.  ISVs are able to reach new groups of customers, engage new types of channel partners, and launch innovative go-to-market programs by delivering a solution that can be easily downloaded and installed and remotely managed. Many ISVs interviewed by IDC see virtual appliances optimized for converged systems as a game changer that will help them create more varied and cost-effective delivery and support models over time. IN THIS WHITE PAPER This white paper discusses the application deployment and management challenges created by increasing enterprise use of virtualization and cloud architectures. It discusses the use of virtual appliances optimized for deployment on converged systems as one option for addressing these challenges. Profiles of three ISV partners in IBM's recently launched Ready for IBM PureSystems program describe the benefits and business impacts of this strategy. GlobalHeadquarters:5SpeenStreetFramingham,MA01701USAP.508.872.8200F.508.935.4015www.idc.com
  2. 2. 2 #236380 ©2012 IDC SITUATION OVERVIEW In today's fast-changing, hypercompetitive markets, IT agility has become a critical success factor for many enterprises. IT executives and line-of-business managers are looking for ways to use IT to stay ahead of their competition. They expect IT teams to support an ever-growing number of users and business processes with little or no increase in head count. Maintaining predictable application performance while accommodating the need for rapid change requires a new approach to IT infrastructure. IDC's research indicates that these pressures are rapidly driving enterprise datacenters to transition away from traditional, inflexible client/server architectures that tightly couple application and infrastructure resources. In their place, virtual servers, converged systems, and cloud environments are being deployed to standardize and enable automated, dynamic pooling and sharing of compute, storage, and network resources across a range of applications and user groups. IDC predicts that nearly 120 million virtual and physical servers will be installed by 2015. In addition, IDC expects that approximately one-third of North American datacenter IT spending will be devoted to private cloud initiatives by 2013. IT decision makers are pursuing virtualization and cloud to improve business agility, control capital and operating expenses, and improve application performance and availability (see Figure 1). FIGURE 1 Top 5 Private Cloud Goals n = 200 North American private cloud IT managers Source: IDC's U.S. Private IT Cloud Systems Management Survey, 2011 31.5 47.5 78.0 87.0 91.0 020406080100 Control IT headcount Improve application performance and availability Control IT operations costs Control IT capital costs Improve business agility (% of respondents)
  3. 3. ©2012 IDC #236380 3 Converged systems are increasingly viewed as building blocks for these highly dynamic virtual and cloud datacenters. Examples of converged systems include the recently introduced IBM PureSystems family, which leverages IBM expertise in system design and system integration to deliver a new converged system that could be rapidly deployed and optimized for specific workloads. IBM took a clean sheet approach in designing PureSystems, which combines hardware and software intellectual property from IBM's Systems and Technology Group and Software Group, to achieve better performance, security, and reliability. Converged systems enable rapid infrastructure deployment and streamlined automated provisioning and management because network, storage, server, virtualization, and infrastructure management and control software components are preintegrated and standardized. IDC studies indicate that enterprises are increasingly looking to adopt converged systems in order to simplify datacenter management and operations. In a recent IDC survey, 44% of customers indicated that they are considering deploying converged systems in the next three years. This fact is particularly true among organizations with a higher rate of business change because an agile environment can better handle disruptions to IT. Virtualization, Cloud, and Converged Systems Create Application Deployment and Management Challenges For third-party application ISVs, the integration and configuration demands of traditional datacenter environments, where each customer relies on a unique mix of servers, networks, storage, hypervisors, and management software, can result in complex deployment and support situations. Senior technical staff are often called away from more important research and development activities to help troubleshoot a customer- specific integration problem that may often be related to the customer environment running on a different security or software level than the application requires. Customer concerns about integration challenges can slow or derail the purchase of new application software as IT decision makers worry about time to value and total cost of ownership (TCO). In fact, IDC data indicates that IT spends more than three-quarters (76.8%) of its time and resources on provisioning and maintaining the IT environment and less than a quarter on value-added initiatives. Increasingly, customers cannot afford to devote this amount of time and resources to provisioning and maintenance tasks and are looking for more efficient options. These challenges are exacerbated in virtual and cloud environments because applications are no longer directly associated with specific infrastructure hardware and software resources. ISVs find that they need to devote extensive resources to testing and validating application performance and compatibility with increasing numbers of hypervisors, operating systems, storage resources, and network equipment as well as databases, security software, and other middleware components. In many cases, ISVs need to rely on manual, customized processes for deploying applications because their ability to automate deployment is limited by the diversity of individual customer environments.
