IBM Bluemix at Strata + Hadoop World in London

By Niklas Heidloff, posted on Apr 30, 2015

Next week I'll attend Strata + Hadoop World in London where we will present IBM Bluemix. Since this is a big data conference we'll also demonstrate some ideas of IBM Emerging Technologies how the next generation of big data analytics could look like.

Below is a video from IBM fellow Rod Smith who presented some of these ideas at another conference at the end of last year. Next week Rod will give an update in his keynote and his breakout session.

"Big data and analytics continues to be a disruptive business force. Are we entering another phase – real-time digital business transformation, where businesses are realizing that the time to adjust to market and customer opportunities and threats is shrinking quickly? Leveraging historical and streaming data with 'just-in-time' analytics at the time of business decisions is on the horizon – and in the future machine learning will play an important role in automating many business actions and processes. All this is spurring huge innovation strides across the industry and open source communities."

The key technologies used to implement this vision are Apache Spark, IPython Notebooks and some extensions from IBM. Spark supports accessing different types of data, from historical data to data streams, and through the fast in-memory processing it allows "just-in-time" analytics. IPhython notebooks are web-based IDEs that provide one unified place for teams to share insights, business, results, notes, etc. and they can be considered as the next generation of spreadsheets.

While IPhython notebooks are primarily tools for data scientists the demo in the video below takes it one step further to allow even line of business users to do data analytics, to collaborate easily with data scientists and to integrate the results in solutions.

Host Docker Containers in the Cloud via IBM Bluemix

By Niklas Heidloff, posted on Apr 27, 2015

Over the last weeks I've attended two bigger Java conferences in Germany - JavaLand and JAX. It felt like most of the sessions at these conferences were about Docker and microservices. For people who haven't had a chance to learn more about the open platform Docker I describe below on a high level what value Docker provides and how to get started with Docker when using IBM Bluemix for the hosting of the containers in the cloud. I blogged about this earlier this year but since then things have evolved and new resources have become available.

The big benefit of Docker images is that they can be ported very easily to other environments. For example developers can work locally and then hand over images to their quality engineers or host these images in the cloud. This addresses the problem that probably every professional in software development has experienced where especially new software runs only on the machine of the developer but not in other environments. When these problems are reported developers often respond with "but it works on my machine".

The portability of containers is especially important in the hybrid cloud model where parts of new applications are run in the cloud and other parts on premises. Another reason why Docker is so attractive is the very active and fast growing community as well as the improving tooling which makes it relative easy to build new images.

The reason why Docker images can be ported so easily is because they don't contain only the application but also the application server and the necessary configuration. Rather than deploying a packaged application to another application server, a new container is created containing everything needed to run the application. So in that sense containers are similar to virtual machines. The big difference to virtual machines is that they don't contain their own operating system and multiple containers can share the same resources which makes containers much more lightweight than classic virtual machines. IBM Research published recently an interesting document An Updated Performance Comparison of Virtual Machines and Linux Containers.

In December 2014 IBM announced a Strategic Partnership to Deliver Enterprise Applications in the Cloud and On Prem and the IBM Containers Beta based on Docker. In February at IBM InterConnect 2015 more functionality was announced in this context. In the Bluemix user interface containers show up now in their own category on the same level as CloudFoundry and OpenStack as opposed to just another integration service. At InterConnect IBM also previewed the new capability to build and deploy Docker in the cloud via IBM DevOps pipelines.

IBM product manager Chris Rosen wrote some blog entries recently about Docker in IBM Bluemix that I encourage you to check out. In one of his blog he describes the 5 game-changing capabilities from IBM Containers on Bluemix. The main capability Bluemix adds here is an access controlled registry of your images and the ability to host and manage containers in the cloud.

In order to get started with Docker on Bluemix check out the documentation, the Docker webinar, the redbook, a quick demo or the other blog entries from Chris Rosen (getting started, ice tool).

Last week Ryan Baxter and I presented at JAX how Java developers can use Bluemix. Ryan extended a sample I had done earlier to show how to run it not only via CloudFoundry but also via Docker. I don't want to steal Ryan's thunder since I'm sure he'll blog about it, but essentially he used the IBM Docker image for WebSphere Liberty which is one of the curated images that show up by default in Bluemix. Check out the InterConnect session to learn more.

Pictures from IBM Bluemix at JAX in Germany

By Niklas Heidloff, posted on Apr 24, 2015

This week the JAX conference took place in Mainz, Germany. JAX describes itself as "the leading conference for enterprise technology, software architecture, agility and Java in Europe". The conference covers the topics Java, Enterprise, Web, Mobile, Internet of Things and Big Data. To me it felt like this year half of the sessions were related to Docker and/or microservices.

IBM had a booth, we did two lotteries and we gave a keynote and two sessions. I really liked the event. We had a lot of traffic at our booth and really good discussions, the attendees were the people we are targeting - developers - and the organization including location, receptions, etc. was very good too. Below are some pictures from the event.

Our team: Rene Meyer, Thomas Bueck, Anna Bekkerman, Ryan Baxter and myself. Missing on this picture are David Barnes and Karim Abousedera.



David Barnes presenting the keynote in front of 2000 people.



David before the keynote with the Sphero ball that the audience got to dance via a chat application he set up during the session.



Our two lotteries where we gave out GoPro Hero 4 cameras.





David in his big data session.



David is being interviewed. I'll post the interview separately once published.



Our booth.



In addition to t-shirts we also had earbuds as give aways which were popular.

When implementing new applications or new functionality I always try to use an existing piece of code as starting point that comes close to what I'm looking for. Even for simple functionality this has proven to be a good practice for me since I don't loose time trying to find the right APIs and dependencies. Fortunately for IBM Bluemix developers many samples have been made available under open source licenses over the last months.

Most Bluemix samples have been posted to GitHub, e.g. generic Bluemix samples or Watson samples, but finding the ones you're looking for can be a challenge. Below are the different options to find samples in addition to internet searches.

In the documentation for every runtime and service there are links to available samples at the very top that showcase the functionality of the different services, e.g. the bluelist sample for the iOS push service.



The website bluemixdemo.com displays links to 150 samples. You can find samples by full text search, used service and language. From here the samples can be deployed easily via the Bluemix Deploy Button.



The Bluemix Dev page also lists some samples.

In addition to GitHub several projects have been posted on IBM Bluemix DevOps. You can find public Bluemix projects via search.

There is also a big number of Bluemix tutorials on IBM developerWorks which come with sample code.

Two cool Bluemix Keynote Demos

By Niklas Heidloff, posted on Apr 13, 2015

I've the pleasure to work in a team of awesome people in IBM's Emerging Technologies group. Below are two short videos of demos my colleagues David Barnes and Mark VanderWiele have given recently that show some of the capabilities of IBM Bluemix.

In the following video David demonstrates how to quickly deploy a chat application to Bluemix and how to connect to a Sphero ball based on content in the chat. He gave this demo at the NY Tech Meetup.



In the next video Mark demonstrates how to communicate to the same Sphero ball via speech recognition in the keynote of the O'Reilly Software Architecture Conference.

More Blog Entries ...

Hi, my name is Niklas Heidloff. I work for IBM as an IBM Bluemix Developer Advocate. The blog contains information about IBM Bluemix and articles about my previous work in IBM Collaboration Solutions, esp. IBM Connections and XPages.

@nheidloff

Disclaimer

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent my employer IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.