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IBM Launches Bluemix OpenWhisk, an Event-driven Programming Service

22 Feb 2016 8:00am, by

Jumping into the emerging paradigm of serverless computing, IBM has launched a new event-driven programming service called Bluemix OpenWhisk.

Using an event-driven model, the service automatically executes user code in response to an external event, such a bit of sensor data arriving. IBM introduced this service at the company’s InterConnect 2016 conference, being held this week in Las Vegas.

In addition to OpenWhisk, IBM has also launched an IBM Cloud-hosted GitHub Enterprise Service, allowing organizations to manage their own GitHub code repositories for enterprise cloud and hybrid cloud use.

IBM is also providing a cloud-based runtime for users of Apple’s Swift language to build back-end functionality for Apple devices.

OpenWhisk’s event-driven approach, often called serverless computing, could potentially streamline the process of developing and deploying new applications, given that developers don’t have to worry about setting up servers and middleware to support the business logic, which can be captured in the code to be run by OpenWhisk.

IBM is also encouraging users to think about using this service to create microservice-based applications, in which individual tasks are maintained individually. Individual parts of an application can be maintained, in parallel, by separate teams. This approach allows the applications operations to run in parallel as well.

Developers can write their code in Swift, or in JavaScript for Node.js. Or, they can package their custom code in a Docker container, for those that need to import legacy code, or are worried about being locked into a single service provider.

IBM is not the first company to offer a stateless, also known as serverless, computing as a cloud service. Amazon Web Services has offered a similar service, AWS Lambda, since 2014. Earlier this month, Googe launched a similar service, called Google Cloud Functions. And a number of start-ups, including Serverless and Iron.io, offer packages for setting up internal serverless platforms for in-house use.

Using Bluemix, however, allows users to easily tap into other Bluemix services, augmenting their apps with analysis and other transformative services.

IBM will open source the codebase of OpenWhisk itself.

Swift and GitHub

IBM is heartily encouraging the use of Apple’s Swift language, in part thanks a partnership the company struck with Apple last year to better equip the iPhone for enterprise work. To this end, the company has released a preview a Swift runtime and a Swift Package Catalog, both to help developers build enterprise apps for the Apple gear.

Last year, IBM released the Swift Sandbox, runtime software for running Swift on the server. To date, over 100,000 developers have used the service, executing over a million code runs.

The Enterprise Github service comes by way of IBM Bluemix platform, and will be available in either the Bluemix Dedicated and Local managed delivery models.

With a Github repo on Bluemix, users to link in more easily to the other Bluemix API-based services and data sources. IBM will provide code scanning services to watch for security vulnerabilities that may creep into the codebase.

Feature Image: Michael Jackson ONE exhibit for Cirque du Soleil, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

IBM is a sponsor of The New Stack.


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