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A2040-921 exam Dumps Source : IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0 Migration and Support
Test Code : A2040-921
Test Name : IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0 Migration and Support
Vendor Name : IBM
Q&A : 78 Real Questions
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IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0 Migration and Support
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Some stars take a little longer to shine. If you would have come to the IBM conference in ICC in Berlin, which took place in October 2011 and you wanted to attend one of the two presentations titled “Lean WebSphere environment for development”, you most likely wouldn’t have been able to find a seat, and you would have witnessed cheers and extended applause. What happened? It was an audience that, aside from the undeniable strengths of the IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS), had most likely got used to its somewhat poor attributes: complex configuration, high resource consumption and long start times for the server or application. In a worldwide premiere, Ian Robinson (WAS Chief Architect) and his colleague Tim deBoer presented an application server of a completely different kind: a start time of 2 s (seconds!) using an old-fashioned notebook and a 60 MB ZIP file for the installation of the entire application server – no more DVD stacks.
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An unequivocal and clear statement was met with even more enthusiasm: We are not unaware of what ails the developers, in particular. Yes, it has taken a while. As of today, however, everything is different. The presentation introduced the “Liberty Profile”, a completely new version of the IBM WebSphere Application Server.
And what’s up with that star, five years later? Back then it was a pre-release version of an application server. Today, IBM WebSphere Liberty – some may have to overcome their antipathy to the name and look at things in perspective – is a valuable server, certified for Java EE 7 Full Profile, that remains slim, fully suitable for production and supported by the manufacturer. As was the case before, the transition to the application server is very simple: after a download of only 50-100 MB, depending on the version, a simple unzip is all that’s needed and Liberty is installed. One more command and the server can be started.
The configuration is just as simple: if you like, a single XML file is all you need. Whoever uses Tomcat will be familiar with it. Anyone used to the IBM configuration has been unfamiliar with this kind of elegance and simplicity, until now.Even though Liberty is far less known than Tomcat or JBoss/WildFly, some myths die hard. We want to explicitly clear up a few of them.
Myth #1 about the configuration: “There’s no graphical configuration tool”. Yes, there is. If you want one, you can use the practical IBM WebSphere Liberty Server configuration tool , a browser-based administration and configuration tool. There is also the option to use the graphical editors from the Eclipse-based WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT) to edit the XML configuration files. WDT can be downloaded via the Eclipse marketplace, and thus Myth #2 is exposed: „You need expensive Rationals Tools to work with WebSphere“.
The configuration via XML file or UI serves another purpose, however, that you won’t know from other Java EE application servers, namely the definition of the features to be prepared by the application server. This partly explains the puzzle of how IBM has been so successful in making such a slim server. It is completely modular. The developer or administrator tailors their server precisely using the selection of modules in the configuration.
Liberty consists of modules
IBM developed the Liberty Profile as a modular server with fine granularity from the bottom up. Standardized and proven OSGi technology is used for modularization, which is known to properly depict the ideas of versioning and dependencies between components.
A kernel of the server loads the specified Liberty modules at startup. It loads further modules automatically when they are needed. IBM started using internal modularization by way of OSGi in the classic WebSphere Application Server V6.1 back in 2006. In that case, however, you could ban the portlet container or JCA container that is not being used from the central memory. The granularity of the modularization of Liberty is much finer and, in our view, unique to Java EE servers. In order to clear up an obvious misunderstanding: Though OSGi is hidden from the normal Java EE user, you can also use it for the program code comprehensively in Liberty, of course – as is the case for many application servers. The list of features and their modules is too comprehensive for this article, so we’ve included a link . We think an example might be useful here:
Imagine the Java EE application you use requires JSF. The JSF feature is loaded in Liberty through the corresponding configuration. Liberty automatically obtains the servlet and JSP features and their modules, thanks to OSGi. If the application does not use any JSF or JSP-based UI, but rather just servlet calls, only the servlet feature loads. As a result, no CPU cycle or central memory is used for the JSP or JSF functionality.
