Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Linux Containers, IBM Cloud, @CloudExpo

Linux Containers: Article

IBM & Cloud Computing: Self-Service Clouds with Fine-Grained Control

WebSphere CloudBurst provides self-service access with controls

A common feature of cloud computing solutions is that they enable self-service access to the services they provide. This enables users to directly procure services from the cloud, and it eliminates the need for more time-consuming, labor-intensive, human-driven procurement processes familiar to many in IT. 

That's not to say that a cloud computing solution should provide its services in a free-for-all manner, letting any user take any action within the system. There should be strict controls over the services users have access to and the actions they can perform with those services. This is the only way to ensure that such solutions can actually stand up to the rigors of an enterprise environment.

That being said, the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance strikes a nice balance between self-service access and security. This balance enables WebSphere CloudBurst users to perform the actions to which they are authorized with the services to which they are authorized.

WebSphere CloudBurst provides this capability by allowing for the definition of users of the system. Each user defined within the WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance has from one to five of the following permission roles:

  1. Permission to deploy a pattern to the cloud: A pattern is a virtualized WebSphere application environment.
  2. Permission to create a pattern
  3. Permission to manage components in the catalog: The WebSphere CloudBurst catalog contains virtual images, scripts, and other artifacts used to create and  maintain  WebSphere virtual systems in a cloud.
  4. Permission to administer the cloud
  5. Permission to administer the appliance

These permissions align nicely with typical organizational IT roles. For instance, members of a team responsible for middleware environments may have the ability to both create and deploy patterns while members of a team responsible for operating system environments would have the ability to manage components in the catalog (the virtual images in the catalog contain a customizable operating system environment).

In addition to defining users with associated sets of permissions, WebSphere CloudBurst also brings with it a notion of fine-grained access controls. For each resource within WebSphere CloudBurst, such as a virtual image, script package, WebSphere pattern, or WebSphere virtual system, there is associated information about which users have access to that resource. In addition, when appropriate there are associated permissions about what level of access a particular user has to the resource (i.e. read, read-write, etc.).

This fine-grained access model is helpful in many situations in a typical enterprise. Consider the case that the middleware team has created a WebSphere pattern that was only meant to run in production environments due to the amount of resource it requires. In order to prevent a test or development user from deploying this pattern to a test cloud (in WebSphere CloudBurst all users have at least the permission to deploy patterns they have access to), the middleware team could leave the test and development users off of the list of users who have access to see the pattern. When a test or development user logs into the appliance and navigates to the page that contains WebSphere patterns, they will not see this production pattern since they were not granted access.

It's understandable why self-service access is such a popular feature of cloud computing solutions. Providing access so users can provision the resources they need without involving numerous other parties means greater efficiency within the organization. However, this access must be tempered with the right security and access control capabilities. The WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance enables self-service access without compromising these important capabilities.

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 Cloud Computing Blogger for IT Integrators" by CRN (2015). Mr. Jackson's professional career includes service in the US Navy Space Systems Command, Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and NJVC Vice President, Cloud Services. He is currently part of a team responsible for onboarding mission applications to the US Intelligence Community cloud computing environment (IC ...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight and has been quoted or published in Time, CIO, Computerworld, USA Today and Forbes.
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the massive amount of information associated with these devices. Ed presented sought out sessions at CloudEXPO Silicon Valley 2017 and CloudEXPO New York 2017. He is a regular contributor to Cloud Computing Journal.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by sharing information within the building and with outside city infrastructure via real time shared cloud capabilities.
They say multi-cloud is coming, but organizations are leveraging multiple clouds already. According to a study by 451 Research, only 21% of organizations were using a single cloud. If you've found yourself unprepared for the barrage of cloud services introduced in your organization, you will need to change your approach to engaging with the business and engaging with vendors. Look at technologies that are on the way and work with the internal players involved to have a plan in place when the inevitable happens and the business begins to look at how these things can help affect your bottom line.