Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, May 29, 2020
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IBM Expands Bluemix With ‘Local’ Security 

The steady enterprise shift to the hybrid cloud infrastructure brings with it greater requirements for managing that infrastructure while moving data and applications securely between on-premise platforms and public and private clouds. Those hybrid cloud requirements have lengthened the list of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers.

IBM is seeking to put a new spin on the PaaS market with the expansion to its Bluemix application development platform that is advertised as helping developers build apps and securely deploy them on hybrid infrastructure.

Separately, it also disclosed a hybrid cloud deal with a Scandinavian datacenter operator.

IBM said Thursday (Oct. 1) its Bluemix Local technology enables the use of its app development platform behind a client's firewall. The new security and flexibility features are said to target regulated industries like financial services and health care that place a premium on being able to quickly build and run secure applications in hybrid clouds while connecting data and APIs. The approach has the additional advantage of keeping apps current across all platforms, IBM said.

"Developers are using APIs and building data-intensive apps at an explosive rate, but many, particularly those in heavily regulated industries, want the choice to keep sensitive workloads within their own datacenter," Steve Robinson, general manager of IBM Cloud Platform Services, noted in a statement. Bluemix Local is intended to help developers run applications either locally or in the cloud, Robinson added.

Bluemix Local is based on IBM's patented Relay technology designed to ensure that all components of a hybrid cloud remain current. IBM touts the technology as able to transmit data across IT infrastructure as a way of delivering equivalent applications and services in the cloud or on-premise.

Meanwhile, IBM also released statistics on the number of Bluemix users a week after announcing that its Watson Cloud is now available on the application development platform. The company said this week that more than 77,000 developers are using Watson tools via the Bluemix development platform. The shift also reflects the growing need to speed development and deployment of data-driven applications on hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Market analysts are forecasting that nearly half of large enterprises will shift to hybrid cloud infrastructure in the next two years. Among the earliest adopters are regulated industries like banking and health care that are required to meet increasingly strict security and privacy requirements for handling sensitive customer data outside of corporate networks.

In response, cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AMZN) are also targeting healthcare applications by guiding startups and other prospective customers through the regulatory minefield that governs the emerging medical IT sector. The key challenges are developing platforms that streamline the way healthcare is delivered and secure patient data in the cloud.

Given the growing complexity of delivering secure applications and services in the cloud, IBM is betting that its Bluemix Local technology will address the growing need to compartmentalize sensitive data and workloads.

Separately, IBM announced a cloud partnership with Nordic IT infrastructure provider EVRY expected to be worth an estimated $1 billion. IBM said it would provide hybrid cloud infrastructure services beginning next year that will run on its SoftLayer platform at an EVRY datacenter in Oslo, Norway.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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