If enterprises are going to be building their own service-oriented IT systems for private cloud-type deployments, they need to have a supportive environment with the right tools and plenty of bandwidth to do the testing and quality assurance the right way.
Enter IBM, which is in the process of expanding its cloud development services to do just that.
IBM on Oct. 21 announced that it is retooling its Smart Business Development & Test package on the IBM Cloud to add new support for Windows and other enhancements to better serve teams of software developers.
IBM also introduced a new integrated development and test environment to go with new software and services designed to enable developers to improve quality of their work and shorten development timelines across the application life cycle.
The IBM Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud, announced last year but put into action last spring in a partnership with Red Hat, allows enterprise clients to improve internal development and test processes with instant access to resources through IBM's scalable cloud delivery model.
IBM has 10 high-performance data centers in operation on five continents set up to handle the workloads.
'We're moving what we call the Compute Cloud internally [which is the Smart Business Development & Test package on the IBM Cloud] forward first by providing a wider range of cloud delivery centers globally, in addition to adding new functionality," IBM Cloud Computing CTO Kristof Kloeckner told eWEEK.
"In addition to our two Linux environments, we are now offering the ability to provision Windows Data Center Servers 2003 and 2008. Clients had been asking us for that," Kloeckner said. "We also are adding the ability to do load-balancing through attaching multiple IP addresses, the ability to attach multiple disk volumes, and so on."
Several new features now available
Other new features include the ability to rapidly configure environments and easily share them across development teams and the ability to attach combinations of storage sizes to an instance at the time of provisioning, ensuring higher performance and resiliency, Kloeckner said.
There's no question that cloud-based applications are drawing huge interest in the development community.
"We have customers that say they want to test and use their applications in a shared cloud environment, and then [eventually] bring them back into the enterprise," Kloeckner said.
"They want to use the cloud as sandbox, because that gives you ease of access and also enforces a certain discipline because you have to fit into a shared, standardized environment."
Kloeckner said that more and more CIOs he talks to want to use the cloud as a "transformation tool. Much of what they want to achieve is through greater standardization of environments, of tools, of processes," he said.
"What we're now offering [with these enhancements to the cloud dev platform] are the execution of these processes that the customers are actually after," Kloeckner said.
IBM is putting its development cloud into a sort of "cadence," Kloeckner said. "We shipped v1.1 back in August, v1.2 in October, we're going to follow very shortly with v1.3, but you'll see the steady evolution in more comprehensive test and development services," he said.
A recent IBM survey of 2,000 IT professionals worldwide -- backed up by studies from Gartner and Forrester -- reported that cloud computing and mobile will emerge as the most in-demand platforms for software application development and IT delivery over the next five years.