IBM is addressing three fundamental issues to help speed the adoption of hybrid Clouds:
1) Enabling enterprise developers for the Cloud: According to Evans Data, there are more than 18 million software developers worldwide yet less than 25 percent are developing for the Cloud today. As the industry moves to the Cloud era, millions of developers are looking to access tools and services that will enable them to leverage this fast-emerging opportunity.
2) Integrating across enterprise environments: Enterprises are looking to innovate and drive significant value in a new era of hybrid Clouds, which link systems of engagement - built on mobile and social technologies and where consumers are engaging with organisations - with systems of record where data and transactions are processed.
3) An open ecosystem and platform for development that accelerates innovation and fosters growth: Developers are looking for a dynamic application development environment to support the Cloud era. A new development platform should be open and flexible and make it easier for corporate developers and independent companies alike to create applications and connect them to existing computing systems.
In response to these market dynamics, today IBM is announcing three new sets of Cloud capabilities:
1) IBM is opening its extensive enterprise software portfolio to the Cloud and launching an open beta codenamed BlueMix, a new platform-as-service (PaaS) that combines the strength of IBM software, third-party and open technologies. BlueMix provides DevOps in the Cloud - an open, integrated development experience that scales. DevOps services help developers, independent firms and enterprise teams get started to build enterprise applications more quickly and effectively. DevOps services enable developers to focus on continuously delivering new functions by learning from their users. Today, IBM also signed a definitive agreement to acquire Boston, Massachusetts-based Cloudant Inc., a privately held database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider that enables developers to easily and quickly create next generation mobile and web apps. Cloudant will extend IBM's Big Data and Analytics, Cloud Computing and Mobile offerings and become an essential component of BlueMix.
2) IBM is bringing its middleware portfolio, such as WebSphere, to SoftLayer through pre-defined software "patterns" to easily extend existing applications to the Cloud. With more than 200 application and middleware patterns available from IBM and IBM Business Partners, the IBM Software Patterns are differentiated in that they enable application portability across a hybrid Cloud environment, providing the flexibility to deploy applications and middleware on-premise or off-premise, simplifying hybrid IT management.
3) IBM continues to invest in and expand the services running on SoftLayer, including DevOps to provide essential capabilities to plan, develop, test, deploy and monitor applications, and systems management as a service, extending its industry leading solutions to the Cloud. IBM is integrating its Power Systems into its SoftLayer Cloud infrastructure to deliver a level and breadth of infrastructure services beyond what has traditionally been available over the Cloud.
"IBM is ushering in a bold new era of innovation by partnering with developers in an open environment to accelerate the emerging world of hybrid Cloud computing", stated Robert LeBlanc, IBM Senior Vice President, Software and Cloud Solutions. "We are combining the strength of our developer ecosystem with the depth of subject matter expertise in domains such as mobile, Big Data and DevOps, to build a scalable model that easily spans from a single developer to global teams. Today's announcement is another significant move in extending true cloud integration - not just to existing data and transaction services but to a new class of emerging applications."
This new application development environment delivers the speed and flexibility of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to allow developers to more quickly compose and build enterprise-grade applications for the Cloud era by providing access to IBM's vast software portfolio as composable services.
This PaaS/services combination, built on open standards and taking advantage of Cloud Foundry, enables developers to avoid vendor lock-in while leveraging their existing application development assets and skills, which is essential for building hybrid Clouds. IBM is providing developers an open, flexible Cloud environment connecting the enterprise and born-on-the-web developers using their choice of tools, whether IBM, third-party, or open technologies, in a scalable environment.
Building on more than 20 years of commitment and leadership in driving open standards, IBM also will serve as a founding member of the Cloud Foundry Foundation. The goal of this foundation is to create and develop open source platform-as-a-service ecosystems.
