IBM's Bluemix PaaS Seals the Apple Mobility Deal for Developers

IBM's Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) will play a key role in IBM's development strategy in its new enterprise mobility partnership with Apple.

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IBM’s enterprise mobility deal with Apple is a move that takes Big Blue’s MobileFirst strategy to a much higher level.

MobileFirst, which has been described by eWEEK as ingenious because it extends IBM’s strengths of providing services and middleware together with back-end support while ignoring the consumer-side handset battles, is the perfect complement to Apple’s successful device business. The move for the companies to work together to bring consumer-like device comfort and use to the enterprise is just what IBM had in mind when the company conceived MobileFirst.

Moreover, the partnership brings IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad. And it makes use of IBM’s unique Bluemix Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.

IBM’s Bluemix technology provides composable app creation and deployment capabilities in an open, common environment to reduce complexity. IBM is trying to accelerate the pace at which cloud computing will transform global industries. BlueMix features cloud integration services to enable a secure connection between an organization's public applications and private data; swift, secure and fast connections, via the cloud, between Internet of things and machine-to-machine device to store, query and visualize data; data and analytics as a service to allow the rapid design and scale of applications that turn big data into competitive intelligence; and DevOps services that support the complete developer lifecycle.

“We are adding a Bluemix mobile zone for iOS that will enable developers that live and work with Xcode and inside the iOS environment who want to benefit from Internet cloud storage or back-end integration, workflow, analytics and those types of capabilities,” Phil Buckellew, vice president of Enterprise Mobile at IBM, told eWEEK. “It will give them easy ways to plug into our SDKs and APIs and take advantage of those offerings that we have on Bluemix. That is one of the key pieces of what makes up what we call the IBM MobileFirst platform for iOS. And it will underpin a lot of the 100 native iOS solutions that our consulting teams are building out in combination with Apple designers to help address some of the top pain points in seven industry verticals.”

Those verticals are banking, insurance, telecommunications, retail, travel and transportation, and healthcare.

“We believe Bluemix is a fantastic way for developers to be able to get access to backend capabilities that our software offers and to do it on a per usage basis,” Buckellew said. “It’s free for developer usage and then you pay for what you use and consume. That’s an attractive model for a lot of people.”

The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration, IBM said. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

Buckellew noted that there is a lot of flexibility with some of the acquisitions IBM has made, such as SoftLayer.

Indeed, “We have great capability to run things in the geography that you want, he said. “That’s important to a lot of our clients. On top of Bluemix, we’ve got capabilities to run on SoftLayer on bare metal. We could put database servers where nobody else is on them except for your data and you still get that OPEX [operating expense] and cloud scalability benefit, but you also get to control the data. And it’s just your data and you can pick the country where it lives.