Big Blue's Bluemix bellows 'We do DevOps too!' until blue in face

IBM adds deployment and testing toolchain templates

Hoping to make its Bluemix rent-a-cloud more accommodating for rapid application development and deployment, IBM on Tuesday added three new services designed to accommodate development – and operations-oriented toolchains.

Bluemix, IBM's SoftLayer-based, Cloud Foundry-flavored platform-as-a-service, has added Continuous Delivery to give IT personnel a central place to configure and view customized and preconfigured sets of tools that assist with development and operations.

A sample toolchain might, for example, support a basic containerized app with GitHub as a code repository and issue tracker, Orion as a web IDE, IBM Pipeline for delivery, and Bluemix for running the container. Or it might support a microservice by incorporating Sauce Lab's cloud-based automated testing service, PagerDuty for incident response, and Slack for collaboration and communication, among other elements.

Templated sets of services provide organizations with an easy way to start projects with a consistent set of tools.

Bluemix offers a handful of pre-made templates, some of which include services from firms involved in partnerships with IBM like GitHub and Slack. But it also allows people to construct their own sets of development and deployment services. Either way, IBM wouldn't mind if its other services like Watson – its on-demand AI – get integrated as well.

Another new Bluemix service, the Delivery Pipeline, automates the software build process, testing, and deployment in order to reduce development time – often by catching errors before they make it to production builds. Automating such processes is central to the DevOps ethos.

The third addition to Bluemix, Availability Monitoring, works in conjunction with Continuous Delivery, constantly simulating the interaction of users from around the world with web applications and their APIs in order to detect potential problems. It can be integrated with other applications in the toolchain, to ensure the appropriate people get notified of anomalies.

Availability Monitoring may soon take on a life of its own: IBM says it intends to work with Slack to improve communications tools for the Slack platform, including a Slackbot backed by Watson's conversational capabilities and another bot capable of recognizing and reporting IT and network operational incidents.

In an email to The Register, Randy Newell, director of DevOps and cloud management for IBM, said that while the new services don't really change the sorts of projects best suited for Bluemix, they will make it easier to scale DevOps toolchains and ensure cross-project consistency.

"In today's competitive landscape, DevOps teams are under constant pressure to create and deploy applications and updates quickly and seamlessly to keep up with end-user expectations and demand," said Newell. "Yet, developers oftentimes must rely on disparate tools that don't easily work together and in tandem to get the job done ... Overall, we hope to make it easier and faster for developers to create applications in the cloud."

According to Newell, 20,000 new developers join Bluemix each week. ®


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