IBM BlueMix Plays Key Role in Company’s PaaS Strategy

Charlotte Dunlap
Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • The IBM BlueMix project is IBM’s cloud app development platform.
  • BlueMix ‘patterns’ will integrate with PureApplication, SCAS and SoftLayer in 2013.

The pieces of the puzzle to IBM’s cloud strategy are coming together, especially between PaaS and IaaS, as well as new open source infrastructure options to help guard against the dreaded trap of vendor lock-in.  Furthering its efforts to demonstrate to enterprises how they can leverage the cloud for faster, more efficient app development/deployment, IBM made a number of strategic moves in 2013.  Starting with throwing its weight behind OpenStack early in the year, IBM later purchased SoftLayer to serve as the foundation of its hosting services capabilities and then partnered with, ironically, PaaS competitor Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s open source team to leverage Pivotal’s growing ecosystem.  Each of these moves play strategically into IBM’s newest cloud project – codenamed BlueMix.

BlueMix represents a next-generation cloud app development environment based on IBM’s open cloud architecture (built on OpenStack and Cloud Foundry).  It leverages Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry in order to offer IBM’s services and runtime frameworks amongst Pivotal’s growing ecosystem.  The concept is to bring together different services, creating them in such a way as to support whatever degree of flexibility they need to support various cloud scenarios, whether they are public or private and IaaS, PaaS or SaaS.  IBM’s ability to leverage Cloud Foundry enables flexibility of that cloud.

BlueMix will be implemented into patterns (i.e., services) and included in the PureApplication appliance for on-premises PaaS, or it will be offered through a hosted version of PaaS via SoftLayer (IaaS).  It provides a way to take software patterns and move them between PureApp, SmartCloud Application Service (SCAS) and SoftLayer, with components of BlueMix beginning to appear in 2014.  IBM will eventually offer the option of having managed services on top of SoftLayer, similar to SmartCloud Enterprise/Plus.

Initial IBM/Pivotal collaboration will be around developing an IBM WebSphere Liberty Buildpack onto Cloud Foundry.  What Pivotal refers to as ‘buildpacks,’ adopted from Heroku, are used by Cloud Foundry to specify runtime environments for a class of applications.  Here is where IBM’s interests lie: It intends to contribute to the specifications of buildpacks being devised by Cloud Foundry and Heroku, in order to ensure that they are portable to IBM’s PaaS offerings.

The race to the cloud is definitely on, and PaaS has finally entered the game.

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