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InfoQ Homepage News Interview: Jerry Cuomo Discusses Virtualization, Cloud Computing and WebSphere Virtual Enterprise

Interview: Jerry Cuomo Discusses Virtualization, Cloud Computing and WebSphere Virtual Enterprise

In this interview Jerry Cuomo, an IBM Fellow and the Chief Technology Officer of WebSphere Division, talks with Floyd Marinescu on Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and WebSphere Virtual Enterprise (VE) product.

Jerry talked about what IBM is doing with WebSphere Virtual Enterprise to help virtualize middleware and application stack. Responding to a question about the conceptual framework for thinking about Virtualization, Jerry explained Virtualization concepts he calls Atomic and Molecular Virtualization.

I have been talking internally (at IBM) about things that I call "Atomic Virtualization" and "Molecular Virtualization". These are techniques for virtualizing servers, so atomic virtualization is about virtualizing a single server. It is about freeze drying the server, freeze drying the configuration and information that is used to pre-install and configure that server so that it can be hot deployed. That's interesting but that's a starting point, where it really starts to get cool is when you can create collections of these things, so that's what I call molecular virtualization. This actually allows you to freeze dry actual server topology, a group of servers. So you have your servers as your atoms and the bonds and links between those atoms, are your configurations, your best practices, that create actually a collection of your virtual servers, again, a virtual molecule. Now, again we build up on this by deploying that molecule to a virtual cluster and this becomes the first entry into clouds.

Speaking of how Software As a Service (SaaS) fits into Cloud Computing space, he said:

I absolutely think it fits in. I talk about this progression of virtualization kind of thinking about machine virtualization, server virtualization; I talked about atoms and molecules. There is an actual progression when you start to look at the platform itself. So virtualizing the platform, instead of going up to your cloud and saying: "Cloud, I need a machine to run this type of workload, I need this much CPU and I need this much memory", what you do when you talk to your cloud as a platform as a service you say "Cloud, I need some support to run my commerce application, I want to install a catalog of products". So you are not asking for servers, you are actually asking for it to do a job for you. So, take my application, here it is, here is how I want it to run, I may give you some operational policies, like response time goals, throughput goals. I may give you some business priorities, this application is more important than that application from a business prospective, I may give you some health policies, but I want the platform to manage it.

Jerry discussed the new features in the next release of WebSphere Application Server (Version 7) and its support for Virtualization.

In our next release of WebSphere version 7, we will have a virtual appliance option for you to order WebSphere. So absolutely this is becoming a way of doing business. Hardening the environment right down to embedding the Operating System as an embedded system. When you use your router at home it probably has a built-in operating system, it probably has some built-in storage, it probably has some middleware in there. But you don't know, you just use it for the function. So you see that as a reasonable model going forward. We also think it is interesting once we have these virtual appliances to create dispensers, things that allow you to take the virtual appliance, deploy it, manage it, meter it, monitor it, and again this is where some of our WebSphere Virtual Enterprise technologies are going to come into play to act as the dispenser of these virtual appliances.

Here is the interview (29:36 minutes).

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