April 28, 2021 By Harish Grama
Willie Tejada
5 min read

Businesses across industries are embracing a hybrid cloud approach more than ever as they seek to digitally transform in the post-pandemic world.

In fact, 64% of companies surveyed in an IBM Institute for Business Value study say they shifted to more cloud-based business activities during the pandemic. For developers who are charged with rapidly innovating and building applications that enable digital transformation, open source container platforms can help reduce vendor lock-in and make it easier for teams to move applications from one environment to another.

But the reality for developers is that the most common architectures used today are riddled with complexities. This requires them to learn how to configure and manage new concepts, taking time that could otherwise be spent on coding applications.

By taking your developers away from their core tasks, your company could be at risk for slowed innovation, decreased revenue gains and competitive lag. To help address these challenges and give your teams an easier way to embrace hybrid cloud, IBM has introduced a new fully managed, serverless platform for cloud-native workloads built to free development teams’ time. This allows them to focus on writing code instead of dealing with underlying infrastructure.

IBM Cloud Code Engine is now generally available and designed to help developers in any industry build, deploy and scale applications in seconds, while only paying when code is running. Before, it may have taken your team weeks to learn new skills and configure the right environment to meet your business needs. Code Engine is a fully managed, serverless offering on IBM Cloud, the industry’s most secure and open cloud for business.

With Code Engine, you can:

  • Focus on building applications rapidly: Code Engine is designed to make your job easier and free up your time to build applications. Whether your development team is new to cloud-native concepts or comprised of seasoned experts, you can use Code Engine without having deep platform-specific experience to quickly create your workloads. You also don’t need to burden yourself with extra time spent configuring the code for your particular infrastructure. All you need is your source code or a container image, an idea about how you want the workload to behave, and Code Engine is designed to address the rest.
  • Pay only for code as it’s running: With Code Engine, you are billed for code only when it is running. [1] If your app scales to zero or your job or build isn’t running, you’re not consuming resources and, therefore, you’re not charged. This makes cloud-native development more accessible to companies of any size.
  • Deploy in seconds: Code Engine is engineered so that you can deploy an application running on your laptop to the cloud in seconds without additional work. Your application now runs in a secured cloud environment and you can get back to coding.

Developers have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with Code Engine while building solutions that combat climate change in collaboration with Call for Code. This will show developers how you can focus on your ideas and innovations rather than working through the learning curve associated with configuring and managing a containerized cloud application. See below for more information.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory developers accelerate biomedical data mining

Code Engine is designed for developers in any industry. For example, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is using Code Engine to rapidly advance research in biology and medicine and ultimately uncover new therapies for diseases like diabetes and cancer.

The Alexandrov team of researchers at EMBL developed an open-source cloud software called METASPACE, which allows scientists across the globe to find molecules in metabolomics data from tissue sections. Using METASPACE, researchers can see in which cells a drug is accumulated, which can be relevant for discovering novel therapies to treat these diseases successfully and with reduced side effects.

The large size of spatial metabolomics datasets, sophisticated custom algorithms needed to find molecules and a growing community of scientists using METASPACE-imposed high computing demands made the team turn to cloud.

After switching from another cloud provider to IBM Cloud and using Code Engine to run METASPACE, EMBL found that it provided higher scalability and reduced infrastructure costs and resource planning efforts. It also helped EMBL improve METASPACE for scientists as it helped streamline data processing and thus greatly accelerated the time it takes to sift through the queue of data. EMBL found that delays due to a long queue that previously required scientists to wait hours can now be reduced to a matter of minutes.

“The time of our scientists and developers is the most valuable resource since we develop software used by scientists across the globe to address pressing biomedical challenges — and that time cannot be wasted,” said Theodore Alexandrov, a team leader at EMBL. “By working with IBM, we are able to use cloud computing in a way we couldn’t before, giving researchers access to previously unavailable molecular information hidden in massive volumes of spatial metabolomics data. Using new computing technologies in METASPACE, we can help scientists in their fundamental research and in their global efforts to develop effective treatments against diseases such as diabetes and cancer.”

Empowering developers to build on your own terms

Swedish logistics technology company SiB Solutions is using Code Engine to build a SaaS solution that uses video from the warehouse floor to guide factory operators and prevent supply chain issues. 

By using Code Engine, SiB is easing the strain on its developers by freeing them from configuring complex infrastructure. Code Engine also gives the company greater control. For example, instead of having to configure and deploy the solution using a multitude of different cloud services, they instead specify how they want the application to run and input those specifications into Code Engine. The company found that they were able to get that precise application up and running within minutes.

“When we first developed this software, we knew we had an important solution for the logistics industry that could help mitigate supply chain headaches,” said Sverrir Valgerisson, CTO, SiB Solutions. “While we previously had to tailor our software around different cloud services, IBM Cloud Code Engine now manages the process around our specifications for how we want the software to behave, which alleviates a huge administrative burden.”

Get started with IBM Cloud Code Engine

The promise of cloud is strong. With hybrid cloud capabilities that are designed to break down barriers for developers to build cloud-native apps regardless of infrastructure, IBM is helping make secured and open hybrid cloud computing more accessible to organizations in any industry. Learn more about the capabilities that Code Engine provides to run your workloads and then register to get started with our free tier. [2]

In May, IBM is co-hosting Call for Code educational events to build solutions that combat climate change by using Code Engine to deploy highly scalable, cloud-native workloads. Visit the 2021 Call for Code page to learn more and stay tuned for details on these events:

  • May 8: Call for Code – Code Engine Skill Build Day
  • May 22–23: Apply your skills and answer the call at the Call for Code – Code Engine Hackathon

With Code Engine, participants will be able to focus on their ideas and innovations rather than working through the learning curve associated with configuring and managing a containerized cloud application. Register for these and other upcoming Call for Code events to learn how your development skills can help solve a pressing global issue.

Run Code. Easily. At Scale.


[1] Charge is evaluated based on the memory and vCPU that your workloads consume, as well as any incoming HTTP calls.

[2] The trial is free of charge as long as the user does not exceed resource use such that the charge for those resources exceeds the credit, there will be no bill/charge for that month. If they go beyond the value of the credit, then they will be charged. Either way, the user must register with a “pay as you go” (paid) account with a credit card.

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