IBM often lead in technology areas and with the history of LPAR on the mainframe they've got a background in virtualisation that most competitors would envy. So clearly with cloud they are going to go after it. Sometimes they'll do what they did with SOA and tag a (IMO) dog of a product with the new buzzword (MQSI = Advanced ESB - I'm looking at you) and other times they will actually do something right.
Now a product that can handle the deploy and manage instances sounds like a good idea. IBM have created just such a product which basically acts as a dispenser and manager for WebSphere Hypervisor edition images. The WebSphere Cloudburst Appliance will deploy, it will reclaim, it will monitor and it will manage. Very nice for people who have large WebSphere estates.
And this is what the product looks like
Yes I did say look like because IBM have built this cloud manager into a physical box. Now appliances for things that need dedicated hardware acceleration I understand, but why on earth is something that is about managing virtual machines, something that might be doing bugger all for large periods of time not in itself a virtual image?
Given that the manager is unlikely to be a major CPU hog it seems like an ideal thing to be lobbed into the cloud itself (yes I know its not really a cloud, but lets go with the marketing people for now, they've made a bigger mistake here IMO). If it was in the cloud then you could add redundancy much more easily and of course it would require its own dedicated rackspace and power.
Like I said I can understand why you might like a virtual machine to do what the CloudBurst appliance does, but I have no idea why you would want a dedicated physical machine to work on a low CPU task. As IBM expand this technology into DB2 and other WebSphere elements you could end up with 20 "Cloudburst" appliances managing and deploying to a single private cloud. How much better for these to be cloud appliances in the truest sense and to be virtualised within the cloud infrastructure itself.
A physical box to deploy virtual images makes no sense at all.