Tuesday, March 22, 2011

State of DB2 in the Cloud, March 2011

Unlike many of its competitors, DB2 is fully supported in virtualized environments. Since every cloud is built upon virtualization, this means that DB2 is automatically supported when running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM Development & Test Cloud, even in unofficial images.

One interesting aspect of this is that, if you fill out the free redistribution form, you can create cloud images that bundle the free DB2 Express-C database with your company's software without paying a dime to IBM. At any time, you can then upgrade to the DB2 Express edition and get IBM support for your custom bundle.
Hypervisors

Amazon EC2 uses Xen as its hypervisor, while IBM Cloud uses KVM. Hypervisor is industry jargon for the component which sits on top of physical hardware and manages hardware access for virtual machines. There are many other hypervisor technologies, of which VMWare ESX is a popular one.

Because all editions of DB2 support virtualization, there's no need for any sort of hypervisor edition for DB2.

Public vs private

Amazon EC2 and IBM Cloud are public clouds. That is, you use them to provision virtual servers which are then accessible over the internet. However, internet access can be a big security no-no. In such cases, it's often preferable to set up a private cloud internal to your organization.

A quick way to set up a private cloud is to use WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance. WCA is not a hypervisor -- rather, it is a vending machine full of thoroughly tested virtual machine templates preloaded with IBM products that lets you deploy and manage groups of virtual machines to your existing VMWare ESX or PowerVM hypervisors.

Automation

Cloud computing takes the idea of virtualization and automates as much of it as possible. This creates the illusion of infinite resources. As described above, WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance creates a public cloud by providing automation for your existing infrastructure.

There are ways to automate things further. For example, RightScale is a free service that automates Amazon Web Services and other cloud providers. It provides a convenient interface to coordinate deployments, run scripts, or exactly duplicate deployments of multiple machines. My team has built several DB2 templates targeting RightScale.

Alpha

An alpha of the next version of DB2 is available in the cloud today. Once approved, it takes just five minutes to get your own dedicated DB2 machine up and running.


Cheers,

Leons Petrazickis
DB2 Community Team

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