Blue Box

IBM Blue Box // FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

IBM Blue Box

Why would I choose Blue Box over a public cloud option or building it myself?

Choose Blue Box if one or more of these apply to your business:

  • You need to focus on application development instead of infrastructure management
  • Public cloud isn’t fulfilling your requirements surrounding regulatory compliance and/or data protection and data sovereignty
  • You have concerns regarding performance that public clouds can’t solve
  • You desire to leverage OpenStack technology without having to architect, build and manage the infrastructure

Does Blue Box always run the most recent OpenStack release?

Blue Box currently deploys the Mitaka release. As new OpenStack releases are made available, we test, validate and then upgrade each Blue Box cloud to provide access to the latest OpenStack capabilities.

Who manages OpenStack upgrades and performs periodic vulnerability scans on the cloud?

Blue Box manages all upgrades and security patching of hypervisors and OpenStack software. Blue Box will work with the customer to schedule maintenance windows for infrastructure upgrades and patches. At a customer’s request, we can even live migrate compatible VMs so that the maintenance window incurs minimal downtime. Blue Box performs vulnerability scans as a part of the initial cloud deployment and quarterly thereafter. Internet accessible services such as Horizon and OpenStack API endpoints are scanned weekly.

Which OpenStack services and APIs are supported?

Block Storage (Cinder) Supported, API v2.0
Compute (Nova) Supported, API v2.0
Identity (Keystone) Supported, API v3.0
Image Service (Glance) Supported, API v2.0
Networking (Neutron with LBaaS) Supported, API v2.0
Object Storage (Swift) Supported, API v1.0
Orchestration (Heat) Supported, API v2.0
Telemetry (Ceilometer) Supported, v2.0
Dashboard (Horizon) Supported, 2015.1

What open technologies are used to power Block and Object storage?

Blue Box uses Ceph for Block Storage and OpenStack Swift for Object Storage.

Is the Blue Box architecture and reference architecture highly available?

Yes. Blue Box leverages pairs of firewalls and OpenStack controllers for security and service availability. Storage local to compute nodes is configured in RAID sets, where Block and Object storage solutions are configured to distribute multiple replicas of data across infrastructure to maximize data durability.

Can I deploy a hybrid cloud by using IBM Blue Box Local and Dedicated in combination?

Absolutely! IBM Blue Box Local and Dedicated use identical software stacks (OpenStack, Linux, Ceph, Swift, etc.) that are 100% compatible. They also share the same reference architecture and deployment tools. Both of these factors enable hybrid clouds by allowing applications and workloads to share and migrate between Blue Box Local and Dedicated clouds.

Where can I learn more about OpenStack?

You can learn more about OpenStack at the community website. Also, check out the OpenStack Foundation’s Superuser publication to see how companies in various industries are using OpenStack.

How do I order?

You can reach the Blue Box team here.

IBM Blue Box Dedicated

What is IBM Blue Box Dedicated?

IBM Blue Box Dedicated is private cloud as a service (PCaaS) solution for organizations that demand the security and control of a private cloud with the ease of use of a public cloud. Powered by OpenStack, quick to deploy, highly flexible and fully scalable, Blue Box Dedicated offers a simple and flexible monthly price that is inclusive of all equipment, management, and 24/7 Support. Finally, when multiple Blue Box Dedicated clouds are deployed in different data centers, customers can take advantage of the unmetered SoftLayer high-speed backbone to communicate between those Dedicated clouds. Get started in an IBM Cloud data center near you.

What value does the customer get with IBM Blue Box Dedicated?

Customers use IBM Blue Box Dedicated to combine the performance and cost management benefits of private cloud with the ease of provisioning and operations support of public cloud. It offers a single management tool for OpenStack-based private clouds, regardless of location, bringing greater simplicity and consistency to the operation of public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructure globally.

What is the IBM Blue Box Dedicated price?

IBM Blue Box Dedicated has a simple and flexible monthly price that is inclusive of all OpenStack services, infrastructure, management, and 24/7 Support. More pricing information is available here.

How long does it take to get my private cloud service up and running?

Our dedicated, single-tenant private cloud deployments can be deployed in less than a week. The sooner you express interest, the sooner we can set you up.

