Deploying servers inside of IBM is fairly easy. It normally consists of finding an old Thinkpad or desktop machine, sticking it under your desk and finding a long enough ethernet cable to reach from the network port across the far side of the office. My trusty 5 year old IBM desktop has happily been running several demos and prototypes over the years. It’s surprising how many people have things like this and still manage to make them reliable.
Lots of cool technology used internally starts out this way and gets moved to the proper internal infrastructure when it proves to be so useful. IBM has been pretty good at recognising this and the internal IT organisation are providing more and more internal hosting options for people with prototypes that they want to demo and try out. Anyone can get a LAMP stack to host their applications internally for free, for example.
Anyway I needed to run an externally accessible test server for some customer work I’m doing and with a very helpful colleague (thanks Dave!) I managed to get the setup I needed using some existing infrastructure. Getting things like this up and running inside of IBM (or any big company I expect) isn’t always easy, legal and security is normally a bigger problem than any technology, but now I know it can be done, it is an incentive to try and come up with some externally facing demos and prototypes.