IBM Wants to Blur Lines Between Enterprise Data Center and Cloud

Intros on-prem PaaS, enables app mobility via Docker APIs, beefs up dev tools

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

February 24, 2015

2 Min Read
IBM Wants to Blur Lines Between Enterprise Data Center and Cloud
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty delivers a keynote at 2014 Mobile World Congress. (Photo: IBM)

IBM unleashed a slew of announcements around its cloud services Monday, all aimed at creating a seamless environment across on-premise enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructure.

The glue that keeps everything together is Bluemix, IBM’s Platform-as-a-Service based on the open source PaaS software called Cloud Foundry. The vision is to give developers the ability to mix and match application components through APIs, Bluemix being the layer abstracting the underlying infrastructure, from on-prem data center to public cloud.

The company wants to enable control and security of private cloud in this hybrid model, creating an “environment that mirrors existing controls,” according to the news release.

IBM is dedicating a lot of resources to this big hybrid cloud initiative. The company said more than half of its cloud development team will work on hybrid, and “hundreds” will work on open cloud standards.

“This will help break down the barriers between clouds and on premise IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility and security as they utilize the public and private clouds,” Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president for IBM Cloud, said in a statement.

In-House Bluemix Enables Hybrid PaaS

One part of the announcement that brings the vision closer is an in-house version of Bluemix. Deployed in the customer’s own enterprise data center, it integrates with the public PaaS, giving a developer the ability to use a single platform that combines flexibility of public cloud with control of the on-prem data center for pieces of the application that require it.

Public Bluemix services went into general availability in July 2014, also as part of IBM's big $1.2 billion cloud push announced in 2014.

App Mobility via Docker APIs

Monday’s announcement also had a big application mobility piece, crucial to the heterogeneous-infrastructure vision. That mobility is achieved by employing application containers. IBM has made it possible to use native Linux containers with Docker APIs to move an app built in a cloud to an in-house data center to work on data that must remain on premises. Docker is a logical choice, since it is currently the most popular application container technology.

Additionally, IBM has launched new tools aimed at increasing developer productivity. These include orchestration across hybrid environments, collaboration, and self-service provisioning, among others.

Sydney, Montreal Data Centers Coming Online Shortly

Bluemix and other IBM cloud services are hosted in the company’s SoftLayer data centers, and it has been aggressively expanding the footprint of this infrastructure.

Along with announcing the new hybrid cloud strategy, IBM said it was close to launching new cloud data centers in Sydney and Montreal. The company expects to bring the two new sites online within the next 30 days.

They are part of the $1.2 billion investment in cloud services the company announced in 2014. Three data centers have been launched since the announcement: in Frankfurt, in Tokyo, and in Queretaro, Mexico.

Also this year, IBM plans to launch new cloud data centers in Milan and in Chennai, India.

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