IBM Soups Up Bluemix With New Services, Customers

As IBM's Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) catches on with more customers, Big Blue continues to add more services to the platform, including DevOps.

IBM Bluemix cloud platform

ORLANDO–IBM added new services to its Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) and announced that businesses of all sizes are rapidly adopting IBM Bluemix to develop software in the cloud.

In addition, Big Blue announced that Bluemix, which was delivered as a preview at IBM’s Pulse 2014 conference in February, will become generally available at the end of June. IBM made the announcements at its IBM Innovate 2014 conference here. The key theme at IBM Innovate is “[email protected]

Bluemix, IBM’s open cloud platform, is based on an open standards foundation, Cloud Foundry, and provides developers access to IBM’s software, known as middleware, for integration, security, transactions and other key functions, as well as software from business partners. As a result, it can help developers to connect two broad categories of systems in a hybrid cloud environment: systems of record, such as core banking and accounting systems, and systems of engagement, such as mobile, situational and social apps.

“IBM has been building middleware for many years,” said Steve Robinson, general manager of cloud platform services at IBM, during the general session at IBM Innovate 2014. Moreover, “In the fall, we’ll let you publish your own services to Bluemix,” Robinson said.

The new services IBM introduced are built upon IBM’s strengths in big data, analytics and open standards. The services include AppScan to build security by design via rapid testing in multiple environments and shared results; embeddable reporting services to build advanced analytics within an app from the moment its provisioned–turning volumes of big data into actionable feedback; workflow services to orchestrate cloud services, evolving workflows based on their behavior; and continuous delivery Pipeline services to enable organizations to manage multiple application releases simultaneously, giving them the increasingly competitive advantage of rapid, accurate software delivery.

Meanwhile, businesses from startups to large enterprises touted their use of Bluemix to help deliver projects faster and more efficiently. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) organization talked about how they dramatically reduced the expected delivery time of its pilot mobile app from months to weeks. GE Capital said it has built a banking Website and other apps with unexpected speed; Financial Insurance Management Corp. (FIMC) said it rapidly created a mobile app to increase renewal rates by 30 percent; and startups MyMenu and aPersona said they are scaling core business apps with improved speed and innovation.

“Since Bluemix was launched just three months ago, we’ve seen a rapid ramp-up of third-party and IBM services available to developers who want to use DevOps in the cloud to create composable, enterprise-class apps,” said Steve Robinson, in a statement. “Much of this evolution stems from work we’ve done with clients and our collaboration with our growing, open standards-based ecosystem. We can expect this momentum to continue as a bigger share of nearly 18 million developers globally move the bulk of their app development to the cloud.”

BART is a public, rapid transit system serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Working with IBM business partner Synchrony Systems, BART will pilot Bluemix DevOps to reach into the troves of data in its expansive physical infrastructure of 44 stations, 104 miles of track, sensors, maintenance systems, trains and more, and plans to use this intelligence to build and deploy a mobile app allowing BART supervisors to track real-time train data via mobile updates,” IBM said. “By combining DevOps capabilities with Bluemix’s secure connection to back-end data, BART’s previous estimates as to the time it will take to complete its first mobile app have drastically changed.”

“BART has a huge volume of incredibly valuable information living in its infrastructure: from trains to tracks to maintenance reports,” said Slavik Zorin, CEO of Synchrony Systems, in a statement. “We are looking to the Bluemix DevOps model to give us the tools we need to rapidly tap all of this important data into a new, interactive mobile platform for BART to roll out to its mobile workforce–improving maintenance response and providing better service.”

GE Capital, the financial services unit of General Electric, recently aimed to accelerate software delivery and optimize the resources of top IT talent, allowing them to create products such as the company’s Fleet Optimizer, an analytics app that enables vehicle fleet managers to optimize performance. The company built a DevOps platform, deploying build, test and production cloud environments accessible to global teams - drastically increasing visibility through real-time dashboards and continuous feedback, and speeding deployment of predictive analytics apps, Websites and other software, with Bluemix.

“We built software and apps, such as our award-winning bank – - from scratch in weeks to months – instead of months to years,” said Snehal Antani, CIO of Enterprise Architecture at GE Capital Americas. “By bringing together a strong IT foundation based on DevOps, we can execute and deliver requirements faster – giving us the agility of a startup with the resources of a large enterprise.”