  4. 4. 4 #236380 ©2012 IDC Application deployment timelines are also impacted by the fact that new application implementations often require customers to participate in an extensive configuration planning, infrastructure resource acquisition, systems integration, and application deployment process in order to implement the ISV's software. This cycle can take weeks or months depending on the customer's internal approval and integration processes. In some cases, the customer may need to get multiple approvals to purchase and integrate the necessary hardware and middleware in addition to buying the application itself. Once the application is deployed, updates and patches much be tested and validated with a wide range of configurations because not all customers upgrade or patch supporting infrastructure and middleware on the same cycle. IDC interviews with a range of application ISVs indicate that it is common for vendors to spend weeks or even months working with customers during the predeployment and postdeployment phases in order to ensure that the application is stable and performing as expected. In an environment where customers expect to be able to deploy virtual machines (VMs) or access public cloud services in minutes, application ISVs cannot afford to tie up customer IT staff for months in planning, deployment, and integration programs. In order to stay competitive, ISVs need to find ways to accelerate application deployment and simplify ongoing application support. Virtual Appliances and Converged Systems Address Emerging Application Deployment and Management Challenges Converged systems provide a well-defined, tightly integrated, and automatically configurable infrastructure platform that can be quickly customized to support the needs of a wide range of applications. Because the converged system platform is shipped in a standardized and stable state, application deployment patterns, policies, and processes can be predefined and automated for large-scale repeatability on these platforms. Core policies enforced using automated patterns can be quite sophisticated when the state of the underlying infrastructure is well defined. They can include automated management of high availability, SLAs, security, multitenancy, and isolation requirements. Virtual appliances can package and automate the deployment of these predefined patterns, policies, and deployment workflows, including required operating systems and middleware technology. The result is a highly automated deployment process for predefined standardized infrastructure configurations that can be completed in minutes remotely rather than in weeks onsite. Application software updates and patches can be coordinated with converged system updates to simplify and streamline the life-cycle support of the application software. Beyond achieving faster application deployment, virtual appliances can help ensure better application performance because the enabling middleware, database, and infrastructure can be appropriately sized, configured, and maintained for the specific needs of the virtual appliance application. For many ISVs, virtual appliances provide a means to reduce deployment costs and cycle times while presenting opportunities to extend channel partners to organizations that may not have the technical skills to support more complex, customized deployments but can handle the distribution and support of a virtual appliance.
  5. 5. ©2012 IDC #236380 5 IBM Offers ISVs a Fast Track for Virtual Appliance Deployment on New IBM PureSystems The recently introduced IBM Virtual Appliance Factory and Ready for IBM PureSystems program offer ISVs a turnkey solution for rapidly creating and marketing virtual appliance versions of existing software products. Specifically, the IBM Virtual Appliance Factory provides a downloadable tool kit to help ISVs define and create virtual appliances for deployment on the IBM PureFlex System (see Figure 2). FIGURE 2 IBM Virtual Appliance Factory Overview Source: IBM, 2012 Key elements of the toolkit include the IBM Image Construction and Composition Tool and the IBM Virtual Activation Engine, which enable ISVs to create predefined bundles of base virtual images combined with middleware and application software and automation installation activators and extensions that can be rapidly deployed on and integrated into the standard IBM PureFlex platform system.