What does the minimum base cluster include?

Three dedicated physical nodes with dedicated highly available firewalls and provides cloud capacity as follows:

  • 88 compute cores
  • 378 GB RAM
  • 3.5 TB* disk


What other add-ons are available?

You can add Hybrid or SSD-based Block Storage, Object Storage, or mix and match Compute Node types to optimize for your workloads. More information about the optional add-ons can be found here.

Can I scale my deployment up AND down?

Yes! That’s a core reason why IBM Blue Box Dedicated offers a month-to-month option. Additional capacity can be both added and removed on a month-to-month basis.

How do I securely connect workloads on IBM Blue Box Dedicated?

There are multiple secure connectivity options. First is via the use of a VPN connection (IPSec or OpenVPN) or for additional security, leverage Direct Link which is a dedicated high-speed private network that bypasses the public Internet.

Can I customize IBM Blue Box Dedicated?

Yes. IBM Blue Box Dedicated provides a variety of customization options such as different capacity compute nodes; OpenStack controllers that can be separated so that the control plane is fully isolated; access method to the cloud (public, VPN or Direct Link); bring your own (BYO) IP addresses; BYO guest images and licenses; and CPU oversubscription.

Other Hosted Private Clouds are available month-to-month. How is this different?

IBM Blue Box Dedicated is singularly designed for production deployment at scale. Unlike other “try before you buy” options from companies selling distros and deployment consulting, IBM Blue Box is the only choice that delivers production-grade PCaaS, powered by OpenStack and available in convenient monthly billing increments. Since Blue Box Dedicated are deployed in IBM Cloud data centers world wide, they can leverage advanced services such as Direct Link and the unmetered high-speed backbone.

Blue Box Dedicated for Healthcare Workloads Governed by HIPAA

What Is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) specify U.S. government requirements for the security and privacy of protected health information (PHI).

Can I host HIPAA regulated workloads on Blue Box Dedicated and/or Local?

Yes, Blue Box Dedicated and Local can host HIPAA regulated workloads. In order to host HIPAA-regulated workloads, Blue Box Dedicated Controllers must be deployed. There are also additional monthly fees to enable extra services to help customers meet security and privacy PHI requirements.

What is the scope of services performed to support hosting HIPAA regulated workloads?

The following table is a summary of the services performed to support hosting HIPAA regulated workloads on Blue Box Dedicated and Local:

HIPAA Compliance Support Description  Dedicated Responsibility  Local Responsibility
Business Associate Agreements (BAA) Sign BAA agreement governing access to PHI Client and IBM Client and IBM
Vulnerability Scanning & Server Hardening Perform server OS patching, scanning, and hardening of Infrastructure IBM IBM
Data Encryption for Data in Motion Encryption of PHI data when in transit IBM IBM
Activity Review for Infrastructure Regular review of system activity, logs, and audit trails IBM IBM
Risk Management Provide a compliance framework to assess risk and mitigate on a regular basis for Infrastructure IBM IBM
Media Disposal & Media Re-Use PHI disposal and/or media re-use of hardware and maintains records IBM IBM
IBM Two-factor Authentication Control of user access and verifies person seeking access to system with PHI is one claimed IBM IBM
Facility Access Implements contingency operations, a security plan, provides access and validation procedures, and maintains records IBM CLIENT
User Access Controls Administers unique ID management, emergency access procedures, and automatic logoff of users IBM IBM and client
Employee Oversight Controls Train and follow onboarding/off boarding procedures, and administer password and login management of IBM management/administrative users IBM IBM and client
IBM Workstation Security Implement access control, control safeguards, session timeouts, and encryption of workstations IBM IBM and client

How do I get started with running HIPAA regulated workloads on Blue Box Dedicated?

An IBM Business Associate Agreement (BAA) must be signed between the Client and IBM to get started. Blue Box will then work with you to solution your Blue Box Dedicated and/or Local cloud to support your capacity and workload needs. The same compute, storage and networking options that can be used to build your Blue Box Dedicated or Local cloud will host HIPAA-regulated workloads.


Why Blue Box?
Month-to-month flexibility. Deployment scalability. Ridiculously rapid turn time.

Need we say more?