What is IBM Bluemix?

IBM's Open Cloud Architecture implementation based on the Cloud Foundry project


This tutorial was written using a previous version of the IBM Bluemix® interface. Given the rapid evolution of technology, some steps and illustrations may have changed.

Bluemix™ is the latest cloud offering from IBM®. It enables organizations and developers to quickly and easily create, deploy, and manage applications on the cloud. Bluemix is an implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture based on Cloud Foundry, an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS). Bluemix delivers enterprise-level services that can easily integrate with your cloud applications without you needing to know how to install or configure them. This article gives a high-level description of Cloud Foundry and Bluemix and outlines the features and services that were part of the open beta of Bluemix, which make it a compelling PaaS in the market today.

What is Cloud Foundry?

Cloud Foundry is an open source platform as a service (PaaS) that lets you quickly create and deploy applications on the cloud.  Because of its open source roots, Cloud Foundry is not vendor specific and does not lock you into proprietary software or cloud infrastructure. Cloud Foundry abstracts the underlying infrastructure needed to run a cloud, letting you focus on the business of building cloud applications.  The beauty of Cloud Foundry is that it provides choice. Developers and organizations can choose:

  • Development Frameworks:  Cloud Foundry supports Java™ code, Spring, Ruby, Node.js, and custom frameworks.
  • Application Services:  Cloud Foundry offers support for MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis, RabbitMQ, and custom services.
  • Clouds:  Developers and organizations can choose to run Cloud Foundry in Public, Private, VMWare and OpenStack-based clouds.

Cloud Foundry's ability to provide choice comes through buildpacks, a convenient way to package frameworks and runtimes. Buildpacks can be community based, custom built, or built from scratch. In other words, if you cannot find a framework or service buildpack that suits your needs, you could modify an existing buildpack or create your own. By using buildpacks, companies are able to provide enterprise-level services like the Bluemix cloud offering.

What is Bluemix?

Bluemix is an implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture, based on Cloud Foundry, that enables you to rapidly create, deploy, and manage your cloud applications. Because Bluemix is based on Cloud Foundry, you can tap into a growing ecosystem of runtime frameworks and services. In addition to providing additional frameworks and services, Bluemix provides a dashboard for you to create, view, and manage your applications and services as well as monitor your application's resource usage. The Bluemix dashboard also provides the ability to manage organizations, spaces, and user access.

Bluemix provides access to a wide variety of services that can be incorporated into an application. Some of these services are delivered through Cloud Foundry. Others are delivered from IBM and third party vendors. New and enhanced services are added to the catalog often. To see the current list of runtimes and services, and their status go to the Bluemix catalog.

Some of the commonly used runtimes are:

  • Node.js
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby

Some of the Bluemix services available from the expanding catalog include:

Service nameDescription
BigInsights for Hadoop Powered by InfoSphere BigInsights, which is based on open source Hadoop, this service provides the open source capabilities of HBase, Hive, MapReduce, Pig and others, including your own open source packages.
Business RulesEnables developers to spend less time recoding and testing when the business policy changes. This service minimizes your code changes by keeping business logic separate from application logic.
Cloudant NoSQL DBProvides access to a fully managed NoSQL JSON data layer that's always on. This service is compatible with CouchDB, and accessible through a simple to use HTTP interface for mobile and web application models.
Data CacheImprove the performance and user experience of web applications by retrieving information from fast, managed, in-memory caches, instead of relying entirely on slower disk-based databases.
DevOps Auto-ScalingEnables you to automatically increase or decrease the compute capacity of your application. The number of application instances are adjusted dynamically based on the Auto-Scaling policy you define.
Delivery Pipeline in the IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery serviceAdd Delivery Pipeline to an open toolchain to automate builds and deployments, test execution, configure build scripts, and automate execution of unit tests. Automatically build and deploy your application to IBM's cloud platform, Bluemix.
Embeddable ReportingUse a simple cloud editor then embed reports and dashboards in your web or mobile app using a wide variety of languages such as Node.js or Java using a RESTful API.
Geospatial AnalyticsLeverage real-time geospatial analytics to track when devices enter or leave defined regions.
Internet of ThingsLets your apps communicate with and consume data collected by your connected devices, sensors, and gateways.
Mobile Push NotificationsPush information to all application users or to a specific set of users and devices. You can even let users subscribe to specific tags or topics for notification.
MongoDBA popular NoSQL database
MQ LightDevelop responsive, scalable applications with a fully-managed messaging provider in the cloud. Quickly integrate with application frameworks through easy-to-use APIs.
RedisA popular distributed dictionary server used by many distributed applications
Secure GatewayBrings Hybrid Integration capability to your Bluemix environment. It provides secure connectivity from Bluemix to other applications and data sources running on-premise or in other clouds. A remote client is provided to enable secure connectivity.
SendgridSendgrid's cloud-based email infrastructure relieves businesses of the cost and complexity of maintaining email systems.
Session CacheImprove application resiliency by storing session state information across many HTTP requests. Enable persistent HTTP sessions for your application and seamless session recovery in event of an application failure.
Single Sign-OnImplement user authentication for your web and mobile apps quickly, using simple policy-based configurations.
SQL DatabaseAdd an on-demand relational database to your application. Powered by DB2, it provides a managed database service to handle web and transactional workloads.
Watson Alchemy APILeverage natural language processing and computer vision in your apps to deeply understand the world's conversations, documents and photos.
Watson Language TranslationConverts text input in one language into a destination language for the end user. Translation is available among English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Arabic.
Watson Personality InsightsDerives insights from transactional and social media data to identify psychological traits which determine purchase decisions, intent and behavioral traits; utilized to improve conversion rates.

For developers, Bluemix further optimizes the time you spend creating cloud application. You no longer have to be concerned about installing software or having to deal with virtual machine images or hardware. With a few clicks or keystrokes, you can provision instances of your applications with the necessary services to support them. This streamlining translates countless hours of setting up, configuring, and troubleshooting into time spent rapidly innovating and reacting to never-ending requirement changes.

For organizations, Bluemix provides a cloud platform that requires very little in-house technical know-how as well as cost savings. Bluemix provides the rapid development environment organizations need to react to users' demands for new features. The Bluemix platform and the cloud provide the elasticity and capacity flexibility organizations require when their applications explode in popularity.

For users, Bluemix represents the key that enables organizations to quickly deliver the features they demand.

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Zone=Cloud computing
ArticleTitle=What is IBM Bluemix?