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Monday, May 12, 2014

IBM's BlueMix---A playground for developers

IBM – BlueMix, A learning playground for Developer’s


By Bill Moran

On February 24, IBM announced several major Cloud initiatives including an on-line Cloud Development site, called BlueMix. On April 28th IBM significantly enhanced BlueMix. Before we dive into the details first, some background.

History shows that developers play a key part in the success of any platform. Over the years, Microsoft and Apple actively solicited and cultivated developers of all sorts to use their platforms. One major result is that Windows and the iPhone enjoyed great marketplace success. Apple’s app store has become legendary for the vast choice of applications available.  IBM has clearly seen that capturing developer interest as essential to its success in the Cloud.

However, IBM also understands that developers divide into two groups. The first group is developing Greenfield applications. These are brand-new applications that typically do not have to integrate with an existing set of applications. Startup companies will have many such applications. The second developer type writes applications that must integrate with an existing set of applications. For example, a bank might want to develop a new mobile app that allows customers to make changes to their accounts on-line. It's clear that it must integrate into the bank’s existing applications that are already running in production environments. If the bank allows development of this application to proceed in the cloud without being done properly, it can encounter major difficulties in testing, integration and performance.

Therefore, IBM inaugurated the new cloud service for developers called BlueMix with many features that app developers will find very attractive. Let's describe some of these features. For example:
·        The developer can select any language suitable for the cloud that they wish to use. They can get going with very little set-up time.
·        BlueMix has an extensive catalog of services from IBM and third parties that are built in. Notable here are SQL and NOSQL, as well as others such as app runtimes like Java and PHP.
·        BlueMix has services that connect to the Internet of things. Applications can manage and analyze data coming from mobile phones, cameras, sensors, and other intelligent devices.
·        It provides an integrated DevOps environment with planning tools and source control. Developers can access and use their favorite tools.
·        It can run the necessary backend services for mobile apps, such as Push notifications.
·        It facilitates integration into existing systems. It is easy to connect to existing apps by using tools like Secure Connector and Cast Iron integration.
·        IBM is also now offering a new facility, BlueMix Garage. This is a physical location where developers can work with each other and interact with IBM experts. The first Garage, located in South San Francisco, is run by Galvanize with plans to ultimately host up to 200 such startups.
BlueMix has much to offer the developer community. Even better, it is free. Developers only need to sign on to it during the Open Beta going on now. To do so, go to www.ibm.com/cloudplatform.  Also, in line with the idea of continuous development, expect to see IBM rolling out additional functions over the coming year. At the recent IMPACT event, they added services in support of Cloud Integration, the Internet of Things, Analytics and Application Auto-scaling to meet demand. You can follow this and find out more using Twitter @ibmcloud and in the blog: http://www.thoughtsoncloud.com.

There is also a worldwide series of workshops on BlueMIx. Go to: http://www-304.ibm.com/events/idr/idrevents/detail.action?meid=16628&ieid=9478&cmp=pw&cpb=pw&ct=pwrss&cr=pwiic&ccy=zz, for locations and schedule. The workshops are free.

Another part of this growing ecosystem is Developer Works. With more than 4 million members already, it is proving to be an excellent source of technical information and well worth exploring. You can simply follow this link to http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/ to access this rich resource of knowledge and information.

It is very clear that IBM is making a major effort to court and attract developers to its solutions and tools. They have made a very excellent start by demonstrating that they have a clear understanding of the problems that developers face as they must move to the new operating climate of composable business and composable  IT. “Composable’ in this context speaks to an operating and operational mode that demands fast response times with services that are highly adaptive as well as quickly and easily accessible.


BlueMix is IBM’s aggressive first step to aid and speed the transition of both IT and businesses to this new environment. It does so by providing a significant boost to developer productivity and agility in the cloud environment. BlueMix allows easy access to tools and services designed for cloud usage so that developers are able to acquire experience and expertise in the use of new and existing development tools and services. We find no downside for developers to check out what is on offer to them on BlueMix. And, we expect many will decide to increase and expand their participation to their own as well as their employer’s significant benefit.

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