  6. 6. 6 #236380 ©2012 IDC  More rapidly deploy and scale application  Deployment time cut from 6–7 hours to 30 minutes  Improved deployment predictability and repeatability  Easier, more cost-effective maintenance Innovation Insurer Virtual Appliance for IBM PureSystems The use of predefined bundles that are proven and optimized for deployment on standard expert integrated systems streamlines or eliminates many postdeployment configuration steps, which in turn reduces complexity and human error and improves ISV development and deployment cycles. This speeds customer time to value with faster, simpler, and more reliable deployments. Once the virtual appliance has been created, ISVs upload their solution entry description to the PureSystems Centre, a new catalog of unified content showcasing PureSystems optimized solutions. IBM supports PureSystems Centre partners by including a detailed, searchable listing page for the product in the online IBM PureSystems product marketplace. Virtual appliances can be downloaded directly from the ISV Web site and are sold via ISV channels and direct sales staff. ISVs can opt to sell only the virtual appliance or to ship customers a prepackaged solution including the application software already deployed on a standardized IBM PureSystems platform. Validated virtual appliances can be branded with the "Ready for IBM PureSystems" mark. Many ISV partners are also being featured at IBM PureSystems events around the world. IBM PureSystems Partner Experiences Early IBM PureSystems partners have chosen to participate in the IBM PureSystems virtual appliance program because they see an opportunity to minimize delivery and deployment complexity, reduce support costs, improve application performance, and gain increased visibility and leverage with IBM channels and customers. Partners interviewed by IDC view their ability to offer customers a virtual appliance deployment option as a game changer that not only will allow them to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying the application but also will drive them to rethink the overall architectures of their software products to simplify and remove complexity and costs wherever possible. Innovation Group Innovation Group provides both software products and business process outsourcing services to insurance and financial services customers globally. In addition to serving 80% of the top 20 global insurance companies, Innovation Group supports the needs of many tier 2 and 3 auto, property, and casualty insurers with less than $1 billion in revenue. These insurers are striving to grow their business, reduce costs, and streamline business processes to stay competitive. Many of them are looking for alternative software delivery models such as software as a service (SaaS) or virtual appliances in order to streamline their IT environments and reduce TCO. Innovation Group's Innovation Insurer software solution is an integrated browser- based suite that includes Insurer Policy, Insurer Analytics, and Insurer Claims modules. It is an end-to-end solution with one data model, one rules engine, one process engine, and a common set of administration tools that support the end-to-end insurance value chain.
  7. 7. ©2012 IDC #236380 7 Innovation Group decided to partner with IBM to develop a virtual appliance for the IBM PureFlex System in order to provide customers with a solution that can be more quickly deployed and more efficiently maintained than the firm's traditional on-premise deployment of the software solution. As with most SOA applications, the packaged software solution can be complex to deploy and integrate in a customer's existing environment. As a result, Innovation Group had to commit staff with significant technological expertise to support field installation and ongoing support services. Deployment processes were inconsistent, and meeting customer deployment milestones was challenging. The development of the virtual appliance version of Innovation Insurer allows Innovation Group to more rapidly deploy and scale individual modules or the entire suite on a predictable and repeatable basis. The firm is able to use less skilled staff to complete most implementations. A comparison of traditional deployment processes used prior to the availability of the virtual appliance shows that Innovation Group has been able to reduce the typical single server database and application deployment process from 6–7 hours to just 30 minutes. Customer IT organizations using IBM expert integrated systems save additional time by not having to integrate network and systems infrastructure prior to application deployment. The process of scaling the application environment has also become much more streamlined. As customer requirements increase, the IBM PureFlex System can rapidly add more CPU or disk resources as needed. The virtual appliance program also allows Innovation Group to standardize and streamline application updates and patches because the environment remains stable and predictable, thereby simplifying many routine maintenance processes and allowing the use of more automated, remote systems to take care of these activities. Innovation Group reports that its experience with the program was very well defined and efficient. Starting with an internal analysis and planning session, Innovation Group felt that IBM provided solid support and sufficient resources to help create the virtual appliance in just a few months. Beyond the technical support, Innovation Group felt that IBM was a supportive partner in exploring creative pricing models that are enabling Innovation Group to expand its delivery models across expert integrated systems and private, public, and hybrid cloud software services.
