Cloud Foundry / Bluemix Ecosystem – 2nd November 2016

The first meeting of the Cloud Foundry / Bluemix Development House UnConference place at the IBM South Bank offices this evening with a small and illustrious group of interested participants.

The plan with the meeting is for like minded companies engaged in Cloud Foundry /Bluemix projects, who know how to bring together value from services through micro-services, to share of skills and insight to help overcome business challenges to drive customer solutions and revenue opportunity.

This is in a new, growing and important market where teaming and collaboration will benefit all.

The early design is for outcomes such as:

    • Learn something new
    • Gain a new partnership
    • Identify an opportunity with mutual benefit and value

And over time:

    • Build a set of agile SIs /SW Houses – more skills/developer resources
    • Drive more revenue through apps on Bluemix

The software houses interested are:

  • Afrozaar.com
  • Armakuni
  • Chelsea App Factory
  • CodeTen
  • Cognitive Factory
  • DeeperThanBlue
  • EngineerBetter
  • Future Workshops
  • Hanno
  • HedgeHog Labs
  • KnowNow
  • Loft
  • Mars Spiders
  • R/GA
  • RNF Solutions
  • Softwire
  • Spica
  • Super Being Labs
  • The App Garden
  • VirTrade
  • Virtual Technologies
  • Xaeus Blue

However we were and will be joined by some larger systems integrators:

  • TCS
  • HCL
  • Wipro
  • Tech Mahindra

The thinking is also to widen and bring in the services providers and innovative solutions such as:

  • Signalbox
  • TransportAPI
  • Here.com
  • Push Technology
  • Flock
  • Entocycle

Hence the name change to Cloud Foundry / Bluemix Ecosystem.

This evening the discussion was very interactive and stimulated good debate:

  • Ben Fry – Armakuni shared the fact they are the providers of the Comic Relief donations platform support 500 donations/second and 100,000 concurrent users, running across multiple Cloud Foundry instances
  • Paul Tanner – Virtual Technologies – shared his interest in IoT specifically around energy assisted living, health and home accomodation
  • Vinod Balakrishnan and Prasad Rangnekar  both from TCS shared their support of solutions around the layers of OpsTech and InfoTech where the line between the two is ripe for disruption through new services provider integration between the two worlds with services made available via a platform as a service.
  • Prasad’s specific interest is in the area of Handling Cargo and the associated operations with consideration for Environmental factors, Safety and Health.

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  • Prasad presented a interest 7 layer diagram of the OpsTech and InfoTech
  • Rahit N also from TCS told us of AIDA UK a Watson based advisor for key words across multiple domains
  • Dan Young from Engineer Better who another Cloud Foundry systems integrator with  good skills in XP, TDD and Pairing alongside Engineering/Operations, Training, Consultancy skills with a focus on Cloud Native Apps

The discussion considered that we are just at an inflexion point where the interest in services on a PaaS is just starting upturn and that they are being recognised as platforms for change. However this is up against a certain amount of resistance from the more traditional part of IT who are responsible for the legacy systems. We must continue to recognise there are two types of IT, two architectural approaches and two speeds.

And what agile development centered on PaaS for innovation can bring to the legacy world is that through such practices as pair programming, for example, the recognition that application development in a social activity from which comes great collaboration, creativity and innovation, including a new face and a new life for legacy.

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Short journey to the API Economy

I work with many software vendors who is the new world of cloud computing come in many forms of business partner type as they try to harden their offerings into a something “as-a-Service”.

The starting point is the IBM Cloud Marketplace (http://ibm.biz/CloudWithSaaSShineMP) since that is the portal to the cloud for the IBM clients and where they can find IBM Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings and importantly IBM Business Partner SaaS offerings.

The IBM Cloud Marketplace provides a vendor to have a listing from which clients can purchase their offering. This is done by creating a listing and editions (packages) of value that the clients want to buy.

Once integrated into the IBM Cloud Marketplace then there is an option of being integrated INTO IBM Bluemix (http://ibm.biz/CloudWithSaaSShine). This  can provide an additional route to revenue which can be developed by partners by exposing any APIs of their service to other developers i.e. they effectively become one of Bluemix services in the Bluemix Catalogue, which is a subset of the IBM Cloud Marketplace !

In turn those services can run on IBM Softlayer (http://ibm.biz/CloudyWithSaaSShineSL) and benefit from optimized infrastructure as Bare Metal.

There is more in a couple of chart decks called “Short journey to the API Economy” and another “IBM Softlayer Bluemix Marketplace” can be found in my SlideShare Documents.

Here are the tools. You bring the code…

Set up of a developer environment takes time plus then you have to configure servers each step of the way for the life cycle management of the code. With DevOps Services the tools you need to code are in the cloud. Plus there are tools to plan your app and collaborate with others. In addition Bluemix provides the infrastructure and services in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about managing servers. You can spin up and shut down the infrastructure, runtimes and associated services you need as you develop.

Many developers are already using IBM Bluemix and DevOps services together in an integrated and interative way speeding up development, failing fast to get to market fast with the desired solution.

Combining DevOps and Bluemix means working with a system that significantly reduces the time needed to create and provision applications, allowing for flexible capacity in terms of storage, as well as bandwidth and processing. Bluemix handles the back-end infrastructure so that you can focus on the fun stuff: building great apps!

Why combine Bluemix and DevOps?

