by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

PULSE 2014: IBM moves toward a faster, more agile cloud

Big Blue announces Bluemix, Cloudant at Pulse conference

Published February 24, 2014


Cloud is changing the way organizations do business, and IBM is making moves to change how organizations bring services to market. “This year, it’s about speed,” says Moe Abdula, VP of SmartCloud Foundation, during Monday’s keynote at IBM’s Pulse conference held in the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.  “Speed is really the new currency.”

Development tools that emphasize speed and agility are at the forefront of IBM’s Pulse announcements. IBM’s new platform-as-a-service offering, codenamed Bluemix, combines the strength of IBM software, third-party and open technologies. Bluemix provides DevOps—services for developers in building enterprise applications more quickly and efficiently—in the cloud in an open, integrated environment.

“We are building our next generation PaaS (platform-as-a-service) and composable services environment on Cloud Foundry, an open framework,” says Jamie Thomas, General Manager, Software Defined Systems, IBM Systems and Technology Group. She explains that IBM’s support of OpenStack, along with the linking together of Cloud Foundry and JQuery, will form IBM’s cloud focus moving forward.

eyeQ Inc., a provider of customer engagement tools for brick-and-mortar retailers, is a pilot customer of Bluemix.

“The experience has been great,” says Jim Wang, founder and CTO of eyeQ Inc. “Bluemix allows us as developers to build products and get them to market fast. It allows us to focus more time on product development. It allows us to evolve and rethink how we develop software, and also allows us to integrate into many of the offerings of Bluemix.”

IBM also announced a definitive agreement to acquire Boston-based Cloudant, Inc., a privately held database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider that enables developers to create next-generation mobile and web apps. Cloudant will extend IBM’s big data and analytics, cloud computing and mobile offerings and become a component of Bluemix.

Cloudant was founded in 2008 and partnered with SoftLayer in 2009. “We learned over time that customers who were depending upon us for critical business applications really … we could meet their needs best by provisioning dedicated data-based clusters with them directly,” says Adam Kocoloski, co-founder and CTO of Cloudant, explaining that, through the dictates of their customers, they found themselves leaning toward a duality of a multi-tenant premium service as well as a dedicated on-demand database clustering service.

“Database-as-a-service … one of the key things is to enable application developers to focus on their core competencies; what it is that you are building that is unique and differentiating about what you do and don’t worry about the generic job of managing your application state,” he explains. “These are themes around which we build cloud; we build something that is durable and available and scalable. The way we do that is a mix of intellectual property and technology that is designed for that capability combined with our expertise as the authors and as the service operators. I firmly believe it’s this combination of technology and expertise that allows one to meet the kind of SLAs that are necessary for applications that can measure down time and dollars.”

During the keynote address on Monday, Dave Lindquist, IBM fellow and CTO of cloud, explains the relevancy of open technologies and why an open cloud architecture is so important to a dynamic cloud.

“Businesses … are extending their reach with mobile to their customers, partners, and employees,” says Lindquist. “They are creating compelling interactions with social networking and their developing business insights to better understand communities, their customers, with big data and analytics. This next generation of applications is being developed with a highly iterative DevOps process—it’s about speed; it’s all about speed.”

OpenStack is the leading open-source infrastructure-as-a-service product and is complimented by Cloud Foundry’s open PaaS framework. Cloud Foundry enables rapid application development.

“Any organizations that really have a great asset base that represents the core of their business are starting to look at cloud as a way to deliver services much better,” says Abdula. “Folks are really coming at it from cloud and mobile first, and they are coming at it with the idea that delivering value really starts with delivering the end application or experience and therefore leveraging the best of breed.”

In the case of OpenStack, people are coming together because cloud is touching everybody, he continues. “OpenStack is bringing momentum. An open approach is the only way one can succeed with their cloud implementation.

“Cloud is a transformation,” he says. “The key to this is to really think about small steps, define what success means, define a small project ... once you’ve done that, take that next step further in terms of trying to deliver value.



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