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What is IBM Bluemix?

IBM's Open Cloud Architecture implementation based on the Cloud Foundry project

IBM Bluemix™ is the newest cloud offering from IBM. Bluemix is a platform as a service (PaaS) offering based on the Cloud Foundry open source project that promises to deliver enterprise-level features and services that are easy to integrate into cloud applications. This document provides a high-level overview of Bluemix and Cloud Foundry and the differences between the two. It also lists the Bluemix services that were available in the open beta.


Angel Tomala-Reyes, Senior Software Engineer, IBM

Photo of Angel Tomala-ReyesAngel Tomala-Reyes is a senior software engineer for IBM Global Technology Services - Advanced Cloud Technologies. Mr. Tomala-Reyes currently leads the maintenance and operations efforts for the Cloud First Factory, the base infrastructure that supports IBM's Codename BlueMix internal production and staging environments. Before joining the Advanced Cloud Technologies Team, he lead the development and delivery of IBM's SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE) User Interface as well as other feature enhancements for SCE. Mr. Tomala-Reyes also worked for IBM Global Services building distributed ticketing systems and other complex J2EE applications and integration solutions.

29 June 2014 (First published 24 February 2014)

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Bluemix is the latest cloud offering from IBM. It enables organizations and developers to quickly and easily create, deploy, and manage applications on the cloud. Bluemix is an implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture based on Cloud Foundry, an open source platform as a service (PaaS). Bluemix delivers enterprise-level services that can easily integrate with your cloud applications without you needing to know how to install or configure them. This article gives a high-level description of Cloud Foundry and Bluemix and outlines the features and services that were part of the open beta of Bluemix, which make it a compelling PaaS in the market today.

WATCH:Building Highly Scalable Applications for Bluemix

WATCH:Building an Android App using MobileData Cloud

What is Cloud Foundry?

Cloud Foundry is an open source platform as a service (PaaS) that lets you quickly create and deploy applications on the cloud.  Because of its open source roots, Cloud Foundry is not vendor specific and does not lock you into proprietary software or cloud infrastructure. Cloud Foundry abstracts the underlying infrastructure needed to run a cloud, letting you focus on the business of building cloud applications.  The beauty of Cloud Foundry is that it provides choice. Developers and organizations can choose:

  • Development Frameworks:  Cloud Foundry supports Java™ code, Spring, Ruby, Node.js, and custom frameworks.
  • Application Services:  Cloud Foundry offers support for MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis, RabbitMQ, and custom services.
  • Clouds:  Developers and organizations can choose to run Cloud Foundry in Public, Private, VMWare and OpenStack-based clouds.

Angel Tomala-Reyes on Cloud Foundry and Bluemix

Video: Angel Tomala-Reyes on Cloud Foundry and

Cloud Foundry's ability to provide choice comes through buildpacks, a convenient way to package frameworks and runtimes. Buildpacks can be community based, custom built, or built from scratch. In other words, if you cannot find a framework or service buildpack that suits your needs, you could modify an existing buildpack or create your own. By using buildpacks, companies are able to provide enterprise-level services like the Bluemix cloud offering.

What is Bluemix?

Bluemix is an implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture, based on Cloud Foundry, that enables you to rapidly create, deploy, and manage your cloud applications.  Because Bluemix is based on Cloud Foundry, you can tap into a growing ecosystem of runtime frameworks and services. In addition to providing additional frameworks and services, Bluemix provides a dashboard for you to create, view, and manage your applications and services as well as monitor your application's resource usage. The Bluemix dashboard also provides the ability to manage organizations, spaces, and user access.

