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A New IBM Option for Remote Test Environments

Rob McNelly explains why he's always been an advocate of using test systems.

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I've long been an advocate of using test systems:
“I think every IT pro understands that there’s a huge difference between reading about something and actually doing it. A test box is like a classroom that’s always open and available."
"What do you need a test box for? What don’t you need it for? When a test box is available, programmer/administrator mistakes are learning opportunities rather than lost uptime. Test boxes are where we learn, where we validate, where we get comfortable with the technology. If you ask around, I think you’ll find that the people who excel at their jobs generally have spent considerable time on test systems. Certainly access to test hardware makes for more confident admins."
"Now, if your employer absolutely won’t pay for one, there are other ways to access a test system. IBM has a virtual loaner program available to business partners. With this you can at least logon to the command line of a remote AIX systems. Of course this isn’t the same as having a test box onsite, available whenever you want to play around with it."
For years IBM had what was known as the virtual loaner program (later called the IBM Power Development Cloud), which provided business partners with access to remote access to test environments. While that program was discontinued, now IBM offers a new option for accessing test systems: the Client Experience Centers Cloud (CECC).
The CECC is available at no charge to IBM PartnerWorld members worldwide. Available IBM hardware includes POWER9™ and POWER8® processor-based servers on AIX®, IBM i and Linux operating systems. The CentOS, RHEL, SUSE & Ubuntu Linux distributions can also be accessed. As noted on the CECC main page:

"CECC is intended for Development, Porting and Functional testing only. For any Performance or Scalability testing, users are requested to approach local Client Experience Centers.”
I should add that this program is limited in scope. For instance, it's not possible to do things like tinker with the HMC or VIO server, or do anything at the virtualization layer. But if you're simply looking to access an AIX test environment and play around, this is a viable possibility.
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