LAS VEGAS -- IBM continues to re-architect its $100 billion cloud business with a new PaaS to speed up Web development and plans to port dozens of existing enterprise applications to its rock star platform, SoftLayer.
The company, which aims to be a major cloud service provider, also added Database as a Service (DBaaS) to its lineup with the acquisition of Cloudant this week.
BlueMix delivers IBM software as composable services
At its Pulse 2014 conference here, the company rolled out a beta of BlueMix, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) to help developers create cloud-based enterprise applications quickly. This gives developers access to IBM's entire software portfolio as “composable services.”
BlueMix is capable of running applications built in any available language and ascribes to open standards, according to Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM’s Software and Cloud Group.
“With BlueMix, people can start building new apps by composing pre-integrated services that can be tied together into applications," LeBlanc said in his keynote address. "People in IT want to build the next generation of applications and they need to do it fast. Developers have to start thinking in terms of 18 weeks and not 18 months for development cycles.”
Garry Russell, product and services director for Loft Group, a business consultancy based in Australia was impressed with the capabilities of BlueMix and SoftLayer and hopes it can help transport his entire business to the cloud.
“We deployed our platform on to SoftLayer right off because we are taking our whole advertising and media business to the cloud," Russell said. "BlueMix will give a lot of larger tier one companies such as banks enterprise-level collaborative operation.”
One IT professional, also impressed with the development demonstrations he saw here, said he won't take on BlueMix in his IT shop without a lot of training.
“I can see the power this offers, but teaching the technology that is under the covers of [BlueMix and SoftLayer] would take us some time and training," said Tim Johnson, an IT professional based in Las Vegas. "We are still working on some of our first cloud projects.”
In concert with BlueMix, IBM is building what it said will be a stable of developer services aimed at mobile, Web apps, integration, DevOps and data management.
IBM will also continue to make available to developers its suites of Software as a Service-based business applications as composable API-based services, including Watson.
BlueMix works with Cloud Foundry, an open source PaaS technology which helps third party and corporate developers avoid lock in while at the same time allows them to use their existing application development skills.
IBM has joined the board of directors of Cloud Foundry, which was spun off this week by Pivotal into an independent non-profit foundation.
SoftLayer: the lynchpin of IBM's cloud
IBM also said it will bring its entire middleware portfolio over to SoftLayer. It will do so through pre-defined software “patterns” that the company claims makes it easier to extend on-premises applications to the cloud.
The IBM Software Patterns are designed to enable portability across hybrid cloud environments for more flexibility in deploying applications and middleware both on-premises and off-premises, according to LeBlanc.
The company also acquired Cloudant, a DBaaS provider, based in Boston, that lets developers create mobile and Web apps. The deal is expected to further extend IBM's big data and analytics strategies. The technology will become a component of BlueMix.
IBM also launched its Platform LSF and Platform and Platform Symphony Software as a Service on SoftLayer.