IBM officially launched its Bluemix Local service, bringing it out of preview.
Big Blue debuted Bluemix Local at its InterConnect 2015 conference last February and today accelerated the company's hybrid cloud capabilities by delivering this cloud platform that enables enterprises to quickly and securely build apps and deploy them across public, private and on-premises environments.
"With the delivery of Bluemix Local, IBM now has the broadest spectrum of hybrid cloud capability in the industry," Steve Robinson, general manager of Cloud Platform Services at IBM, said in a statement. "Developers are using APIs and building data-intensive apps at an explosive rate, but many, particularly those in heavily regulated industries, want the choice to keep sensitive workloads within their own data center. Clients want options. Now, we are empowering developers to build, deploy and run next generation apps in the environment they need, with the flexibility to shift across hybrid clouds in a simple click."
IBM says enterprises today are spending more time managing their infrastructure and moving data and apps between disparate cloud environments, which forces them to sacrifice on either security or speed. Bluemix Local brings the speed and ease of app development on Bluemix behind an organization's firewall. With its write-once, run-anywhere feature, enterprises can build and run apps in the cloud that stitch together existing systems and connect data and APIs into a single environment, while keeping apps current across all platforms.
"Though Bluemix Local is designed to run behind an organization's firewall, it is also fully integrated and synched with the Bluemix cloud service," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "That means that companies can develop apps that leverage internal/external data and APIs, and are also easy to keep current with all related platforms. This speaks to the way that Bluemix Local adds to IBM's cloud strategy, as well as its Bluemix efforts."
Bluemix is built on the Cloud Foundry platform, and its open architecture allows for increased flexibility for enterprises. This is significant for organizations in regulated industries such as banking, health care and financial services that must follow strict mandates and internal policies for how security, compliance and sensitive customer data is handled outside of their corporate network. For most organizations, a hybrid cloud approach is the preferred model for connecting these worlds, IBM said.
For instance, CaixaBank, one of the largest financial institutions in Spain with a customer base of 13.8 million customers, more than 5,300 branches and nearly 10,000 ATMs, has chosen Bluemix Local to support business applications migrating from its local, and private, Cloud Foundry-based platform as a service (PaaS).
"Bluemix Local qualifies as yet another solution that IBM has crafted to meet the discrete requirements of enterprise customers," King said. "As such, it should help the company's efforts around Cloud Foundry-based PaaS—which research firm ESG [Enterprise Strategy Group] says are growing 10 times faster than the overall PaaS market. Frankly, not every business requires the levels of security and control offered by Bluemix Local but those that do will be hard pressed to find solutions that offer as rich a set of tools and features as IBM's new Bluemix Local."
New capabilities of Bluemix Local include Relay technology, created by IBM cloud development teams, that ensures all cloud environments remain current. Relay can instantly sync updates across environments, allowing enterprises to experience the same cloud, content and visibility, regardless of location.
In addition, Bluemix Local provides access to IBM's open-standards-based syndicated catalog of more than 120 services so that enterprises can build and extend apps and services. With a private catalog and API management services, enterprises can create and monetize their own APIs.
For instance, using the syndicated catalog through Bluemix Local, a wealth manager at a financial services organization can leverage the Watson Personality Insights API to better understand and service their customer. By analyzing communication between the wealth manager and the customer—a company could build an individual personality index to determine if that person is a risk-taker or more cautious in their investment approach. By narrowing down these personality traits, financial services organizations can provide more insightful recommendations, resulting in highly satisfied customers.
Bluemix Local also features a single admin console that enables enterprises to control their overall cloud platform with visibility through a single dashboard of their public, private and on-premises Bluemix environments, including real-time releases, updates and patches. Users also can sync data across geographies using IBM's global network of cloud data centers that are operated throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.
"Bluemix Local has several interesting facets. First and foremost, it provides an option for running/using tools which before were only available as a cloud service as internally deployed, managed and secured services," King said. "That's an important issue for security-sensitive companies in heavily regulated industries like finance, banking and healthcare. In addition, since the new solution can be leveraged across IBM's network of worldwide cloud data centers, Bluemix Local is likely to appeal to global enterprises that are trying to standardize app development across numerous locales."