Tue, Jul
4 New Articles

IBM Partners with Amazon to Make It Easier to Develop SaaS Solutions

Managed Services / SaaS / PaaS / IaaS
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

In a major announcement that follows years of developers' taunting requests to deploy IBM middleware on Amazon's EC2 cloud infrastructure, the companies finally get it done.


In a move intended to make it easier for developers and ISVs to develop SaaS solutions, IBM announced this week that it has agreed to let Amazon Web Services host several major IBM middleware packages in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2.


Developers initially will have access to development instances of IBM DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, WebSphere Portal Server, Lotus Web Content Management, and WebSphere sMash. Also available will be Novell's SUSE Linux operating system. The best part is it's free! At least IBM is not charging for use of the development images; Amazon will charge small registration and usage fees starting at 10 cents per hour per instance of the IBM Development Amazon Machine Images (AMIs).


Full production images of IBM software will be launched as a beta release this year, and the idea is for developers to be able to seamlessly move their SaaS applications from development to production on the Amazon cloud. IBM set no date for when the production instances will be available, but Dave Mitchell, IBM director of strategy and emerging business, IBM Software Group, said in a podcast that it would be coming "in the next few months." These production images can be used by "all developers and customers" for "revenue-generating activities," according to IBM. The production environment will be hosted by Amazon Web Services, a division of Amazon.com. When ready, Amazon will announce the availability of the production images. The price for use of the production software images on EC2 has not yet been established. IBM did say, however, that customers will pay a single hourly charge per instance for the combined IBM software, Novell SUSE Linux operating system, and Amazon EC2 service. Following the production AMIs introduction as a beta service, plans call for offering optional premium support later in the year. The production AMIs must remain on the Amazon EC2 service, however, and developers cannot download them for running in their own environments.


IBM also said that it will introduce new licensing guidelines that will enable customers to run purchased IBM software on the Amazon EC2 cloud as another deployment model. It wasn't immediately evident what software would qualify or what the limitations would be, but the implication was that if you are pleased with the software available on the pay-as-you-go Amazon service, you could purchase it if that were preferable. Also, there are no credits given in switching between deployment models.


Developers can start immediately to use the development instances and, according to Mitchell, can be up and running within a matter of minutes. They can access the development area either through Amazon Web Services or through IBM developerWorks, which is launching a special new space called Cloud Computing for Developers, a focal point for developers to access the development AMIs, resources, and tools to build cloud services. The site will have an extensive collection of user guides, among other support services.


IBM said the announcement fits into its overall cloud strategy by helping ISVs and developers to design, build, deliver, and market cloud services. The other aspects of the company's strategy include delivering its own cloud services portfolio, helping clients integrate cloud services into their businesses, and providing businesses with cloud computing environments.


What does the future with Amazon promise? IBM said that, based on the reception to making the software AMIs available, the plan is for the two companies to "roll out additional development and production AMIs and support options for developers and customers."


"IBM is offering yet another way for our partners and customers to build solutions that can help them meet their business goals," says Mitchell. "This relationship with Amazon Web Services provides our customers with a new way to use IBM software and broadens our distribution channels."


Terry Wise, Amazon Web Services' director of business development, called the approach a "new model for building and deploying applications to companies of all sizes." Extending IBM software to the cloud, where a greater number of businesses can take advantage of its benefits, will show users how reliable, scalable, and cost-efficient the cloud infrastructure actually is, Wise said.


Both companies said the initiative is the result of developers working with both firms clamoring, in effect, for an easy and cost-efficient way to develop SaaS services. Mitchell said he thinks developers will be truly excited by the announcement that will allow more people to develop solutions on IBM middleware.


Marshall Lamb, a senior technical staff member and architect with WebSphere Portal development, whose primary focus on the product has been in the area of deployment and operations, including clustering, large-scale deployments, and performance tuning, said he sees the development as a "huge opportunity to lower cost of ownership of the portal platform." He suggested several ways that developers could leverage a portal in the cloud, including the following:


•                     "Host a demo portal that external users can access with a password.

•                     "Augment your development environment with additional portal test instances.

•                     "Provide customers with a customized portal instance for a trial period before downloading the configuration in-house.

•                     "Host your own Portal/Web Content Management (WCM)-based applications and sites in a Software as a Service delivery model..."


Lamb noted that the images launched in EC2 are fully configured portal/WCM installations that are ready to go. They are HTTP server-enabled, have an installed external DB2 database, are preconfigured with two sample virtual portals, and have enabled "developer mode" so that the start time for WebSphere Portal is speeded up by deferring the start of individual Web applications and portlets until they are requested.


Given the economic conditions and the reluctance that businesses have today to part with any cold, hard cash, we're betting that SaaS-delivered services will accelerate, and developers and ISVs using IBM software soon will have an affordable way to create and deploy them through Amazon Web Services.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Support MC Press Online


Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: