The FINANCIAL — IBM on February 22 announced that it is extending its pervasive software platform to the cloud, helping enable clients to connect to data, application or transaction system. This move aims to make it easier for developers to unlock the valuable data, knowledge and transaction systems, such as supply chain, inventory management systems and detailed customer records, at the center of global business.
According to IBM’s Center for Applied Insights global study of 500 cloud decisions makers, organizations are increasingly integrating cloud resources with traditional IT to accommodate dynamic needs and specific business priorities.1 The mix will continue to shift as companies grow their use of private and public cloud to manage dynamic and increasingly digital business priorities. Further, a report from IDC states that over 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017.2
At the heart of these transformational shifts are developers, a population expected to top 25 million by 20203, who are charged with building new cloud frameworks and coding new products, apps and services.
Increasingly, new cloud services depend on integrating on-premises data and applications. To meet these demands, IBM unveiled a new series of “connect” offerings for IBM Cloud that will fundamentally transform how enterprise clients extend their existing IT investments and capabilities to the Cloud. To allow for this strategic transformation, IBM’s software is now available on the cloud via public, private or on-premises delivery models. Delivered as an easy to consume cloud service, developers can connect applications and data sources together, no matter where they reside.
Core to this announcement is IBM WebSphere connect, which extends IBM’s industry leading WebSphere portfolio to the cloud. With more than 200 million global licenses of WebSphere, IBM’s middleware portfolio is the leading platform for Java EE. Today’s news will make it easier for the estimated 13 million Java developers worldwide to connect their apps to the cloud, and continue to extend WebSphere to a whole new community of node.js and Swift developers4. Moving forward, WebSphere clients can access new features from the IBM Cloud.
“Businesses are adopting cloud based applications to accelerate innovation, but they are still struggling to combine those cloud native services with existing apps and data which reside on-premises,” said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Cloud Application Services. “Our objective is to drastically simplify how developers discover and connect disparate apps and services, so enterprises can unlock the value of their existing IT and more rapidly capture the value of the cloud. This helps enable developers to discover and re-use the best capabilities, where ever they reside.”
For example, the Expert Tech MobileFirst for iOS app built by IBM helps field service technician solve complex problems or tough questions on the spot. While the app is very simple to use, it can draw on 12 existing back-end systems, such as content management, customer relationship management, vehicle management and inventory management, that can run on WebSphere to provide the necessary information. For the average developer, such as one fresh out of school, a data source or system that might provide the customer with a better experience or help them to gain a better answer, needs to be easily discoverable and usable. With today’s news, IBM is making data or systems easy to consume over the cloud, whether it actually resides on the cloud or not.
Starting immediately, the enterprises currently using IBM’s on-premises software can use these new offerings as on ramp to hybrid cloud, to realize the immediate benefits and new value from their existing investments.
In addition to IBM WebSphere connect, the other new “connect” offerings for IBM Cloud include:
API connect – This first-of-kind service allows any client to publish its IT as an API –making it easy to find, call and connect over the cloud. Additionally, it helps enable the automated creation of APIs, simplified discovery of systems of records, self-service access for internal and third party developers and built-in security and governance.
App connect – A new software-as-a-service offering that provides hundreds of pre-built connections to cloud and on-premises applications designed to help line-of-business professionals speed through integration tasks.
Message connect – A new Bluemix service that connects our Message Hub portfolio to Bluemix to help enable connectivity to new open message formats like Apache Kafka.
DataWorks – Based on the leading open source analytics project, Apache Spark, DataWorks is a service that can enable analysts, developers, data scientists and data engineers to prepare and move data from on premises and off premises to an analytics cloud ecosystem where it can be quickly analyzed and visualized.
IBM WebSphere Blockchain connect – A new service available to all WebSphere clients that is designed to provide a safe and encrypted passage from their blockchain cloud to their enterprise.
IBM z/OS connect – A new version of the offering that creates APIs and RESTful interfaces for all apps running on IBM z Systems, connecting data and apps sitting on the mainframe with the cloud.