  8. 8. 8 #236380 ©2012 IDC  Reduce time and staff expertise needed for deployment  3-week process reduced to 60 minutes or less  Applications run 4–6 times faster with integrated application acceleration  Improved scalability and multitenancy support Alteon Virtual Appliance for IBM PureSystems Radware Radware is the provider of Alteon, a fully functional application delivery controller (ADC) solution that ensures high levels of security and performance for compute- heavy networked environments. The solution includes global application disaster recovery, performance optimization, and end-to-end encryption. Radware offers sophisticated analysis of application and network behaviors to detect and mitigate malicious denial of service attacks disguised as legitimate traffic. Radware has relied on virtual appliances to deliver its products for a number of years. It also offers its solutions as traditional packaged software and is in the process of launching a SaaS-based option. Radware became an early participant in the virtual appliance program in order to provide its customers with a more efficient and stable virtual appliance option that can be deployed and activated in 60 minutes. Prior to creating the Alteon Virtual Appliance (Alteon VA) for IBM PureSystems, Radware had faced a number of challenges deploying and maintaining Alteon VA implementations. Specifically, customers were reluctant to deploy dedicated hardware to support a virtual appliance, so Radware often had to invest time and resources to integrate its virtual appliance solution with customers' existing datacenter and network environments. Radware partnered with IBM to create a standardized application delivery controller virtual appliance using KVM and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization on the IBM Flex System platform. This PureSystems virtual appliance allows Radware to offer IBM PureFlex System customers a highly standardized, predefined solution that can be deployed quickly and managed effectively. Radware reports that the application runs four to six times better in this type of environment compared with customized deployments of its virtual appliance. This performance impact is largely due to the entire implementation being fine-tuned on an end-to-end basis for a specific integrated system. Customers see not only important performance benefits but also significant improvements in time to value. Previously, customers could expect a three-week process to procure the product, integrate the product into the existing environment, and complete configuration of the application itself. With the PureSystems virtual appliance, customers that already have an IBM PureFlex System expert integrated system in place can activate the Radware license in 20 minutes via the IBM PureSystems Centre. They can avoid delays associated with integration and cabling and leverage the built-in IBM Workload Deployer technology to drive a 10-minute configuration workflow process. Radware tells customers to plan on 60 minutes for deployment just to be safe.
  9. 9. ©2012 IDC #236380 9  Simplify initial deployments for data-at-rest security  Accelerate deployment time from days to as little as 30 minutes  Avoid customer configuration errors  Reduce overall support and maintenance complexity and cost StoreSafe Virtual Appliance for IBM PureSystems Internally, Radware has found that the virtual appliance optimized for the IBM PureFlex System is also enabling significant improvement in the performance and cost of the Radware Alteon SaaS service. Historically, Radware has encountered challenges in managing a high-density multitenant service delivery environment. Using the virtual appliance, the company is now able to support as many as 256 tenants on a single IBM PureFlex System platform. Radware found that the IBM PureSystems Centre provided extensive support throughout the process of developing and validating the Alteon Virtual Appliance for IBM PureSystems. Radware reported that in the past, it participated in vendor- sponsored platform validation programs that were poorly defined and dragged on for anywhere from 6 months to 12 months. The process enabled by the PureSystems Centre brought together all required IBM and partner resources using a detailed process and plan. As a result, the validated solution was ready in 2 months. Beyond the well-defined technical process and availability of resources, Radware has found that the PureSystems Centre portal provides an efficient means for sharing information about the virtual appliance with customers and other IBM partners in a consistent, easy-to-navigate manner. The availability of a downloadable 30-day free trial using the virtual appliance is also creating more marketing and lead generation opportunities for Radware. Bloombase Bloombase, a worldwide provider of information security software and services solutions, partnered with IBM to create a virtual appliance for its Bloombase StoreSafe Storage Security Software Appliance, which protects corporate and user persistence/storage data from confidential information disclosure and unauthorized tampering via use of strong encryption and patented watermarking technologies. The company's goal was to enable customers to more easily manage the software and to respond to customer interest in alternative delivery models. The firm felt that a virtual appliance based on the IBM PureFlex System would simplify initial deployments and reduce implementation complexities while improving application stability and performance. Traditionally, Bloombase would spend days at a customer site working through integration and configuration challenges that were unique to the customer's environment. The firm reports that hardware compatibility problems and software configuration errors were frequent and time consuming. As a result, senior technical staffs for both Bloombase and the customer were often required to troubleshoot the situation and complete the installation. Now the virtual appliance can be deployed and configured in as little as 30 minutes instead of days.