SEE ALSO: IBM software engineers: “We needed to be more agile”
Liberty is completely Java EE 7 certified
Myth #3 about specification: “Liberty only supports the limited JEE Web Profile.” From the developer’s perspective it is great that, for the above-named feature concept, Liberty has been a fully certified Java EE 7 application server since Version 220.127.116.11 .This makes it much more than the classic WAS as far as this current programming model is concerned. It also supports the use of Java SE 1.6, 7.0 and 8.0, and not only in the in-house implementation of IBM, but also Oracle, for example. IBM offers comprehensive, production-ready support for Liberty via the standard agreements. This depends on what edition of Liberty you have. The selection ranges from a simple version certified only for Java EE 7 Web Profile to a clusterable edition that offers much more than only Java EE 7.
Zero migration with Liberty
The above-described modularity allows IBM to break new ground with Liberty in order to make using Java EE technology as efficient and agile as possible. A migration of the runtime environment to a higher version eliminates the significant efforts involved in testing and, if necessary, adapting the existing applications for the new version. Given the backward compatibility of many specifications, the extent of adjustment for a single application is generally minor. However, it can’t be avoided. In addition, there are often a hundred or more applications that can be affected particularly in larger environments. And the migration process is not complete until the final application has been adapted. The result: unpredictable project durations that can often go on for many months.
Thanks to its modular structure, Liberty offers a surprisingly elegant solution for this. The migration of Liberty means that an old existing feature would have to make way for a new version; the new version does not simply replace the old one. Instead, the new version is added, which means that both are available.
An example: Liberty currently has the features “servlet-3.0” and “servlet-3.1”. If applications only require “servlet-3.0”, the server can be configured so that only this feature is loaded. In this way, the servlet runtime environment doesn’t change (from the application perspective). If this applies to all features required by the application, the application migration is no longer required here.
In addition, the OSGi-based architecture ensures that incompatibilities between features or certain versions of features are reported at server startup and not only at the runtime. For example, the simultaneous use of “servlet-3.0” and “websocket-1.1” is blocked from the start.
SEE ALSO: IBM technology evangelist: Outsourcers are “like pizza boxes”
Continuous delivery of new features
IBM is breaking the mold when it comes to the development of and support for Liberty. The traditional way of adding functions through new releases and refresh packs can slow progress in many projects. Too rarely are there updates.
Here, IBM has two approaches to the solution, marketed under the slogan “Continuous Delivery Model”. It is now common that new functionality is made available through the quarterly fix packs. Something that was only available in a restricted format, mainly in the form of additional properties for fine configuration of individual components of the application server. Now, entirely new features are rolled out as follows:ejb-3.2, batch-1.0, jacc-1.5 and countless others were introduced in fix pack 18.104.22.168, so that the Java EE 7 certification was possible at this level and above.The real innovation, however, is the Liberty Repository. Here, IBM is providing new functions for Liberty continuously, without fixed schedules and lengthy announcements. This could involve new APIs, features, or tools, as well as scripts or “snippets” for the configuration of the server. Anyone looking for open source components like Struts, RichFaces, Hibernate or others with Liberty will find everything they need there.
The Repository is accessed from the IBM Installation Manager, directly via the website , or from the developer tools available for Eclipse environments (these in turn must be installed via the Eclipse Marketplace). Search and filter functions help you find suitable downloads from the well over 150 entries that are already there. For existing Liberty installations, it is also possible to access the Repository via the command line. In this case, the dependencies of features are taken into account automatically.
Sweet spots in modern architectures
Despite all the euphoria, you have to look at the reality of the data centers, of course, in order to find the best application scenarios for Liberty. Often, a Java EE Application Server already exists, with recorded and possibly automated procedures for server installations, deployment and testing of applications, etc. Adding a new product here would have to be carefully considered. Since there is no “wsadmin” scripting language from the traditional WebSphere Application Server (WAS) for Liberty, such processes cannot be transferred from a WAS to Liberty without some effort.
Myth #4 about the target group: “Liberty is intended only for developers”.
It must be mentioned that Liberty can be used in production environments without restriction. There are cluster mechanisms that enable reliability and load balancing. Larger environments can be administered centrally via an interface (keyword: “collectives”). The scaling potential here is even better than in a classic WAS.
