It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we announced the general availability of Bluemix. But, in honor of our first anniversary, we’ve got some big news to share. The exciting updates that went live late last week include:
- Official release of IBM Containers making it easier to deliver production applications across hybrid environments
- Addition of service keys to facilitate connecting to services from outside of Bluemix
- Usability improvements to the Bluemix UI’s header and dashboard
- Enhancements to documentation.
IBM Containers GA
After entering beta at InterConnect 2015, IBM Containers are now officially released. Containers allow portability and consistency regardless of whether they are run on bare metal servers in Bluemix, your company’s data center, or on your laptop. With the addition of Containers to the Bluemix Catalog, you can easily spin up images from our public hub (for example, IBM Liberty and IBM Node) or from your own private registry.
Notable capabilities of IBM Containers include:
- Easy deployment of single containers or scalable groups
- Ability to assign public and private networking for container communication
- Integrated monitoring, logging, and auto-recovery for container management
- Utilization of the native Docker CLI
- Integration with DevOps pipelines for developer productivity.
For pricing and cost estimation, see the Pricing page in the Bluemix UI:
Check out the following resources for more container-related news and information:
- IBM Containers (official documentation)
- IBM Delivers Docker Based Container Services by Kimi Cousins
- Containers: the Answer to Modern Development Demands by Jason McGee
- IBM Containers: A Bluemix Runtime Leveraging Docker Technology by Amod Bhise
- DockerCon 2015 – Closing Thoughts by Dan Berg
- DevOps for Containers at DockerCon by Robbie Minshall
One of the great things about Bluemix is the wide range of IBM and third-party services that you can leverage from your apps to build powerful solutions. We’re now providing you more flexibility to connect to services with the introduction of service keys. Service keys give you access to the credentials for a given service instance without requiring an application binding. This is especially useful if you’d like to use a service from outside of Bluemix.
To get started, find a service in the Catalog which supports service keys (for example, Concept Insights). Select Leave unbound in the App pull-down, and then click the Create button as shown below.
NOTE: You can also select the name of an app to use the previously existing capability for app binding. Then, in your app code, you can parse the
VCAP_SERVICES environment variable to gain access to the credentials.
Once the new service instance is created, you will be taken to the service instance details page. If you select Credentials in the left hand navigation tree, you will see a JSON representation of the credentials needed to use the service. You can then use the credentials to connect to the service from outside of Bluemix.
Alternatively, you can use the following commands from the CloudFoundry (or
cf) command-line interface to create and manage keys:
create-service-key– Create key for a service instance
service-keys– List keys for a service instance
service-key– Show service key info
delete-service-key– Delete a service key
For more information, see Enabling external apps to use Bluemix services in the Bluemix Docs.
Usability Improvements to the Dashboard
We’re always trying to make your Bluemix experience better. With that in mind, we’ve made the following simplifications in the Bluemix UI:
- Consolidation of the organization selector and region selector into one menu. The location of the newly combined menu is the account menu in the Bluemix UI header.
- Streamlined quota information for your apps, containers, VMs (beta), and services moved to the top of the Dashboard.
We know that sometimes you need some extra help when using Bluemix. So, we’ve added a new Troubleshooting section to the Bluemix Docs which includes:
- Support Bulletins that let you know about workarounds or fixes identified in Bluemix
- Information on the Bluemix Status tool that enables you to quickly find notifications and announcements about key events that are affecting the Bluemix platform and the major services in Bluemix.
In addition, we’ve just released the IBM Bluemix Architecture Center. And, to start we have scenarios for:
- Web App Hosting that includes Delivery Pipeline, Auto-Scaling, Monitoring & Analytics, and Cloudant DB
- Hybrid Data Store that includes Delivery Pipeline, Secure Gateway, and Object Storage
You can find it in the Bluemix Docs under the Application Architecture section in the lefthand navigation.
We love all of the feedback you’re giving us on the documentation, keep it coming! Just click on the Feedback button (available on all pages in the docs) to get started.
Special thanks to Jenifer Schlotfeldt for providing information on the documentation updates!
Wrapping it Up
We hope you’ll take some time to try this round of Bluemix updates for yourself. And, remember, if you don’t already have an account, you can simply go to www.bluemix.net and get free instant access to a 30-day trial without a credit card!
* Prices in screen shots current as of July 5, 2015 and are subject to change.
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