IBM Steadily Building Bluemix as Critical Part of Its Cloud Strategy

IBM's Bluemix platform-as-a-Service offering, a critical component in the company's business growth strategy, is leading the way for Big Blue in attracting developers to a hybrid cloud platform.

IBM Bluemix 2

IBM celebrated the second anniversary of its Bluemix Platform as a Service by releasing a long list of new features at the company’s IBM InterConnect 2016 conference in Las Vegas last week.

The added functionality includes a set of new Watson APIs available on the IBM Watson Developer Cloud on Bluemix. These include three APIs in beta evaluation mode, Tone Analyzer, Emotion Analysis and Visual Recognition. In addition, IBM updated its existing Text to Speech (TTS) API with new emotional capabilities and made it generally available as Expressive TTS.

Since its introduction at the IBM Pulse conference two years ago, Bluemix has grown significantly. Bluemix is more than a typical PaaS, which enables enterprise developers to build, run, and manage applications without the expense and complexity of maintaining the computing infrastructure typically associated with modern software development.

Bluemix does all of that, but it also provides a broad catalog of services and adheres to IBM’s strict commitment to provide options for enterprises to run hybrid cloud environments.

IBM has a lot of incentive to steadily build up Bluemix. The rapid pace of these additions to the Bluemix platform's capabilities is evidence of its critical importance to IBM's strategy to get the company growing again. Cloud computing is one of the five strategic imperatives, along with data analytics, mobile, social and security that IBM has targeted to generate new revenue streams and reverse a long-standing trend of declining revenue from mature businesses.

Part of that strategy is to attract as many commercial and corporate developers as possible to the Bluemix platform. In particular, IBM is providing tools on Bluemix for developers who want to work with Apple's popular Swift programming language.

IBM added a Swift language runtime and a Swift Package Catalog to help developers create Swift apps in the enterprise. With these additions, developers can start building Swift apps on Bluemix and creating packages and submitting them to the Swift Package Catalog on Bluemix.

IBM said developers can build their Swift applications on Bluemix and deploy them with the company's open-source Kitura Web server on OSX and Linux.

“I think if you want to reach modern developers today, you need to reach them with a cloud solution,” Mike Gilfix, vice president of IBM MobileFirst Offering Management, told eWEEK. “By bringing Swift to Bluemix, we're making it possible for those developers to create their business logic on the cloud and do so simply.”

This is important, Gilfix said, because "once they do that, the next step is going to be to access the wealth and capability that we have in Bluemix. That's where it gets really interesting, where they can build a cognitive app, they can build an analytics app, and for business where they can go in and access their back end systems simply and quickly."

Along with Swift on Bluemix, Big Blue also delivered the IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk platform, which enables developers to build micro services that execute software code in response to events. When an event occurs, the code is automatically executed, IBM said.

"OpenWhisk is a server-less deployment model and it’s event-driven," Adam Gunther, program director of Cloud Platform Services and Developer Services and Developer Advocacy for IBM Cloud, told eWEEK.

"You really just upload your code and when an event happens your code is automatically executed. And if that event happens 1,000 times, the scale and everything you need behind that just automatically happens for you. And it’s built for speed,” Gunther said.

"We have a new technology called 'chaining' where developers can quickly glue together their code with code from teammates or with code from the community to make that all happen at once," he said.