Therefore, using Liberty is less about replacing an existing infrastructure in one fell swoop. Instead, it makes more sense to select the projects that best take advantage of Liberty’s strengths. These are, for example, dynamic and modern runtime architectures like Docker or Cloud. Here, IBM has already created the best prerequisites for Liberty with the platform as a service solution Bluemix. Liberty is likewise recommended for highly scalable server environments with potentially thousands of specialized servers, since the slim and module structure of Liberty works particularly well in that context. Software architectures based on microservices would be a perfect scenario for that.
Even if you don’t take existing Java EE landscapes into account, there are still plenty of arguments in favor of Liberty: a certified programming model with Java EE 7, production capability through scalability and reliability mechanisms and the reliable support from IBM.
And on top of that, the IBM contingents in companies finally have a really cool product to show off again.
Links & literature
 Liberty Repository: https://developer.ibm.com/wasdev/downloads/
Ray Grigsby, Rimini Street
There are important changes coming to the way support is provided for JD Edwards customers who currently run on the Oracle supported ‘Blue Stack.’ By way of Q&A, Ray Grigsby, Vice President, JD Edwards Service Delivery, Rimini Street sets out the current known position, and suggests how an alternative might make more sense for customers.
What does Oracle’s Blue Stack support currently include and what specifically will change on September 30, 2016?
Oracle has provided support for The EnterpriseOne Technology Foundation (Blue Stack.) This consists of IBM DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows, IBM WebSphere Application Server, and the IBM WebSphere Portal. On September 30, 2016, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne IBM Technology Foundation and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne IBM Technology Foundation Upgrade will no longer be supported by Oracle.
If software licensees want to continue running their tried and true combination of IBM Blue Stack technology and JD Edwards applications while fully supported, they will have to purchase a new Blue Stack support agreement from IBM or a Value Added Reseller (VAR).
Licensees using the JDE World software are not affected since they license DB2 as part of their iSeries support.
That seems drastic. Why do you think Oracle is ending Blue Stack support?
Oracle’s strategy appears to be a consistent move towards a single-vendor approach including hardware, software and services, which for some licensees could present well-known challenges associated with vendor lock-in but which might make sense where the customer has decided strategically on a ‘single throat to choke’ approach to licensing.
What are the options for current Blue Stack licensees?
There are currently three options Blue Stack licensees can choose from before September 30, 2016:
Licensees can continue running Blue Stack but will need to purchase a new support agreement from IBM by September 30, 2016. This is an additional agreement to the existing JDE support and maintenance agreement currently in place with Oracle, forcing the customers to manage support issues between two vendors.
Licensees can migrate to Oracle Technology Foundation (Red Stack) but are required to purchase a new Oracle Red Stack license and support contract. Additional costs potentially include upgrading to the most current JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 / 9.2 versions, data migration, re-engineering of custom modules, process modifications and Red Stack staffing and skills training.
Licensees can switch to Independent Software Support Services and take back control of their JD Edwards application strategy. By switching to an independent support service, licensees can continue to run their existing JD Edwards applications and use a portion of their savings, such as the 50% savings guaranteed by specific independent software service providers, to acquire full support for Blue Stack from IBM. A third party support provider typically assumes responsibility for all JD Edwards support management and problem resolution, along with interoperability and customizations. This saves time, money and resources by offloading these tasks to an independent software support service provider, while saving overall costs.
How does getting Blue Stack support from IBM actually work? Is IBM stepping up to make this a feasible option for its customers running JDE on IBM?
Many licensees will choose to continue using Blue Stack in conjunction with their JD Edwards software, but will need to procure Blue Stack support from IBM. They will still be able to purchase new products directly from IBM or a Value Added Reseller (VAR).
Licensees will need to find new budget to purchase Blue Stack support from IBM on top of their pre-existing Oracle annual support and maintenance agreement for JD Edwards software. The impacts for licensees to continue running Blue Stack under IBM support include:
Potential requirements for increasing funding for IBM Blue Stack support agreements and JD Edwards application support
Dedicating substantial time and more internal resources to managing, coordinating and resolving support issues amongst multiple support services from Oracle and IBM
Working with potential interoperability issues between JD Edwards applications and Blue Stack components
What would you estimate moving to Red Stack would cost for an average sized JDE Blue Stack customer running on IBM?
These things are always difficult to assess, however, history is a good guide.