  10. 10. 10 #236380 ©2012 IDC By deploying the solution as a virtual appliance, Bloombase is able to ensure that initial implementations are consistent and stable. Customer configuration errors are being significantly reduced because preset defaults and a wizard-based configuration tool can be provided and optimized for the IBM PureFlex System environment. Ongoing support and maintenance costs are also lower because the platform remains stable and predictable, allowing for more consistent and automated updates and patches. Overall, Bloombase believes that use of the virtual appliance model is helping it reduce deployment costs, improve application performance and stability, and improve its customers' overall total cost of ownership. Bloombase said that the level of support and collaboration it has received from IBM has exceeded that which it has received from other major infrastructure providers. The PureSystems Centre process was well defined, and IBM supplied extensive technical support and testing resources via the local IBM Innovation Center. The entire process took less than two months. FUTURE OUTLOOK As enterprise IT organizations make more extensive use of virtualization, private cloud, and public cloud resources, software purchase decisions will be heavily impacted by concerns about time to value, ease of implementation, efficiency of support, and overall application performance. Enterprise IT organizations continue to feel head count and budget pressure and will insist on solutions that minimize internal demands on their top technical staff. For ISVs, virtual appliances optimized for converged systems are likely to become an important delivery option for customers that want a simplified deployment and support experience. IDC expects that many ISVs will find that they need to support a range of delivery models over time because customers will have different preferences for traditional packaged software, virtual appliances, and SaaS-based services depending on the application and the customer's existing environment. For ISVs that are just beginning to evaluate SaaS-based delivery of their applications, virtual appliances can provide the basis of a scalable, hosted delivery option using public cloud resources to enter the market rapidly. Many ISVs expect that customers will increasingly demand a range of pricing and licensing options to match the growth in the variety of deployment and support choices. They also expect that increasing the range of delivery options will create new opportunities to reach out to nontraditional customers, engage new types of channel partners, and launch innovative go-to-market strategies. ISVs should look for infrastructure partners that can help them adapt pricing and packaging strategies while gaining access to new channels and customers.
  11. 11. ©2012 IDC #236380 11 Challenges The introduction of virtual appliances can be disruptive to both the ISV and its customers. IT employees who are skilled in supporting complex integrations and software customization may resist the introduction of a more standardized, remotely supported product. Enterprise IT organizations may also resist the introduction of new infrastructure platforms to support virtual appliances if the infrastructure vendor's equipment has not yet been validated in the datacenter environment. ISVs will need to develop strategies for understanding the organizational requirements as well as the functional requirements of their customers in order to offer customers the most appropriate delivery and support option. ISVs will also need to enable channel partners and programs in order to make sure their partners can effectively target specific options to specific types of customers. Over time, ISVs must develop detailed frameworks to help customers and channel partners evaluate the time to value, performance, and life-cycle operations costs associated with each available delivery option. CONCLUSION ISVs that proactively explore new delivery options including virtual appliances optimized for converged systems will be well positioned to extend their market presence while reducing development, deployment, and support costs. The benefits of developing a virtual appliance option will impact ISVs in a number of ways beyond the immediate benefits of reducing deployment costs and enabling more stable and predictable application performance and support. Lessons learned about how to simplify, standardize, and automate application code and deployment processes will also carry over to traditional packaged versions of the software and can enable more efficient and scalable SaaS-based cloud delivery options. To stay competitive in today's rapidly evolving software industry, ISVs need to offer a range of delivery options that match cost, performance, and time to value with customers' individual priorities. Copyright Notice External Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of the proposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right to deny approval of external usage for any reason. Copyright 2012 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden.

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