Bluemix provides access to the services delivered through Cloud Foundry and enhances the collection of services with the following IBM services:

Service nameDescription
BLU Data WarehouseThe BLU Data Warehouse (BLUDW) service provides a powerful, easy to use, and agile platform for business intelligence and analytics.
Cloud CodeWith the Cloud Code service, you can run user JavaScript code on the mobile back end.
DecisionThe Decision service provides managed execution of business rules for your applications. Application developers who need to use business rules in their application create an instance of the service, author rules, deploy their rules (rulesets) to the service, bind the service to their application, and then invoke the service to execute the rules and return the execution result.
IBM Data CacheIBM Data Cache supports distributed caching scenarios for web and mobile applications. Data Cache is an elastic data grid for storing key-value objects. Powered by WebSphere® eXtreme Scale technology, Data Cache provides linear scalability, predictable performance, and fault tolerance of the web application's data cache requirements.
IBM Enterprise MapReduceThe IBM Enterprise MapReduce Service adds Hadoop-based analytics to your application on demand. This service creates an InfoSphere® BigInsights™ cluster on a cloud-based instance of IBM InfoSphere BigInsights Enterprise Edition Server V2.1.0.2 run by IBM. InfoSphere BigInsights is powered by Apache Hadoop and provides industry-leading performance, scalability, and reliability.
IBM MQ LightIBM MQ Light Service supports client applications that use the WebSphere MQ messaging client protocols.
IBM Session CacheIBM Session Cache is an elastic data grid that stores and persists HTTP session objects to the data grid. If a server outage occurs, application users do not lose session data.
Identity as a ServiceThe Identity as a Service (IDaaS) offering provides application developers with a policy-based web single sign-on capability, for registered users.
DevOps Services (formerly JazzHub)DevOps Services is a place where you can collaborate with others to plan, track, develop, and deploy software in public or private projects. DevOps Services includes Git hosting, an integrated Web IDE, Eclipse and Visual Studio integrations, agile planning and tracking, and automated deployment to Bluemix.
IBM JSON DatabaseThe IBM JSON Database Service lets you add a NoSQL JSON document store to your application. You can quickly insert documents into your database without creating tables, collections, or indexes.
Mobile Application ManagementThe Mobile Application Management service provides implicit authentication and authorization services for Bluemix applications that are developed with the IBM Mobile Cloud Platform SDK.
Mobile DataMobile Data is a simple data storage service. You can use Mobile Data Service to store objects that need to be created and persisted from a mobile client.
PushYou can use push notifications in mobile applications to send information to a mobile device even when the application is not being used.
SQL DatabaseThe IBM SQL Database adds an on-demand IBM DB2® Online Transaction Processing SQL database to your application. This service creates a fully supported and managed database run by IBM on the IBM Cloud.

200 Bluemix Days

Want to learn more about Bluemix? IBM is launching its 200 Bluemix Days hands-on workshop to help you get started with Bluemix.

For developers, Bluemix further optimizes the time you spend creating cloud application. You no longer have to be concerned about installing software or having to deal with virtual machine images or hardware. With a few clicks or keystrokes, you can provision instances of your applications with the necessary services to support them. This streamlining translates countless hours of setting up, configuring, and troubleshooting into time spent rapidly innovating and reacting to never-ending requirement changes.

For organizations, Bluemix provides a cloud platform that requires very little in-house technical know-how as well as cost savings. Bluemix provides the rapid development environment organizations need to react to users' demands for new features. The Bluemix platform and the cloud provide the elasticity and capacity flexibility organizations require when their applications explode in popularity.

For users, Bluemix represents the key that enables organizations to quickly deliver the features they demand.


Bluemix delivers basic and enterprise-level services that enterprise organizations need to make their cloud applications ready and available to their customers when they need it and where they need it most. Because of its underlying open source technologies, Bluemix provides the flexibility to integrate the development frameworks and services that suit your needs. If you want to learn more about Bluemix, visit Bluemix Developers Community.


  • To get started developing your cloud application, visit the Bluemix website.
  • For more how-to guides and other getting started resources, visit the Bluemix Developers Community.
  • To learn more about the open source foundation of Bluemix, visit the Cloud Foundry web site.


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Zone=Cloud computing
ArticleTitle=What is IBM Bluemix?