For a start, pricing could be significant but is dependent on each specific JD Edwards implementation. More important, it could be a disruptive, potentially risky move for a licensee to switch platforms to Red Stack. Customers will also have to consider the following:
New capital expenditures and operational expenditures for Red Stack products, licenses and support because moving to a new stack is an intricate process and not a simple one-step migration However, some users on older versions of E1 may require two upgrades to get to the current 9.1 / 9.2 versions. But all upgrades require retrofitting, patching and testing. (Source: Oracle, Planned EnterpriseOne Upgrade Innovations, 2015 – PDF)
Mandatory upgrade to the most current JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 / 9.2 versions in order to run Red Stack, which may necessitate re-engineering custom modules and process modifications because various layers must be re-implemented including applications, middleware, database, operating systems, virtual machines and storage.
Cost to migrate data and redeploy other components as required from Blue Stack to Red Stack.
Potential Red Stack staff training, availability and cost issues.
It is difficult to be precise about any of these costs for the reasons stated above but based upon our research in similar environments, we are seeing a very rough estimate in the range of $200K+ to $1M in annualized costs per implementation on individual configurations. This rough estimate is for a single Oracle 12c database and would still require additional hardware, licensing, middleware, training, support and more. These are all costs that will be required to keep the lights on. Check this article for further color on aspects of Oracle licensing and pricing.
What are the benefits for customers making the choice to go to a third party?
You would expect me to say this, but by switching to independent support, JD Edwards support services customers can reduce their total maintenance costs by up to 90% to fund Blue Stack support from IBM.
A good third party support provider should offer access to a dedicated Primary Support Engineer who will assess, diagnose and remediate all support issues; and help you find savings that allow you to redeploy IT staff onto strategic projects that move the business forward in a positive manner. Net-net, not only can customers protect their existing investments, but they can also get more out of their resources.
Where can customers find out more?
We think it is important that potential customers discover which customers have taken the plunge and opted for an independent support approach. Companies like Liz Claiborne and Pitney-Bowes spring to mind but there are many more that can be found in this comprehensive resource.
Note:  Source: Rimini Street: http://www.riministreet.com/company. Details are based upon ongoing internal analysis using total maintenance savings accounting for upgrades, customizations and support resources.
Image credit - Feature image - Composite image of maze question mark © vectorfusionart - Fotolia.com; headshot by Rimini Street.
By Thomas Ward and Vasanthi Gopal · March 1, 2014
These days, it is hard to avoid the mention of cloud computing during any ordinary work week. And with good reason: “Cloud,” as it is referred to, is rapidly becoming a valued means of storing, sharing, and retrieving all kinds of data at faster speeds and with far lower fixed costs than ever before. It was only a matter of time before cloud would be seen as a potential solution for some of the complex challenges that supply chain managers face in today’s non-stop global economy.
So what does the cloud-driven supply chain look like in practice? How are its advantages actually playing out? And what are some of the challenges and risks along the way?
IBM’s Integrated Supply Chain (ISC) organization has some answers. In 2012, ISC began taking to the cloud its Quality Early Warning System (QEWS), an innovative solution developed by IBM to identify potential quality defects in its end-to-end hardware supply chain processes. In addition to saving IBM an estimated $50 million in warranty costs, QEWS is an important step in IBM’s shift from descriptive, or reactive, analytics to predictive analytics.
The group’s experience with cloud computing thus far has proved to be promising. The results provide ample justification for continued investment in cloud, particularly in terms of managing time and project commitments. This article shares some of what IBM has learned to date, gives candid disclosures about some of the pitfalls, and points to the next steps in moving more of IBM’s supply chain to the cloud.
IBM’s Supply Chain Imperative
Delivering information technology hardware, software, and services to over 170 countries, IBM generated 2013 revenues of almost $100 billion with net income of $18 billion. But like other Fortune 500 organizations, IBM is in white-hot competition for market share and client relevance.
Every efficiency gain matters; every opportunity to shift costs from fixed to variable is of great interest; every technology model that improves collaboration and reduces cycle time is of enormous value. “We can make ourselves a successful company,” Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chief executive said recently.
“But to be the world’s most essential company? Others confer that on us. We will have to earn that.” Pivotal to IBM’s effectiveness is its ISC organization, whose 20,000-plus employees in 70 countries manage more than $33 billion in annual spend for IBM and workwith more than 19,000 suppliers worldwide, all connected online.
