WebSphere CloudBurst is a hardware appliance based on IBM’s DataPower SOA appliance server that allows companies to run virtual images that can be used in a private cloud environment. Shipped with the new IBM WebSphere Application Server Hypervisor Edition, (WASVI) CloudBurst is optimized for use with virtualized hardware environments like VmWare.
Designed primarily to be used for private cloud deployments behind the firewall, IBM is also marketing the CloudBurst Appliance to SAAS and Cloud service providers who need an off the shelf cloud solution that offers easy and rapid deployment in a data center environment. CloudBurst ships with a number of preconfigured VmWare ESX virtual images with standardized configurations based on IBM WebSphere best practices. The virtual images are composed of WebSphere components, an IBM HTTP server and Linux.
The Virtual Images and Scripts (called patterns) are deployed and managed via a familiar drag and drop Web 2.0 console.
The patterns are designed to appeal to a wide range of users and vary from a basic single server topology suitable for a SMB client to a very large cluster of servers more attuned to a SAAS service providers needs. Users can customize the seeded patterns with custom scripts or by cloning seeded patterns via the CloudBurst console.
Custom patterns are stored on the CloudBurst Appliance and are also managed via the CloudBurst console.
The CloudBurst console also allows administrators to setup users and security and to manage and monitor the appliance and deployed cloud.
The WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance will be available in June 2009 and will be priced starting at $45,000 USD. Initially only VMware ESX Server file formats will be supported but IBM expects to support other formats in the near future.
WebSphere CloudBurst is being touted as the first appliance based cloud solution on the market and should gain traction amongst SMB customers and service providers alike. But IBM should expect competition in this space fairly quickly from the likes of Cisco-VMware, HP, Oracle-Sun and perhaps even from the Open Source arena as the barriers to entry for such solutions are relatively low assuming a compelling combination of software and hardware in a reasonably priced appliance.