IBM Bluemix
IBM Bluemix

IBM has announces a raft of new services that are being delivered in its Bluemix Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution including IBM Streaming Analytics and data warehousing solutions.

IBM’s announcement comes just a couple of days after it announced a deal with Hootsuite that would also include new components for Bluemix. Also this week, HP announced that it was adding support for analytics and streaming data with the next version of its HP Vertica solution.

IBM Cloud Tools

There are two key parts to this announcement:

  1. IBM Streaming Analytics: Now in beta, IBM is announcing that it will make it easier to scale and link to thousands of data sources on the cloud. IBM is already providing customers with access to open data projects in both the US and the UK as part of the Watson Data Cloud. Streaming Analytics will also enable customers planning Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, a way of capturing data from very large numbers of sources and scaling up in order to do real-time and near to real-time analytics.
  2. IBM dashBM: This is a fully managed cloud data warehouse and analytics solution. According to the press release IBM has now added three new updates:
    1. Enabling Enterprise Performance: IBM added MPP (massively parallel processing) capabilities to enable faster query processing and overall scalability.
    2. Compatibility Enhancements: With Oracle and Netezza compatibility, dashDB MPP easily connects with existing database investments to reach new performance heights built on massively parallel processing cluster architecture.
    3. Existing Ecosystem Integration: Businesses can solve harder problems faster with built-in Netezza analytics libraries, and integration with Watson Analytics, R, Cognos and third party BI toolsets including Looker, Aginity Workbench and Tableau. dashDB can integrate with Twitter data and Open Data, and supports data preparation with DataWorks.

It will be interesting to see how quickly developers take advantage of these new features. There is a lot of interest from startups who want to create new apps around real-time data but who have struggled to bring multiple data sources together effectively. There will also be a lot of interest from enterprise developers who will see this as helping them with specific challenges such as how to capture all the data required to do real-time security analytics across the business network.

The dashDB announcement will also appeal to enterprise developers as well as users who are currently doing a lot of data analytics as part of their job. IBM has been keen to promote Bluemix as more than just a tool for developers and office nerds. Whether the updates to dashDB and delivering that through Bluemix can suddenly unlock a hitherto untapped pool of innovative apps developed by users is unlikely. However if all it does is make it possible for those doing data analytics to do things easier and faster, it will be welcomed by many users.

Bluemix benefitting from a fight for new developers

HP and IBM have joined Microsoft in giving away free access to their PaaS environments and tools to educational institutes and startups. The benefit for educational institutes is that can reassign their software budgets into acquiring faculty skills to help teach programming. This is a significant saving for many of them and this great tool giveaway is backed by global competitions where the winners often get internships and the opportunity to show their skills to future employers.

Businesses like this approach. After decades of under investment in IT education, they are seeing vendors help educational institutes close the gap between graduate skills and business needs. This is not just about providing a more skilled workforce.

A major goal of making tools so readily available and increasing the breadth of tooling is to hook to a new wave of startup businesses and solo developers. These are people who are building app-based businesses both inside and outside enterprise IT departments. Many of these developers see themselves as entrepreneurs and are quick to take advantage of new platforms and access to free enterprise grade tools in order to develop new apps.

Startups and small developers are also more likely to use cloud-based infrastructure as they lack the funds to buy large amounts of traditional IT resources. The investment community is also keen to see these businesses utilise cloud as it means money invested goes on people, skills and innovation rather than chunks of hardware.

Developers can access the new services via https://console.ng.bluemix.net/

Conclusion

Bluemix was launched with a $1 billion investment in 2014. Since then, IBM has been making increasing numbers of components available to developers and extended the reach of Bluemix to support both its mainframe and Power Systems platforms.

PaaS environments are closing the gap between legacy enterprise IT systems, mobile and cloud. Corporate development teams are taking advantage of running internal PaaS environments as well as hooking them into a hybrid cloud development world.

By adding in streaming analytics and further integrating Bluemix with Watson and a range of other IBM software tools, IBM is making it easier for small developers and startups to deliver solutions for large enterprises.

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