The ISC owns and manages IBM’s end-to-end supply chain processes. This includes all of its supplier-facing source-to-payment processes and its client-facing opportunity-to-order-to-cash interactions, along with the conventional plan-to-deliver activities. It should come as no surprise that the ISC relies heavily on its IT prowess; more than 93 percent of supplier invoices are transacted electronically; and it has more than 30 analytics applications that are used to improve its global end-to-end operations.
The ISC’s leadership team had been well aware of cloud computing’s potential for years; after all, IBM has been a leading cloud proponent for a long time. (The enterprise has been growing its overall cloud revenues sharply in recent years; indeed, IBM reported 2013 cloud revenues of more than $4 billion—a 69 percent increase over 2012.)
But cloud’s value to ISC became clear in the fourth quarter of 2011 when Tim Humphrey, ISC’s director of strategy and innovation, identified it as a key enabler for IBM’s overall supply chain strategy—notably for increasing supply chain agility. Crucially, cloud would realign ISC’s strategy with IBM’s overall corporate strategy, which was already tightly tied to cloud computing.
The organization’s consequent cloud strategy was developed and reviewed by Tom Ward (co-author of this article and ISC’s supply chain cloud strategist), and approved by Fran O’Sullivan, IBM’s chief supply chain officer and her senior supply chain executive team.
The strategy was established by conducting over 40 interviews across IBM’s supply chain, with executives in the office of its chief information officer, and with its Global Technology Services’ executive teams.
In addition, available industry research was evaluated to identify the intersection between cloud and the supply chain. The primary benefits of cloud were already well understood by the team. These were anchored in the definition of cloud from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (See Cloud Made Clear.)
ISC leaders knew it would provide faster access to IT resources and the elastic capacity needed to make IBM’s supply chain more agile. They were familiar with the ways in which cloud service providers could speed up “time to value” in terms of clients’ access to the cloud. They knew that the cloud can open up multi-enterprise collaboration among suppliers, clients, and business partners, boosting supply chain efficiency.
(In a traditional IT environment, server utilization is typically 15 percent to 25 percent, whereas in the cloud, it can be more than 65 percent.) And they understood that improved visibility of key data would make supply chains more responsive. The question was, where, across all of IBM’s farflung supply chain operations, could cloud be piloted to best effect?
The ISC’s leaders pinpointed three areas in which cloud could make big contributions:
Reducing the cycle time for on-boarding clients to the cloud
Trimming cycle times for delivery and set-up of cloud infrastructure for IBM’s and its clients’ data centers
showcasing the migration of IBM internal supply chain applications to the cloud
Cloud Made Clear
Cloud computing has been compared to renting a car versus owning a car. Under a car rental agreement, the renter pays for the use of the car on a consumption basis: A renter is charged by the day or by the mile driven. The car is rented from a fleet of cars of different sizes, makes, and models.
The renter can readily opt for an “upgrade” car if he or she needs more capacity or speed. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines “cloud” as follows: Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on- demand networkaccess to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and ser vices) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
The fundamental benefits of cloud computing are ease of use and speed of provisioning. It is important to note that cloud is not a “technology,” like networking or server storage; it is a usage model. It is based on a pool of network, compute, storage, and application resources. Treating all the resources in the data center as a pool enables users to more accurately quantify the business value of cloud computing as a solution at each stage of implementation.
Shortlisting Applications for The Cloud
With those objectives in mind, Tom Ward and other ISC leaders began to map out a supply chain cloud deployment plan in mid-2012. At least 12 of IBM’s existing supply chain applications were identified as strong candidates to migrate to the cloud—applications ranging from Web order invoicing, and online travel reservations to critical parts management tools.
The evaluation process mapped the cloud’s desirable characteristics (as defined by NIST and ISC) to the fit with each application. This assessment was based on a supply chain application running on an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment. To launch the initiative, the ISC cloud team began to identify and assemble professionals from across the company who could help drive the cloud pilot program.
