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The why, what and how of IBM Bluemix

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Bluemix is the IBM answer to the disruption in platform as a service (PaaS) cloud computing space. But why do we see so much focus on Bluemix or offerings in the same space such as EngineYard, Heroku or OpenShift?

This is intriguing because a few analysts predicted this kind of demand coming in for a developer ecosystem.

Yes, Bluemix is a developer ecosystem, also referred to as PaaS in the cloud stack. But what’s driving this focus on the developer ecosystem?

I believe that this happened due to a nexus of factors, including:

– Business demands that necessitated developing of open, customer proximate, omnichannel applications

– Enterprises sourcing developers and skills from external communities (crowdsourcing) to support their need of developing this new age applications

– Ubiquity of devices , programming languages, development and operation techniques

– The convergence of development and operations to support short life cycles of these new age applications

– Demands on the infrastructure and application platform to scale, be reliable and perform under the looming magnitudes of workloads for these applications

– Enterprises looking at cutting IT costs to balance their budgets

– Fail fast development philosophy gaining acceptance as opposed to unacceptably long project cycles

– Device penetration among employees, partners and customers

– A growing need for access to information everywhere and anytime and with uncompromised speed

– The need to innovate in process, strategy, sales and marketing in order to stay in business

– Explore and experiment channels to establish or gain customer reach

Of course, there may be more, but these factors should be able to build a convincing case for why the need for a developer ecosystem has surfaced, why demand has grown for PaaS and why cloud has become so pervasive. All this subsequently answers the question: Why Bluemix?

Now that we’ve answered why, let’s look at the what of Bluemix.

To state it simply, Bluemix is a PaaS stack that offers developer ecosystem to enable rapid building, deployment and managing of applications.

As part of this developer ecosystem, Bluemix provides middleware and application infrastructure offered as composable services to application development. Also, Bluemix provides APIs for a mix of third-party and community developed services.

DevOps services on Bluemix, provides necessary tools for development, deployment and management of the applications. Last but not the least, all this runs on SoftLayer’s leading infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Refer to the following presentation for a great overview on how Bluemix works:

Now, let’s take a look at the how of Bluemix.

IBM recently announced the general availability of Bluemix. This means that all basic accounts remain free. If you don’t already have an account, you can just go to www.bluemix.net, register, and get free instant access to a 30-day trial without a credit card.

After registration, you’ll start with a trial that allows you to build apps and add services at no charge. When the trial is over, you’ll continue to have access to freebies and you’ll pay only for what you use above and beyond that. You’ll have a lot of flexibility to choose the runtime usage levels and service plans that best meet your needs. Refer to the Bluemix pricing here: https://ibm.biz/BdFXqS.

This great video by David Barnes (davidb@us.ibm.com) demonstrates the capabilities of Bluemix:

Before signing off, it’s befitting to end this with an article that explains development experience on Bluemix, leveraging what the platform has to offer.

There’s a gamut of examples you can find in IBM DeveloperWorks, but I chose to highlight this example that explains on setting up an opensource web analytics service called Piwik on Bluemix. Click here for this great read.

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