Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My weekend getaway with IBM Bluemix – A cloud platform providing PaaS with DevOps

As my usual ritual of going through technology tweets over the weekend, I got interested in exploring IBM Bluemix (which is based on Cloud Foundry) and decided to have first-hand experience of the same.
For those who do not have context of IBM Bluemix, a very short description is – Bluemix is implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture, built on Cloud Foundry, which enables rapid development, deployment and management of cloud applications.

4 Key Takeaways  - I have summarized key takeaways based on my experience with Bluemix:

Takeaway # 1 – A complete lifecycle for cloud-based software development
  • Bluemix does not provide only PAAS but also integrates seamlessly with IBM DevOps Services (which is completely cloud-based for continuous delivery).
  • Bluemix can support web application, mobile application, middle-tier services (e.g. cache service) and backend services (e.g. IBM Watson for Cognitive Applications) or system-of-record (e.g. NoSQL database like Mongo or MySQL)

Takeaway # 2 – A seamless integration of Paas & DevOps
  • DevOps in true sense -  It facilitates you to code online, track & plan and build & deploy applications completely on cloud platform. Also, it helps to automate unit testing & configure any build tool (Maven, Ant, Grunt, Gradle, npm, shell script) in few steps.
  • Workflow driven (aka delivery pipeline) to automatically control build & deploy your application to single/multiple cloud-based environments.

Takeaway # 3 – An open-source based platform to avoid vendor lock-in
  • Bluemix is an implementation of IBM's Open Cloud Architecture based on Cloud Foundry, an open source platform as a service (PaaS). Cloud Foundry is not vendor specific & does not lock you into any proprietary or custom cloud implementation.
  • You can choose to run Cloud Foundry in Public, Private, VMWare & OpenStack based clouds.

Takeaway # 4 – A future-ready extensible enterprise-level platform for Mobile, Big Data & IoT
  • Quickly scale-up like any cloud platform for your tenth or millionth user leveraging cloud services 
  • Provides ready-made templates (aka boilerplates), which provides configured runtime environment & predefined services for mobile apps & web apps. Also, scripts (aka buildpacks) available to support targeted PaaS (e.g. Java, Node.js) 
  • Can be extended to leverage current & future trends like Mobile, Cognitive Apps, Big Data & IoT (Internet-of-things) based applications.

For people interested in getting their hands dirty, here are detailed set of instructions to experience a sample web application using data cache service:

Step 1 – Get registered on IBM Bluemix & IBM DevOps Services
  • I got registered with IBM Bluemix (trial account for 30 days) at
  • I got registered on IBM DevOps (use existing IBM id or you can link different userid) at
  • You can explore Bluemix dashboard, which is very user friendly and I liked the UX (though at times, it tends to respond slowly).
 Step 2 – Add DataCache Service using Bluemix Dashboard
  • Click on “Add A Service”
  • Choose “Web And Application” category from left-hand pane
  • Click on “Create”. You can notice that it is free service with terms & conditions (100 MB usage is free).
  • Data Cache dashboard is up & running now

Step 3 – Create & Deploy Web Application in Bluemix

  • Deploy WAR using following commands:
o   Connect to IBM Cloud: cf api
o   Login to IBM Cloud: cf login
o   Deploy your app: cf push mycachewebbeta -p target\mycachewebbeta-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.war
o   Access your app:

  • Bluemix dashboard gets updated with new application:

Step 5 – Bind Web Application & Bind Service
  • Click on “mycachewebbeta” web application on dashboard 
  • Click on “Bind A Service” link 
  • Choose previously created data service

Step 6 – Test the web application for Cache Put/Get
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