IBM delivers unicorns and rainbows: Fully hybrid Bluemix offering

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Hybrid, like the Pepsi commercial went, the choice of a new generation. IBM wants to leverage this fact and is announcing some technologies that push the hybrid story further.

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IBM is an interesting beast. They have a massive existing customer base, but their enterprise credibility isn't winning them the hearts and minds of the "clouderati.” That's not to say that IBM isn't trying -- they've acquired some high-profile cloud businesses, have invested billions of dollars into cloud offerings and continuously talk a cloud story. But perhaps because of some baggage from its past, IBM hasn't had an easy time being seen as one of the "cool kids in the cloud."

Which is a good reason to ponder why IBM is trying so hard to be something that it's not. We see on a daily basis research reports that suggest just how massive the traditional IT world is, and just how much potential there is delivering tried and tested enterprise grade services to organizations. Take that demand, and offer a compelling continuum of products that span traditional on-premises and cloud worlds and you have something that, while not as cool as your average AirBNB or Netflix story, can still generate massive revenue.

So from this perspective, it is kind of refreshing to see IBM talk more strongly about offering hybrid products and services. It seems a good fit for Big Blue's existing product base but, more importantly, is a natural angle for a huge proportion of the company's customers as well. This hybrid message is being extended today with some news for Bluemix, IBM's platform as a service. The news is all intended to advance Bluemix's hybrid cloud capabilities, and answer organizations' demands to build once and run anywhere -- be it public, private or on-premise infrastructures.

The new offering, Bluemix Local, takes the ease of development that organizations already experience with Bluemix, but deliver it behind a client's firewall. It may not be sexy, moving a solution from the cloud to on-premises, but it's a pragmatic response to what's happening in the world. Particularly relevant for regulated industries such as healthcare, finance and banking, Bluemix Local allows customers to build and run apps in the cloud that stitch together existing systems and connect data and API's into a single environment, while keeping apps current across all platforms.

A case in point is, CaixaBank, the largest financial institution in Spain with a customer base of more than 14 million customers. The bank, which has over 5,000 branches and nearly 9,500 ATMs, has chosen Bluemix Local to support business applications migrating from its local, and private, Cloud Foundry-based platform as a service. Key features of Bluemix Local include:

  • Relay, new tethering technology created by IBM cloud development teams ensures that all cloud environments are kept current by enabling enterprises to move apps from on-premises to the public cloud by pushing one button.
  • Access to IBM's open-standards-based catalog of more than 120 services combined with IBM and third-party services that allows enterprises to construct and extend apps and services.
  • A consistent management console that puts enterprises in control of their entire cloud platform with visibility through a single dashboard of their public, private and on-premises Bluemix environments, including real-time releases, updates, and patches.

Clients can also sync data across geographies using IBM's global network of cloud data centers that are operated throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

As I said, while this news may lack some pure-cloud credibility, it is an entirely appropriate move given IBM's history, customer base and technology portfolio. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to Bluemix Local.

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