IBM Adds Extensions to Its Bluemix Cloud Platform

IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform, announced earlier this year, will be generally available in the U.S. in June, and IBM has added a number of extensions to the service, the company said today.
The extensions to IBM Bluemix include a version of IBM’s AppScan testing tool, an Embeddable Reporting service based on IBM analytics, a JavaScript-based set of IBM Workflow services to orchestrate development processes and a Continuous Delivery Pipeline service for managing the application release cycle.
As part of an effort to position the Bluemix cloud Platform as a tool for speeding the development of higher-quality applications, IBM also announced it is adding to Bluemix a Continuous Testing, Release and Deployment service that includes analytics capabilities and a set of collaboration services for application development teams. The service is from the IBM Rational product portfolio.
IBM claims to now have 45 services running in beta or production running on top of IBM Bluemix. Speaking at the IBM Innovate 2014 conference today, IBM Rational General Manager Kristof Kloeckner, says IBM’s goal is to take application development cycles down from the current six to 12 months cycle to something that can now be accomplished in a matter of weeks.
The reason it takes so long to develop applications is that organizations today are too dependent on custom application development, manual processes and inefficient feedback loops. As a result, application development as we know it today is unsafe at any speed, says Kloeckner.
Built on top of the open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment running on IBM Softlayer cloud services, IBM Bluemix provides a platform for building applications and integrating applications that reside both inside and outside the cloud. In fact, Kloeckner says that as part of a “decomposition and recomposition” of its middleware portfolio, IBM is essentially re-engineering its entire middleware portfolio from WebSphere to Worklight in a way that will allow applications to be invoked as Bluemix services.
IBM Bluemix will serve as the foundation for creating “composable businesses” that will give organizations with a new growth engine that provides an unprecedented amount of agility, Kloeckner says. In fact, as it becomes more apparent that software is the economic engine of the future, organizations of all sizes seek to more reliably deliver higher-quality applications. Achieving that goal requires adopting a lean approach to IT while simultaneously striking a balance between speed and trust to deliver higher-quality applications faster, he says.
As part of the effort, the reuse of application code and services is now a strategic necessity, Kloeckner says. By borrowing concepts that were first pioneered to make DevOps more efficient, developers can create a virtuous cycle of information, feedback and analytics that IBM now refers to as “Continuous Engineering.” By not squandering time on inefficient development processes, the adoption of Continuous Engineering will allow organizations to deliver applications that consist of interconnected systems at speed.
Kloeckner concedes that DevOps by definition is hybrid. As such, IBM DevOps tools support both private clouds and other public cloud services besides Bluemix. In the case of Bluemix, IBM is providing some of those capabilities in BlueMix in a way that provides a more tightly integrated experience for IBM customers that use both IBM DevOps tools and the Bluemix cloud.
Rather than taking on application development, Integration and delivery as isolated elements of application lifecycle management, IBM clearly wishes that customers would integrate all those functions into a single cloud platform that consists of IBM multiple services that can be invoked on demand.
IBM is not the only vendor heading in that direction. But with every IBM internal product team applying lean and agile development methodologies to build products on IBM Bluemix, the Bluemix vision that IBM has for the future of application development and integration is going to become a reality much faster than people might think.

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