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Blog

IBM Cloud Paks – Ticket to the Cloud for your Enterprise

Keeping up with modern-day needs for business flexibility can be a challenge for traditional on-premise systems.

Approaches to software development such as cloud-native are becoming the new norm. It is a significant shift for IT departments. Sooner or later all IT would be cloud-native, at least in part. So there is no point in ignoring the fact and a need for the Cloud systems.
But, how to get into the cloud? For some, a public cloud would be a solution. For others, especially well-regulated Enterprises, putting something in the public cloud isn’t acceptable. So what are the options? Hybrid cloud, a combination of the on-premise and public offering could be a solution. Stepping into the hybrid cloud it is a matter of time to become a multi-cloud company. For others, only an on-premise cloud solution is an option.
What about technologies that support cloud deployment? Industry has spoken. It is containers and orchestration. It might be that we deployed applications to servers just a few years ago, but this model no longer works in today’s world. Containers foster traceability and DevOps practices. Introducing a cloud-native environment can be time-consuming and require a full-time job for a small team. Enterprises today are lacking to get people skills in time to implement what is needed from the ground up. One might argue that tools and solutions exist in the open-source software. And they would be probably right. Open Containers Initiative (Docker), Kubernetes, ELK, Jakarta EE are all open-source software. But, more often than not, time to establish the infrastructure ready for the Enterprise it is more than one can afford.
Running systems in the production one can’t only rely on the open-source support and internal resources. Sooner or later there might be a roadblock that could not be resolved by people skills available. So realistically, Enterprises need support for the software stack they are running. Ideally support from OEM.

Introducing IBM Cloud Paks

New IBM’s offering, IBM Cloud Pak are a solution for the cloud-enablement of the Enterprises. After acquiring Red Hat, IBM has a strong offering from the OS level to the complex integrations and AI. Red Hat’s Open Shift is a class-leading solution for establishing the Kubernetes environment on-premise. Building on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it is a solution ready for cloud-native development.
IBM Cloud Paks are bringing an additional level of support by easing up establishing software stack. First off, IBM Cloud Paks work hand in hand with Open Shift. They bring standard services such as security, logging, monitoring and auditing out of the box. Cloud Paks removes one set of tasks to solve from Enterprise’s shoulders.
IBM Cloud Paks deliveries as a set of container images. Opposed to available open-source images on Docker Hub, you can trust those images for production usage. They are scanned for known security vulnerabilities as well as updated when any new threats arise. All images are also subject to Red Hat container certification, ensuring that they work without any issues under Open Shift Container Platform.
Currently, there are five IBM Cloud Paks released. They are Cloud Pak for Applications, Automation, Data, Integration, and Multicloud Management.
Cloud Paks are built using existing and new software. If we talk about WebSphere brand it is present for more than 20 years. All the knowledge and work of the last 20 years are now available in the form of a convenient container image. Enterprises shouldn’t underestimate its battle-hardened capabilities for the cloud.

IBM Cloud Pak for Applications

With Cloud Pak for Applications, IBM is introducing something new. Born as an open-source framework (first for IBM software), Kabanero (https://kabanero.io/) is tackling the pressing issue in the new microservices world. The issue addressed is integrating development workflow by enabling architects to enforce system architecture. Through Kabanero Collections developers can focus more on business logic rather than worrying about container image creation. In today’s world, we have too many options when it comes to building services so having more control should be welcomed by all parties. But Kabanero doesn’t end there; it provides tools from the developer environment to the runtime environment. For development support there is Codewind. Codewind is available as either an Eclipse or VS Code extension.
For DevOps there is Appsody as command-line tool to interact with the container stack. Tekton builds the projects, and the Operator Framework deploys it. They are all open-source projects. You can start using Kabanero Foundation for free with community version of OpenShift, OKD 3.11. When you are ready for production IBM is offering supported runtimes ranging from IBM WebSphere to Wildfly as paid version Cloud Pak for Applications.
Cloud Paks acknowledge that not every application will be cloud-native. To make this step more gradual, clients can convert their existing licenses into a Cloud Pak license. By doing this they are eligible to run existing software as they are now. At the same time, they get a license to an unrestricted OpenShift installation (applicable only for Cloud Pak for Applications). With that, they have support to continue the journey of modernization of existing applications. IBM’s motto here is “what you need today; what you need tomorrow.”
With Transformation Advisor and WAS Migration Toolkit, clients can get a clearer picture of what steps are needed to get into the world of tomorrow.
We are under three months to the 1st decade of the 2020s. Do you want to leave your system in the state that was state-of-the-art 20 years ago? IBM is bringing clients the help needed to leap into modern architecture systems.

IBM Cloud Pak for Integration

When it comes to integration with existing systems, Cloud Pak for Integration provides all the needed products. For integrating with existing systems, you might find App Connect Enterprise (ACE) as the best tool for the job. Build on top of a legacy of IBM Integration Bus it is a product best suited for implementing agile integrations. As part of the modernization project, you would most likely need to have an API layer. Having all the data and knowledge of the backend system conveniently available is a great thing. But we need to think about access management. And this is where API Connect comes in. Integrated with ACE it enables quick and manageable exposure of APIs.  Provisioning of those services is done using the same UI, keeping the UX on a high level, and lowers cognitive load on the end-user. It is nice to know that IBM made significant efforts to make tasks easier for the end-user.  Beside above-mentioned tools available are IBM MQ, IBM Event Streams (Kafka) and IBM Aspera.

IBM Cloud Pak for Automation

Some systems do not require human intervention while processing tasks. Others do. In those cases, IBM Cloud Pak for Automation brings a set of integrated tools to create, run and monitor automated workflows. The golden rule of automation is that everything that can be automated should be automated. With the help of integrated products like Business Automation Workflow and IBM ODM clients can automate tasks and decisions while executing workflows to achieve a 360-degree view of the current statuses through rich analytics and business process measurement.  Documents as a support for some critical business processes are not forgotten; for those use cases clients can use FileNet Content Manager and Enterprise Records products.

IBM Cloud Pak for Data

In the microservices world, data is rarely centralized. In most cases, it comes from diverse sources. IBM Cloud Pak for Data enables the client to collect, organize, and analyze data. Products like InfoSphere DataStage and Cognos Analytics are well known for their capabilities to extract and analyze existing data. With the help of Watson AI, your data scientists will have all the tools your enterprise needs to make well-informed decisions.

IBM Cloud Pak for Multi-cloud Management

As part of the modernization, journey Enterprises will grow their private and public clouds. To have visibility, governance, and automation across multiple clouds IBM provides Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management. Imagine your typical solution that will have components deployed in various clouds. How will you know that all parts are operational? When some components fail you can imagine that it will be challenging to find the culprit. With Multicloud Management you can create a single dashboard that will monitor not only operational health but also are applications running under needed compliance level.

This blog was a short introduction to IBM Cloud Paks. For more information visit official IBM Cloud Paks Page or contact us.

IBM Cloud Paks Takeaways

Today 80% of the IT workload is still based on traditional models. IBM Cloud Paks recognize this by enabling clients to transfer the software licenses to new and modern offerings but still run existing software. As clients are ready, IBM Cloud Paks will allow for a more natural migration into cloud-native era. Cloud-native is here and ready, are you?

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