As part of IBM’s global technical talent development program, three ISC employees from India, Chile, and Spain worked with Ward and IBM distinguished engineer Pascal Durazzi to identify and evaluate candidate applications. By 2013, three new staff members—including co-author Vasanthi Gopal, an IBM IT architect—had joined the team to drive ISC’s cloud application migration.
Importantly, the cloud strategy effort required no full-time employees. Ward has been allocating approximately 30 percent of his working week to the project; Gopal commits one day a week as part of her own ongoing training and development initiative at IBM. Allin all, the ISC’s cloud strategy initiative has required the equivalent of perhaps one full-time person thus far.
Additionally, the team took five key steps:
Evaluating the cost for migration and on-going operations
Comparing cloud-based costs to the business-as-usual environment
Completing a security risk assessment in order to mitigate any security exposures
Completion of a client enablement questionnaire to activate the service and provision the client’s initial resource
Last but by no means least, the detailed planning for deployment of the application’s migration to the cloud
QEWS Gets the Green Light
The team selected a quality management solution, Quality Early Warning System (QEWS), for the pilot. Developed in-house by IBM, QEWS has been in use in IBM’s Server and Storage manufacturing operations worldwide since 2008. Its advanced analytics help detect emerging negative trends in supply chain quality early in the process.
The tool monitors and analyzes data that was already available in IBM’s information repository, such as full field performance data, manufacturing and test performance data, and supplier quality performance data. When an outlier is identified, QEWS proactively sends an alert to the appropriate manager, who can evaluate and confirm that there is a potential quality related defect and initiate the necessary remediation.
Specifically, QEWS provides an alternative to the current standard in quality—statistical process control (SPC)—which is prone to many false alarms and is reactive rather than predictive. QEWS’ “smart” infrastructure automatically detects defect trends typically before they are triggered by traditional, industry standard SPC techniques.
Using this predictive approach to quality management, IBM can identify and resolve potential problems six to eight weeks or more earlier than with traditional SPC at any stage of the supply chain process. The result: QEWS minimizes manufacturing rework, delayed product shipments, warranty claims in recall of defective products—all of which can and do contribute to lost time, higher costs, and lower client satisfaction.
QEWS can mitigate these problems while lowering costs, improving productivity, and enhancing brand value. Benefits to date at IBM include savings of $50 million in hard warranty costs since 2008, plus soft savings and benefits. In 2012, QEWS was recognized byInformationWeek as a leading innovation.
And it was a finalist in the technology category of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) 2013 awards. Perhaps more importantly, QEWS illustrates IBM’s shift from descriptive to predictive analytics. It is one of over 30 supply chain analytics solutions currently in use.
The application was recommended for the pilot program by Donnie Haye, ISC’s vice president of analytics, solutions, and acquisitions. Haye based her recommendation on the fact that the QEWS sits at the intersection of business analytics and the cloud across IBM’s suppliers, its clients, and IBM itself.
Analytics help unearth insights that inform business decisions and can be used to automate and optimize business processes. Cloud is a key enabler for integrating analytics applications and providing visibility across the supply chain. Moreover, QEWS was already gaining interest as a “showcase” application, for demonstration to IBM’s clients; moving it to the cloud could make it easier to use in future collaborations with clients, suppliers, and business partners.
The application can be used across many of IBM’s clients’ manufacturing industries, from automobile to electronics. The advantage of having QEWS in the cloud is that it makes it easier and faster to integrate with a client’s IT infrastructure. The client portal can be customized, and the user can choose the type of data to be displayed.
The Migration Begins
In February 2013, the push to put the QEWS application on the cloud began in earnest. By March 2013, the ISC cloud team was focused firmly on technology questions, such as deciding which cloud infrastructure to select. Some platforms, such as OpenStack, CloudStack, and Cloud Foundry, are gaining popularity, but no single standard has been widely adopted yet. (IBM supports infrastructure as a service (IaaS) on OpenStack and platform as a service (PaaS) on Cloud Foundry.)
The ISC team decided to migrate QEWS to IBM Cloud Managed Services (CMS). The team secured funds from the group’s “Smarter ISC Fund”—leveraging an internal source for financing innovation projects—in order to use the IaaS layer. IBM Cloud Managed Services (CMS) was chosen for several reasons.
