Environment profiles: The glue between system configuration and pattern deployers

Because of its computing, networking and storage capabilities, IBM PureApplication System is often referred to as a cloud on a rack. The system exhibits a number of cloud computing characteristics, such as workload and resource isolation, dynamic assignment of resources (sharing) and allocation of shared resources.

The system is complex and requires specialized knowledge in certain areas. A dedicated team is needed to configure the system, create workloads, deploy workloads, maintain workloads and maintain the system. It is common for one person to fill more than one role, but in general five roles (Figure 1) are needed to configure and manage PureApplication System. Environment profiles are the common thread among these tasks, roles and system resources.

Two roles work with the non-workload or system side of the PureApplication System. These roles use the system console to perform their tasks.

  1. Systems “configurers” are responsible for creating cloud groups, IP groups and user groups.
  2. System operations personnel are responsible for maintaining the hardware, firmware and resources that are created by the systems configurers.

Three user roles generally work with patterns and instances in PureApplication System. These roles use the workload console to perform their tasks.

  1. Pattern developers develop patterns (virtual system patterns and virtual application patterns).
  2. Pattern deployers customize patterns and deploy them into runtime environments.
  3. Environment profile developers create environment profiles. Environment profiles are the “glue” between the system configuration and pattern deployers.


Figure 1

What is in an environment profile and why is it the glue between system configuration and pattern deployers? An environment profile is essentially a policy for pattern deployment to one or more compute nodes. To understand this concept further, look inside an environment profile. There are five key areas to consider (Figure 2):

  1. IP address assignment from the IP group.
  2. Deployment priority for resolving resource contention.
  3. Deployment target for patterns, including IP groups.
  4. Resource limitations, such as processor, memory, storage and license PVUs.
  5. User groups that can access the environment profile to deploy patterns.


Figure 2

There is a definite relationship between a cloud group, IP group and compute. In this example, the edu_envprofile can deploy patterns to the edu_cloudgroup (Figure 3). All deployments run on the compute node noted by the rack, chassis and bay information.

The edu­_cloudgroup shown here is a logical computer that contains one compute node and the edu_ipgroup. This cloud group and other cloud groups divide the system into isolated “logical” computers. You can also think of cloud groups as “mini clouds” within the PureApplication System.


Figure 3

The edu_ipgroup (Figure 4) uses a shared pool of IP addresses. Each IP address can be in only one IP group. Deploying a pattern assigns one or more addresses from the pool.


Figure 4

How does this help you to understand the relationship between pattern deployers, system configuration and environment profile creators? The system configuration is composed of cloud resources such as IP groups, cloud groups and user groups. This configuration is done soon after the system is brought into the data center for initial system configuration. System configurers create definitions of these pooled resources with guidance from network administrators and system operations.

Once this work is accomplished, the system is ready to accept workloads (deployed patterns). However, an important configuration piece is still missing. That missing piece is the environment profile. A critical step in the deployment process for the pattern deployer is the selection of the environment profile (Figure 5).


Figure 5

The environment profile brings together the system configuration (IP groups, cloud groups and user groups) and pattern deployer. When a pattern is created, the pattern creator has no knowledge of where the pattern might be deployed. The pattern creator assumes that at deployment time, a suitable environment is available. The pattern deployer must specify where the pattern is deployed by selecting an environment profile. Without the environment profile, the deployer cannot deploy a pattern.

For any combination of a user group, an environment profile and a cloud group, these statements are true:

  • The user group specifies which users can use the environment profile to deploy patterns.
  • The environment profile specifies that the users can deploy patterns to the cloud group.
  • The cloud group specifies the hardware (for example, compute nodes and IP groups) on which the deployed patterns (pattern instances) run.

For more information on environment profiles and other cloud resources, refer to Bobby Wolff’s developerWorks article: Managing application runtime environments in IBM PureApplication System. Follow me on Twitter @agoering.

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Addison Goering

About Addison Goering

Addison Goering is a Certified IT Specialist with the WebSphere Education team. His main specialty is the design, development, and delivery of courses in the WebSphere product family. He has developed and delivered courses ranging from webinars to week-long workshops on products such as WebSphere ESB, IBM Workload Deployer, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Business Services Fabric, and WebSphere BPM. He is the lead developer on the WebSphere Education team that is developing education on IBM PureApplication System. Addison holds a B.S. in education from Keene State College in New Hampshire, mainframe certification from DePaul University in Chicago, and several certifications from IBM. He is the father of five children and plays as much golf as possible in between shuttling children.
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