Top five differences between SmartCloud Enterprise and SmartCloud Enterprise+

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Are you confused about the differences between SCE and SCE+?  There are many differences between the offerings, but here are the top five differences that most affect me.

  1. 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+.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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Comments: 11
David Cox

About David Cox

David Cox is a Certified IT Specialist and holds both the IBM Certified Solution Advisor Cloud Computing Architecture V1 and IT Specialist certifications. He is currently working on a project to identify the best uses for his organization to use the cloud. He is based in the Chicago area.
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11 Responses to Top five differences between SmartCloud Enterprise and SmartCloud Enterprise+

  1. schoutene says:

    Hi David,

    Nice overview, though not always fully accurate in my perception.
    1. Elastic scaling is automated scaling by definition. Your point however is about the ability of SCE+ to add additional vCPU and/or RAM which is done manually via the portal.
    3. SCE has an SLA of 99.9%, similar to the highest SLA level of SCE+. The main difference however is what you get for the SLA, with SCE you get a managed hypervisor which gives you full freedom from the operating system up. With SCE+ you get a managed operating system including security patching as mentioned in point four.
    5. Is about price, not cost. It is true that there is a difference in price, though it is something different you get as mentioned above. Managed or unmanaged OS, anti-virus included or not, load balancing and firewall options standard or not, backup service included or not and so on.

    The intention, and therefore strength, of both IaaS offering is different. SCE is build around cloud-centric applications which require high flexibility and short provisioning times. High availability is build into the application or not required. SCE+ is build for cloud-enabled applications, mostly large companies that want to migrate to the cloud while relying on infrastructure availability and ITIL processes.

  2. David Cox David Cox says:

    Thanks for the feedback, it's always good to other perspectives.
    For the elasticity, I take the definition as being both manual and automtic scaling. I was specificly talking about manual scaling. There are a lot of different cloud definitions out there, but I like to refer to the NIST standard.
    The NIST definition http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-14
    Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.

    For points 3 and 5, yes it is hard to compare the two since SCE+ offers more capabilities. For those customers that price/cost is the primary factor there is a difference between the two.

  3. Venky says:

    Hi David Cox,

    Its informative & seems that you are interactive – nice.

    With Regards
    Venkatesapalani Thangavelu.

  4. @undefined says:

    The Key is what Edwin states here:

    "The intention, and therefore strength, of both IaaS offering is different. SCE is build around cloud-centric applications which require high flexibility and short provisioning times. High availability is build into the application or not required. SCE+ is build for cloud-enabled applications, mostly large companies that want to migrate to the cloud while relying on infrastructure availability and ITIL processes.
    "

    Couldn't have say it better

  5. Jim Sanders says:

    I would add the the SmartCloud Application Services capability coming to SCE which adds true automatic horizontal scaling, patterns, monitoring etc. I like the ability to have a private catalog in SCE. I also like the integration of Object Storage into SCE and the low VPN cost per month. I think the pricing difference is a little greater than you suggest as well.

    In essence SCE+ offers much more capability for stable production environments (I agree that vertical scaling is easier in SCE+ (adding CPU and memory)), while SCE seems preferable for the more variable environments that come with test and development and a pricing model that matches well for less sensitive production environments.

  6. David Cox David Cox says:

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, the ability to have a private catalog on SCE is a key feature. It is actually one of reasons our organization is sticking with SCE over SCE+.

    Do you have any additional information on dates when the SmartCloud Application Services capability would be available in SCE?

  7. schoutene says:

    Just posted, a Business perspective on the differences between IBM SmartCloud Enterprise and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise+: http://thoughtsoncloud.com/index.php/2013/01/diff

  8. The objective, and therefore durability, of both IaaS providing is different. SCE is develop around cloud-centric programs which need great versatility and brief provisioning times. High accessibility is develop into the program or not needed. SCE+ is develop for cloud-enabled programs, mostly huge organizations that want to move to the reasoning while depending on facilities accessibility and ITIL procedures.

  9. 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.

  10. ay webtech says:

    The purpose, and therefore strength, of both IaaS offering is different. SCE is create around cloud-centric applications which need great flexibility and brief provisioning periods. Great availability is become the system or not required. SCE+ is create for cloud-enabled applications, mostly large companies that want to shift to the thinking while based on features availability and ITIL techniques.

  11. Itamar says:

    What are the top five differences between SoftLayer and SmartCloud Enterprise+?

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