Compute Services

General Availability: What’s new in IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk?

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openwhisk hero imageIntroduced as an experimental service on Bluemix in February, IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk is now generally available. Both open source and serverless, OpenWhisk is a compute service that scalably executes code in runtime containers in response to configurable events and without the need to manage infrastructure.

OpenWhisk’s simple and competitive pricing model provides a free tier for those who want to try it out.

Through feeds, packages, and REST APIs, OpenWhisk provides powerful and easy access to the 150+ Bluemix services–including Cloudant, many Watson, data analytics, and DevOps pipeline services. Hear OpenWhisk’s senior research lead Stephen Fink discuss the platform’s versatility in integrating services.

OpenWhisk recently integrated with MessageHub, an Bluemix-hosted Kafka service whose efficient and scalable message queue enables developers to build real-time data pipelines and streaming apps. This integration enables developers to fire triggers that launch OpenWhisk actions as soon as a new message is posted to a MessageHub topic.

OpenWhisk includes additional support for Node v6, Python, Swift v3, and Java. That work on other runtimes has begun—for GoHaskell, and Scala—reflects the momentum in the OpenWhisk open source community.

Since OpenWhisk launched as an experimental service, companies across a range of industries have designed and built apps with it. SiteSpirit, a Netherlands-based software developer, has already moved their data-intensive MediaSpirit tool onto OpenWhisk. SiteSpirit combines OpenWhisk with cloud data services on Bluemix to help their customers implement advanced, flexibly-programmable, cloud-based data analytics that optimize infrastructure utilization through auto-scaling.

Other companies currently building with OpenWhisk include:

  • Santander Group, one of the world’s top banks by market capitalization with 12,500 branches in its 10 core markets throughout Europe and the Americas,  will use serverless and OpenWhisk in particular to help speed and optimize its digital banking.
  • LogitBot, a New York-based fintech company that uses data and AI to transform how investors research opportunities. OpenWhisk’s ability to decompose an app into distinct components has enabled LogitBot to more rapidly build and update their advanced data analytics platform.
  • Altoros, a U.S.-based but global software consulting firm, uses OpenWhisk to design serverless, trigger-based solutions for organizations across industries – including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics.
  • Nepente, a creative software design firm in Brazil, connect different parts of their existing apps and infrastructure through OpenWhisk, accelerating improvement of high-performing user experiences while reducing time to market.

OpenWhisk has been 100% open source from the beginning. Through a joint submission by IBM & Adobe, OpenWhisk is now an Apache Incubator project. Most fundamentally, OpenWhisk currently is the only major serverless platform to offer an open, non-proprietary serverless engine that reduces the risk of vendor lock-in.

Community efforts are integrating OpenWhisk with other open solutions and tools. A new Visual Studio Code extension, for example, improves the overall developer experience by enabling developers to create and work with actions without the need to leave their IDE.

Keep up with all great things OpenWhisk on GitHub

Watch a coding demonstration of OpenWhisk that talks through key concepts on the way to deploying a working app.

We love to hear from users. In fact, based on developer feedback, we have released an experimental real-time debugger that allows users to debug actions locally, inspect parameter values, edit code, push changes in real-time. The debugger currently supports NodeJS, Python and Swift actions.

Finally, an improved UI simplifies working with OpenWhisk and supports testing from directly from within your browser.

Learn more about IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk.
Learn more about Apache OpenWhisk and check out this blog post on open source serverless technology.

Andreas Nauerz

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