As part of BlueMix, IBM is building a line-up of developer services focused on mobile, web apps, integration, DevOps and data management. In addition, IBM is continuing to make available to developers its suites of business applications (SaaS) as composable API-based services, such as Watson, commerce, security, analytics, marketing and others. As an example, using BlueMix, developers can leverage middleware services to build a new sales app that can provide retail associates with access to inventory management information from systems of record at the time of customer engagement.
BlueMix DevOps services provide an integrated experience to help developers accelerate time to market and improve quality. DevOps includes services to store and manage code - using the popular Git repository, a built-in Web integrated development environment (IDE), and Eclipse and Visual Studio integrations to let developers use whichever environment they prefer. DevOps Services enable agile planning and tracking to share work and collaborate across team members, as well as application deployment automation to streamline the delivery of new function, mobile quality, and performance monitoring to help learn and iterate more quickly. By integrating across the software delivery lifecycle, DevOps services help developers move faster from an idea to an application that meets users' needs.
In the automotive industry connected vehicles will rely on a strong IT structure and the Cloud has become increasingly important in this area. The international automotive supplier Continental is using the BlueMix platform to offer Cloud-based connected solutions that will pave the way for Automated Driving.
"The investment in IBM BlueMix addresses a much needed gap for Continental that allows us to move more quickly through the Cloud in the development of our connected solutions. The automobile industry is following the same trajectory as other devices becoming connected and we see great opportunity for exciting connected features that will transform the future of mobility using the BlueMix platform to create value for motorists and make driving safer, more comfortable and efficient", stated Brian Droessler, Vice President, Software and Connected Solutions, Continental Automotive Systems.
IBM is bringing its extensive middleware portfolio to SoftLayer with IBM Software Patterns. Organisations can maximize existing application investments using these pre-defined patterns that are created to capture the many steps for deploying and managing an application.
IBM Software Patterns are portable between on-premise and off-premise environments, providing the flexibility to deploy applications and middleware to meet dynamic business requirements. Available through the PureApplication Service on SoftLayer beta, IBM Software Patterns open up new possibilities to simplify common IT processes such as DevOps. IT teams can quickly create off-premise environments in the Cloud to complete tasks such as application testing and quality assurance, then transfer the applications back to an on-premise production environment. Additionally developers can create their own patterns - writing them once and deploying them on-premise or off-premise - using IBM tools and services, or select from more than 200 Software Patterns provided by IBM and IBM Business Partners ranging from traditional ERP/CRM and Business Intelligence to Web and mobile applications.
For example, independent software vendor (ISV) Exigen Insurance Solutions has created an application pattern for its insurance industry solution using the IBM Web Application middleware pattern. With the PureApplication Service on SoftLayer, Exigen can now address new market segments offering clients the option to develop and run Exigen core systems across a hybrid cloud environment making it easier for clients to optimize total costs.
IBM is making SoftLayer the foundation of its Cloud portfolio. Building on the company's recent $1.2 billion investment to expand SoftLayer's global footprint with new data centres worldwide, IBM is announcing additional new Cloud services on SoftLayer:
1. IBM Systems Management as a Service: IBM is addressing the critical needs of IT operations by extending its industry leading service management solutions to the Cloud. Built on decades of experience in managing some of the most scalable IT systems in the world, IBM is introducing a comprehensive set of IT management solutions. With just a few clicks, IT practitioners can try and buy systems management as-a-service solutions providing instant insights and value. With these new solutions, IBM provides IT practitioners with the ability to optimize how they manage mixed workloads - both Cloud and on-prem - along with connected devices and business applications across any given organisation. The new offerings are available both as-a-service hosted on IBM SoftLayer and as on-premise installed software, providing clients with deployment and management choice and flexibility.
2. Power on SoftLayer: Beginning next quarter and continuing over time, SoftLayer's first service built on Power Systems will be IBM Watson solutions, followed by additional offerings leveraging Power Systems' advantages of optimization for data and analytics performance. The preliminary set of planned offerings includes:
3. IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service on SoftLayer: IBM also announced Platform LSF and Platform Symphony software delivered as a service for technical computing and analytics workloads running on SoftLayer.