- Elastic Scaling – The SCE environment only provides 5 predefined configurations: Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These configurations provide virtual machines that range from 1 CPU and 2 Gig of Ram to 16 CPU and 16 Ram. SCE+ also provides preconfigured systems, but when additional resources are needed they can be requested and added to the system directly. In the case of SCE, a brand new system needs to be provisioned and the existing content needs to be migrated to the new server. This adds additional time to upgrade the system and introduces downtime not required for SCE+.
- AIX Support – The SCE environment doesn’t provide any support for AIX. For Linux or Windows hosted applications this isn’t an issue. If the production system is AIX, then the code developed and tested in SCE will need to be migrated to AIX for production. SCE+ provides the capability to have all of your environments hosted on AIX. This will result in fewer defects introduced into production since like for like environments are used through the entire development lifecycle. This also provides an employee base that is highly skilled on the production system, allowing the reallocation of resources as business needs arise.
- Service Level Agreements (SLA) – The SCE+ environment can have service levels that will guarantee availability from 98.5 percent up to 99.9 percent. The SCE environment does not have any flexibility in the SLAs. The ability to choose your level of availability allows systems to be right sized for the workload of the applications. For systems used for development and testing the lowest levels of availability can be requested. As you deploy to production, systems can be configured based on the application requirements.
- Security - Although SCE does provide a basic security environment for your systems, it doesn’t provide the ongoing support to keep it secure. With SCE+, OS level identity management is provided through integration with the customer’s LDAP server. This service eliminates the need for customers to manage adds and deletes of ids separately. It also ensures that customer id revalidation policies are reflected correctly in the cloud servers. SCE+ also provides patch and health checking of the base OS provisioned. This will ensure that the latest security patches will be applied to your systems in a timely fashion. Keeping the IDs and patches up to date helps reduce the chance of the system being hacked.
- Cost – Finally, it always comes down to cost. The SCE environment can be significantly cheaper then the SCE+ environments. A 4 vCPU / 8 Gig Memory 64 bit virtual machine on SCE will cost about $319 a month while the same configuration on SCE+ is around $566. A savings of 44 percent is significant for those on a tight budget. Keep in mind that the services provided on SCE are not the same as SCE+ so this is not a true apples to apples comparison. If the system is being used for development or test, outages and performance limitations may not be a major concern. In these cases, a SCE solution can make sense. There is not yet a cost estimator for the SCE+. For SCE, this site can be used to determine the exact cost of your environment.
So, now you know how I see the differences between the SCE and SCE+ offerings. What’s in your top five list?