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A delicious recipe: Cloud Foundry with IBM Bluemix on top

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Who’s hungry? If you’re a fan of open source, I have a great recipe to share with you that you might find quite appetizing.

The ingredients are the key to any recipe, so let’s take a look at our two main ingredients. What is IBM Bluemix and what is Cloud Foundry? What are their similarities and differences? I think it would be best if I explained Cloud Foundry first. I won’t go into the technical details, I’ll just give you what you need to know.

BluemixCloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is a concrete proof that cloud can also be open source. It’s a continuously developing platform as a service (PaaS) environment owned by Pivotal Software Inc. It’s based on a community that has a broad number of leading information technology (IT) companies as its contributors. Cloud Foundry aims to bring a majority of developer groups together by supporting multiple frameworks, multiple types of clouds and a large number of application services.

Multiple framework support

This means that you can choose virtually any framework to code your application, as long as it’s available as a buildpack; Java, PHP, Python, you name it. Many of them are available, while many others are being worked on as you read this post. This means you can contribute and create your own buildpack.

Multiple types of clouds

Let’s be realistic. In many types of organizations, there are regulations that prohibit the movement of data to a public cloud environment. That is why you might have to stick to your own premises when dealing with cloud. But that is not a problem, since you are able to use cloud both in a public and private environment. You can have your systems of engagement in a public cloud, while your systems of record reside in a private cloud that you manage yourself. This is called a hybrid cloud.

Application services

Anything your application touches or integrates can be provided as a service. This might be database, a security provider, a big data and analytics service. Services are either advertised by service brokers by implementing the Service Broker application programming interface (API), or they can be user-provided services, which are used to represent external resources within Cloud Foundry. As a service provider, you can create your own service and provision it for other developers’ use. As an application developer, you can create instances of those services and bind them to your application.

IBM Bluemix

So what does Bluemix do apart from those features? What does it bring into play? As you might already know, IBM loves enhancing open source software. Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software and IBM HTTP Server, based on the Apache HTTP Server, are a couple of examples.

Bluemix is also an enhancement of Cloud Foundry. It uses Cloud Foundry as its horsepower. Cloud Foundry makes all the magic behind the scenes, such as provisioning, deprovisioning, service brokering, application deployment and so on.

So why use Bluemix? The following features help to answer that question.

User Interface

Not all developers love to work on command-line interfaces (CLIs). There will be times you forget what to type to bind a service to your application. There will be times you will be tired, and will make frequent typos. Bluemix has a user interface, which means that what might take you a dozen commands with CLI only takes a few mouse clicks. It also has a dashboard that allows you to see the status of all your applications, make all configuration changes within a single web page, and see a large catalog of services that you can use. Believe me, those things make your life much easier.

IBM as a service

This is one of the most important benefits of Bluemix. IBM offers some of their products as a service through Bluemix. WebSphere Liberty, DB2 Database, InfoSphere and BigInsights are some examples. It even includes IBM Watson, which is the next step of computing. It is not hard to see that eventually, IBM will provide all their products as a service on Bluemix.

Automatic scaling

It might come as a surprise to you that Cloud Foundry does not scale your application instances and resources automatically. But Bluemix does. A simple, free service in Bluemix called Auto-Scale works to scale your applications based on criteria that you can define, such as heap or CPU usage.

DevOps Services

Bluemix comes with many services that help the developer also do the operations stuff. You can deploy, monitor, trace and analyze applications. You can also implement task tracking and agile development and lots of additional features.

To summarize, Bluemix is a platform that is based on Cloud Foundry architecture, and it brings many features on top of it. So Bluemix becomes a platform with open source power, combined with enterprise features and support. This is a great combination, and is a recipe that can help your organization thrive

If you have questions to ask, or something to add, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @cakilburak, and I’ll be more than happy to respond.

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