CMS includes both the System x (Wintel) and Power System (AIX) IBM servers. The Power System provided for enterprise level application support. And CMS offered software and service options (operating system, middleware including Websphere, installation, andsupport). Crucially, from IBM’s standpoint, CMS can be readily scaled and applied by any company that manufactures and sells physical products, ranging from heavy industrial equipment to medical devices, globally.
That is true for a private cloud environment or for one in a hybrid cloud, shared with other companies. By April, the emphasis had shifted to security. Given the sensitivity of supply chain data, which regularly includes clients’ names and delivery addresses, details of suppliers’ pricing, and terms and conditions, it is easy to understand why ISC executives such as Haye were anxious to confirm that the cloud offering would be secure enough to prevent Client A from seeing Client B’s data or IBM’s own data.
Moreover, QEWS encompasses an abundance of quality performance data and information about supply chain risks. And since QEWS is an enterprise level IBM application, and is therefore tightly integrated with many other company wide operations and processes, the security review required significant work.
IBM has robust policies and practices around information security management, which supply chain applications such as QEWS must comply with globally. Another benefit of using the CMS cloud was that it is compliant with IBM’s stringent corporate requirements for security management.
By September 2013, the ISC team’s activities had begun to pivot toward IT migration—that is, how to actually load the supply chain software into the cloud. The migration of QEWS to CMS took longer than expected; Ward’s team—and the ISC executives—had hoped it would take weeks, but in fact it took several months.
What was not immediately obvious was the difference between applications that are “cloud native”—developed on the cloud—and those that are not. To strengthen the security around QEWS on the cloud, the team accounted for the fact that QEWS was already plumbed in tightly to a wide range of existing data sources.
Cloud computing is a flexible and powerful technology model—one that can quickly eliminate the constraints imposed by traditional computing. The ability to access huge volumes of computing power, to dial up or dial down usage as needed, and to choose between private, public, or hybrid versions of the cloud has shown IBM’s ISC group that the cloud is of real and enduring business value.
ISC’s early forays into harnessing cloud for the supply chain has given its leaders every confidence that the technology model can prove valuable in many other applications beyond QEWS. As such, authors Ward and Gopal and their colleagues began migrating a second application toward the end of 2013—an application that suppliers will be able to access.
Work is well under way to move other ISC applications into the cloud. The ISC cloud team is presently evaluating three other applications to migrate to the cloud, one of which shares QEWS’ development and test environment. This has allowed the team to very quickly provision and dedicate new servers to the new application—in days, not weeks.
The CMS-based infrastructure is now being opened up to the developers of the new application so they can install and test it in the enterprise level cloud environment. Once it has been demonstrated that this second application can run on the cloud, the ISC team can then scale up the platform to put another mission critical application into production on the cloud.
As a result of its efforts, the ISC team has learned a lot in a short time. One important takeaway from the longer than expected migration of QEWS is that ideally, such applications should be built on the cloud in the first placerather than trying to retrofit them onto the IaaS layer.
Another lesson: Cloud deployments can be surprisingly low cost. In 2013, Ward and his team used only 70 percent of the money allocated for the cloud platform.
Another positive surprise: Now that the infrastructure has been installed, it has proved extremely facile to onboard other clients. As noted earlier, the QEWS solution is of practical importance outside of IBM. Since going live, ISC has begun work with major automotiveindustry clients to use QEWS in their manufacturing processes.
The cloud deployment provides a straightforward way for IBM to demonstrate the benefit ts it has realized and it enables clients to quickly use their own data to realize QEWS advantages. A client can rapidly access QEWS online, download its own data, and run its own analysis.
What is perhaps most interesting is the speed with which new applications can be brought online now that the team has properly mapped out the cloud infrastructure. Essentially, new applications can be ported over to the cloud in just a few weeks, whereas the QEWS application took six months to reach that stage.
At the time of this writing, cloud’s element of speed was evident in the ISC group’s entry in an internal competition at IBM. The contest—a fun way to spur excellence in internal communications and to help convey cloud’s proliferation within IBM—involves all of IBM’s cloud teams voting on the best way that such messages are communicated.
The imagery used on the ISC group’s entry—racing aircraft, with the tagline “expect the unexpected—faster with analytics”—amply sums up how cloud computing is helping IBM’s supply chain speed into the future.
August 15, 2018