IBM Innovation Center in Moscow and Red Hat Provide Virtual Access to Research and Testing

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July 10, 2013

The IBM Innovation Center in Moscow wanted ISV users to be able to remotely access integration, validation, and performance-testing facilities.

Customer: Innovation Center Leader, IBM Russia

“The enormous savings in infrastructure implementation time means that we are able to serve our partners more efficiently. It frees our engineers to provide more complete support for our partners in other parts of the organization." - Taras Ablamsky IBM Innovation Center Leader, IBM Russia

Red Hat Business Partner: IBM
Geography: EMEA
Country: Russia


Business Challenge:

The IBM Innovation Center in Moscow wanted ISV users to be able to remotely access integration, validation, and performance-testing facilities.

Software:

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers and Desktops bundeled with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager, Red Hat IPA (Identity Management)

Hardware:

IBM® BladeCenter® S chassis, IBM BladeCenter servers, IBM System x® 3650 class servers, IBM Storwize® V7000

Benefits:

Red Hat IPA helps the Center audit user activities using an easy to install and manage package. Red Hat IPA provides IBM partners with single sign-on capability, high availability directory service, and an access control framework. The solution was built with interoperability in mind, so it is easy to integrate with existing tools and eliminates proprietary software lock-in.

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Background:

The IBM Innovation Center encourages IBM partners to build, market, and sell their solutions with online, remote, and face-to-face training and assistance. Partners use the Center to port and test solutions, close deals with their clients, and collaborate with IBM, business partners, academic leaders, IT professionals, and entrepreneurs. The IBM Innovation Center offers resources including technical expertise, marketing, sales facilities, engineering know-how, and IBM hardware and software. Along with Red Hat, IBM is a founding and governing member of the Open Virtualization Alliance. The Open Virtualization Alliance fosters the adoption of KVM as an open virtualization alternative, by increasing overall awareness and understanding of KVM, nurturing an ecosystem of third party solutions around KVM and by promoting best practices and customer successes.

Business Challenge:

Legacy platform was insecure and costly

The IBM Innovation Center in Moscow wanted ISV users to be able to remotely access integration, validation, and performance-testing facilities. In a country the size of Russia, the ability to offer secure and reliable remote access greatly improves the reach of facilities such as the IBM Innovation Center. The organization had some virtual desktops, servers, and infrastructure from other vendors before implementing Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization®. However, the existing solutions didn’t provide the security and control that the IBM Innovation Center required.

ISVs need testing facilities with dedicated infrastructure—servers and software platforms—to test their own projects. With the Center’s previous solution, installing infrastructure for individual local projects required a team of three technical engineers and about a week of infrastructure installation. With a dedicated infrastructure in place, ISVs can be up and running faster with less ongoing operational cost. It also means that the team previously installing infrastructure on a case-by-case basis is now free to deliver value elsewhere.

Solution:

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization meets specific requirements

The IBM Innovation Center sought a scalable, open source, low-cost virtualization solution. Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and Red Hat IPA were implemented over the span of seven months. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat IPA were the optimal choice for a variety of reasons. First, Red Hat and IBM are global partners, so they understand one another’s capabilities and can leverage existing professional relationships. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization contains great virtual desktop infrastructure capabilities which can be applied without modifying the network infrastructure. Choosing a Linux-based solution also takes advantage of significant in-house knowledge, since IBM employs many experienced Linux engineers. Finally, the choice of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization helps circumvent any potential future vendor lock-in issues. The Center is using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization internally, in ISV projects and for demonstration purposes.

Red Hat Enterprise IPA is an open source identity and access management solution that centrally manages identity, policy and audits for users, machines and services in a Linux environment. It is used to authenticate and authorize users to access and modify system data or services and provides secure virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) access to its partners.

There are two data centers in total. The first one, featuring three BladeCenter servers in the cluster, is for management purposes. The second cluster, featuring five BladeCenter 2 sockets x 6 cores servers with 128Gb RAM per server, is for projects. In terms of storage, the IBM Innovation Center uses the IBM Storwize V7000 which has 1TB of memory available for the management cluster and 5TB for projects. Capacity can grow up to 8TB. Furthermore, Storwize can virtualize other storage systems online. The system runs on a 1GB network with 30MB bandwidth for internal purposes.

The number of servers in use depends on the number of active projects. The IBM Innovation Center has four permanent servers in the management clusters, all of which run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Partners can use any operating system. The number of virtual desktops also depends on the number of active projects so could vary from 10 to 50 virtual desktops. The end point devices are the partners’ PCs.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is easy to install and use, and is fully supported. The flexibility of the Red Hat solution enables entire system function deployments to be scaled dynamically with automated, one-button deployment, system backup and restoration, system security reinforcement, system monitoring, and alarming. The IBM Innovation Center often uses live migration due to the nature of the dynamic infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization reports are also used for monitoring and planning. REST API is widely used for automatic deployment of new projects (VLANs, VMs, storage).

Allocating new virtual servers and facilitating the allocation of compute resources for new ISV applications is very straightforward. An engineer can write a dedicated REST-API python application and create new Linux-based project in just 20 minutes.

Benefits:

Reliable, cost-effective, and secure

Red Hat IPA helps the Center audit user activities using an easy to install and manage package. Red Hat IPA provides IBM partners with single sign-on capability, high availability directory service, and an access control framework. The solution was built with interoperability in mind, so it is easy to integrate with existing tools and eliminates proprietary software lock-in.

The Center has seen time-saving benefits as a result of implementing Red Hat solutions. Following the deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and the Red Hat API, setting up a testing environment for a partner now only takes one engineer about 20 minutes rather than taking three engineers approximately one week.

“The enormous savings in infrastructure implementation time means that we are able to serve our partners more efficiently. It frees our engineers to provide more complete support for our partners in other parts of the organization,” said Taras Ablamsky, IBM Innovation Center Leader, IBM Russia.
Being a Red Hat partner as well as customer means that Red Hat can access IBM’s infrastructure and can demonstrate Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to other Red Hat customers, creating a collaborative, knowledge-sharing community.

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