  • Automatically build and deploy your application to IBM’s cloud platform, Bluemix.
  • Get up and running in seconds. With integrated deployment to the IBM Bluemix cloud platform, you can go from source code to a running application with the click of a button.
  • Easily and securely integrate with back-end systems.
  • Easily runs your apps in any language, runtime of choice, enterprise application, open source technologies or favorite services.
  • Build applications in an environment that enables massive and open ecosystem.

Try Bluemix today!!

Want to know more?

IBM Watson and IBM Bluemix

Yesterday I was demonstrating #IBMBluemix live to the audience at the IBM Business Partner Executive Summit #IBMBPES.

In the demonstration I first show feature of the Dashboard and and then I go into the Catalog. As I scrolled through the numerous services I did think to myself “Wow! The are a lot of new Watson Services in Bluemix”  but didn’t dwell as I had my practiced script in full flow!

So it wasn’t until later in the day and the announcement of these services that I realised what I had very briefly previewed!

The 7 new services allow developers to enhance, scale, and accelerate human expertise by embedding Watson services and content into their apps through RESTful APIs. They are:

  • Concept Expansion: Maps euphemisms or colloquial terms to more commonly understood phrases
  • Language Identification: Identifies the language in which text is written
  • Machine Translation: Globalize on the fly. Translate text from one language to another
  • Message Resonance: Communicate with people with a style and words that suits them
  • Question and Answer: Direct responses to users inquiries fueled by primary document sources
  • Relationship Extraction: Intelligently finds relationships between sentences components (nouns, verbs, subjects, objects, etc.)
  • User Modeling: Improved understanding of people’s preferences to help engage users on their own terms

#Watson #Bluemix Services

That is another great aspect of IBM Bluemix and the building portfolio of services is that is always something new and exciting for you to discover and for you to benefit from it’s value.

IBM Bluemix

Over the last few weeks I have had many conversations with many partners and clients both big and small, established and startup on the subject of IBM Bluemix.

IBM Bluemix is IBM’s Platform as a Service – a common platform for accelerating new application development and operations and removing infrastructure complexity.

We know that companies of all sizes and types are looking at new ways to develop, deploy and manage applications to rapidly innovate their business models in response to the shifts driven by CAMS (cloud, analytics, mobile and social). Companies are seeking more nimble, lightweight approaches to build new applications and extend existing applications to new channels or what is known as Systems of Engagement.

To do this businesses are concerned with:

  • Speed:        How can I compose new application in days or weeks rather then in months or years?
  • Agility:        How can I improve applications based on analytics and feedback and how can I reallocate investment to areas that are aligned with new business priorities?
  • Multi-Channel:    How can I deliver consistent capabilities across web and mobile and new market requirements?
  • Skills-Gap:    How can I make my development teams more productive without a long and expensive ramp-up to keep pace with the latest technologies while maintaining existing systems?
  • Cost:        How can I get started quickly without requiring a big up-front investment in software, hardware or training.
  • Integration:    How can benefit from all the investment I have made in my existing systems and processes?
  • 4 V’s of Data:    How can manage and make sense of the Volume, Veracity, Variety and Velocity of the data the new systems will generate?

The emergence of Platform as a Service (Paas) which through integration enables Backend as a Service (BaaS) is a key enabler for this.  Backend as a Service is integration into the Systems of Record – the flip side of Systems of Engagement. And key drivers of this are the new generation of developers who play an increasingly important role in the selection and adoption of tools, languages and platforms.

IBM Bluemix answers these needs.  It provides a hosted platform that provides cloud-based development and deployment; pre-configured bundles designed with the essentials for specific domains such as Mobile, Analytics, Connected Car, Commerce; quick-time to market with the ability to rapidly compose applications from a marketplace of IBM and 3rd party services, quick-time to failure allowing developers to explore, learn, test services and create applications fast and quick-time to revenue with billing and procurement services
IBM Bluemix is a unique platform for new services that users require in new markets they are seeing emerge as their opportunities and as threats. Traditional infrastructure services and the associated labour is replaced by smart tools and a platform that removes much of the associated resources.

So sign up at www.bluemix.net and try out the application examples and get involved in the  Bluemix community.  I’d love to know what you think of it.

Helping drive good cloud service development

I learnt something new today courtesy of the CEO of a partner I met today. Over the last two weeks the subject if micro-services has crept into the discussions and emails. So when the CEO turns out to be an expert on micro-services I asked him to explain.

In his words a micro-service is “a service that can be built in a week of less”. This approach of quick time to market fits very well with the philosophy behind the IBM platform as a service (PaaS) IBM Bluemix. That is, to be able to create and deploy applications quickly, quick time to failure through iterative development and testing and ultimately quick time to market.

The new world of code development for the cloud is an area I am increasingly learning about as I work with partners who want to use IBM Bluemix and evolve content for the IBM Markeplace.

Following on from the idea that micro-services are quick to build is the fact that they are also easierto maintain, debug and support. With many micro-services potentially making up a broader application or service, you now have a set of discrete services that overall enables easier debugging maintenance and support. These many modules are smaller in size and less complex than larger modules therefore, in theory, if one fails it is less likely to destabilise the overall system. Or if it does then it is quick to fix or replace. This concept is know as “anti-fragility”.

Now the notion that something is potentially replaceable is what makes mcro-services and “anti-fragility” all the more interesting as only those micro-services that you know to be reliable and trusted start to be the winners in the market.

Let the market place determine the outcome.