Technology / Sponsored / Contributed

Cloudsoft Blue Broker: Secure, Automated Access to Enterprise Databases from Bluemix Local

24 Feb 2016 6:33am, by and

Doug Rothert
Doug Rothert is a senior software engineer in the IBM Cloud unit with over 23 years experience in software development within IBM across many roles including test, development, support, presales, and competitive intelligence. His current role is offering management of Bluemix cloud services, utilizing IBM resources and IBM partners to provide the premier cloud development environment to clients. Doug has over 23 issued patents with additional patents pending, and a BSE from the University of Michigan.

As enterprises embrace the value of cloud, many still face significant challenges around successful adoption. This is especially true for enterprises with sensitive data in databases that must remain on-premises in order to address security and compliance requirements.

Many of our clients approach IBM and ask “How can I utilize my existing on-premise databases with an on-premise cloud?” Bluemix Local addresses the challenge of delivering an on-premise cloud that successfully balances cost, agility and quality of service.

It also provides an expansive cloud strategy that includes a mixture of on and off-premises infrastructure and services.

Bluemix Local by itself helps clients address these challenges but requires the client to build a custom broker to enable access to on-premise resources like existing databases. This week, we announced an IBM recommended partner solution to enhance Bluemix Local – Blue Broker from Cloudsoft, that will enable you to rapidly utilize your existing on-premise databases in Bluemix.

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Without Cloudsoft: Roll your own broker

To put an entry into the catalog on Bluemix Local, you must utilize a broker that not only connects you to the resource but performs lifecycle management like creating and removing the instance if necessary. Until now, most service brokers have dealt with a single type of service, requiring a lot of up-front investment to make a new service available in Bluemix and limiting the degree to which these services can be customized when needed for applications.

With Cloudsoft: Automated service management

2_Cloudsoft_Service_Broker_Dropdown_Menu_editedIn contrast to the tedious, manual way of exposing local services like MySQL to Bluemix Local, Blue Broker – the Bluemix Edition of the Cloudsoft Service Broker – acts as a bridge between Bluemix and Cloudsoft’s Application Management Platform (AMP).

Cloudsoft AMP is Cloudsoft’s flagship product built on the top-level Apache Brooklyn open source project. Cloudsoft AMP lets you model applications and capture their operational best practices in open standard blueprints that can be deployed, monitored and managed on any cloud. It integrates with Cloud Foundry, enabling developers to reach back and integrate with enterprise services while exploiting cloud-first platforms whenever possible.

Once Blue Broker is installed in your Bluemix environment, adding your existing on-premise database to the Bluemix Local catalog for your developers will only take a matter of minutes to set up. This will greatly speed up your developers and allow them to work on a new capability to improve your business agility, all while keeping your secure data secure on premise.

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An admin console helps operations expose their existing database services to Bluemix developers in a secure automated fashion.

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Once the key database parameters are provided, Cloudsoft makes these services available in the catalog and provides complete lifecycle management of them through Blue Broker.

How Blue Broker works

Cloudsoft generalizes the concept of a Cloud Foundry service broker.

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The blueprints that model your applications (which are typically written in YAML according to the CAMP specification) can be stored in AMP’s blueprint catalog. These catalog items are returned by Blue Broker in the Fetch Catalog operation. When Provision Instance is called, Blue Broker passes this request on to AMP to implement the external service e.g. create a read-only database user with suitable permissions; stand up a production-grade data service; and so on. After the instance has been provisioned, the call to Create Binding then requests credentials from AMP for the application and these populate the Bluemix environment so that your Bluemix application can interact with the AMP application as a Bluemix service.

Where to Get Additional Information

Duncan Johnston-Watt
A serial entrepreneur and industry visionary with over twenty years experience in the software industry. Immediately prior to founding Cloudsoft Duncan was CTO at Enigmatec Corporation, the enterprise data center automation company he founded in 2001. Enigmatec was sold to iWave which was subsequently acquired by EMC. A Computerworld Smithsonian Laureate for his pioneering work introducing Java Enterprise to financial services, Duncan holds an MSc in Computation from Oxford University and a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Leeds University.

The initial use case for Blue Broker is narrowly focused on exposing on-premise database services to Bluemix Local developers. However, given the power of Cloudsoft AMP, it is easy to see that in the future we may be able to leverage this solution for a broader set of use cases including exposing other services and creating resources through AMP on your Blue Box environment.

As a recommended IBM partner solution we suggest you look at the resources on Cloudsoft and contact them directly with projects that will benefit from this new innovation.

Cloudsoft is a Silver Plus sponsor of IBM InterConnect 2016 which is taking place at the MGM Grand & Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas February 21 – 25. Make sure you allow time to visit Cloudsoft at the InterConnect Expo, stand #558, where they will be showcasing Cloudsoft AMP deploying and managing Basho Riak KV Enterprise in multi-cluster replication mode utilizing IBM Blue Box in San Jose backed up by IBM SoftLayer in Seattle.

Cloudsoft will also be demonstrating how simple it is for IBM Bluemix developers to leverage existing data services via Blue Broker, the Bluemix Edition of the Cloudsoft Service Broker. Finally, Cloudsoft will be highlighting its integration with the Incontinuum Cloud Controller.

This post originally appeared on the IBM developerWorks Site.

Cloudsoft and IBM are sponsors of The New Stack.

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