04
Mon, Dec
0 New Articles

TechTip: Discovering Bluemix

Development Tools
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The fastest way to discover Bluemix is to sign up for a free trial and start using it.

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from the book IBM Cloud Platform Primer.

 

Bluemix is IBM’s enterprise-grade cloud development and deployment platform—in other words, Platform as a Service (PaaS). It is hosted on SoftLayer, which is IBM’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). What makes Bluemix “open” is the fact that it’s built on top of and is an extension of the Cloud Foundry open-source development and deployment cloud platform. Combining the strength of IBM’s software with third-party technologies while using Cloud Foundry to keep it open, Bluemix offers an integrated development experience in the cloud. It helps both born-on-the-cloud and enterprise developers build applications with their choice of tools and languages. Bluemix features cloud integration services that enable a secure connection between an organization’s public apps and its private assets.

 

Note: Bluemix is a constantly evolving platform, and its capabilities, services, and user interface will all change over time. What is captured and discussed here is current as of May 2015.

 

With nothing to install and no need to configure anything, developers who use Bluemix are able to provision cloud environments almost immediately and accomplish tasks such as composing and hosting Web applications and mobile apps and integrating with back-end systems. Developers can select from a catalog of services to extend their applications. These services are provided by IBM or third-party partners or are obtained from open-source communities.

 

The fastest way to discover Bluemix is to sign up for a free trial at www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/bluemix/hybrid/dedicated/ and start using it. After you’ve signed up to use Bluemix and received your credentials, log in.

 

If you view the catalog after logging in, you’ll see a display like that in Figure 1 that shows the components that are available on the Bluemix platform. The components are categorized as Starters, Services, Containers, Compute, and Provider. Starters are sample code that you can build on; alternatively, you can start from scratch. The largest component is Services, which are basically building blocks that you can use to create applications. Compute deals with Cloud Foundry or Docker images. And Provider simply points out the source of the services. There are 12 types of templates, which are listed in Table 1.

 

Figure 1: Categories of services in Bluemix

 

Table 1: Templates in Bluemix

 

Category

Templates

Description

Starters

Boilerplates

Let you get started with a new application. You can choose from Java DB Web Server, Mobile Cloud, and Vaadin Rich Web Starter, among others.

Compute

Runtimes

Allow you to run an app in the language of your choice—for example, Node.js, Ruby, and PHP.

 

Containers

Create containers from IBM images or add your own.

Services

Watson

Build cognitive apps that help enhance, scale, and accelerate human expertise—for example, language identification, machine translation, and relationship extraction.

 

Mobile

Quickly get started with your next mobile app through the likes of Cloudant NoSQL DB, Push, and Twilio.

 

DevOps

Takes you from development to deployment; Delivery Pipeline, BlazeMeter, and Load Impact are some examples.

 

Web and Application

Deliver new Web and mobile apps. Data Cache, MQ Light, Ustream, and Redis are a few of the many available services.

 

Integration

Extend existing investments and infrastructure.

 

Data & Analytics

 

Services for agile data management and refinement; examples include Cloudant NoSQL DB, and ElephantSQL.

Let you harness the power of data using tools such as BigInsights for Hadoop, dashDB, Insights for Twitter, etc.

 

Security

Build security into application design using AppScan services including Single Sign-On.

 

Business Analytics

Analytics made easy with services for reporting and predictive modeling.

 

Internet of Things

Services for a new generation of apps that helps connect various things like cars and appliances.

 

Working with Bluemix

Once you’ve created a new app or prepared your application for the cloud, you’ll want to know about the new concept of “pushing an app” using Cloud Foundry. When you push an app, all files in the application’s project folder, except version control and configuration files, are uploaded to the Cloud Foundry instance. You can create your app by using either the Bluemix user interface or Bluemix DevOps Services. Then you can use the Cloud Foundry command-line utility, cf, to update an app and to create and bind services to the application.

 

If you were to create an app using the WebSphere Liberty profile, the place to start would be the Liberty for Java Starter Application, a runtime for Bluemix Liberty for Java application development. The WebSphere Application Server Liberty Profile is the container for this type of application. You’ll find the starter documentation at https://console.ng.bluemix.net/docs/starters/liberty/index.html#liberty.

 

Tip: You can install an Eclipse framework on your desktop to develop apps for Bluemix. The Cloud Foundry (cf) command-line utility is used to push and deploy the app.

 

Let’s use an example to create and deploy a simple Java app.

  1. Log on to Bluemix. Then go to your dashboard by clicking the DASHBOARD menu option.
  2. Click the CREATE AN APP link in the Applications section. Then choose WEB as the app template, as shown in Figure 2.

 

081916IyengarFigure2

Figure 2: Choosing an app template

 

  1. From the starter apps, choose Liberty for Java, as in Figure 3. Then click CONTINUE. It’s a good idea to view the Liberty for Java docs before you continue.

 

081916IyengarFigure3 

Figure 3: Choosing the starter app

 

  1. Type a name for the app, such as MyJavaApp, and click FINISH.

 

The app will start immediately, and the running instance will be displayed in the dashboard, as in Figure 4.

 

081916IyengarFigure4

Figure 4: Dashboard showing the app

 

If you hover on the link Your app is running in the APP HEALTH section on the right, details about the app are displayed.

 

Note: If you choose to deploy using an existing server, there will be a pause while the app is deployed.

 

If you click the geared wheel icon at the top right, you’ll see the app-related drop-down menu shown in Figure 5, which you can use to stop, restart, rename, or delete the app. Another nifty feature in Bluemix is that you can view the runtime charges for the app and its related services by clicking Estimate the cost of this app.

 

081916IyengarFigure5

Figure 5: The app-related menu

 

Services, Services, Services

PaaS is all about services that developers can drag and use rather than create from scratch. At this stage, you might decide to add a service to your app. Bluemix offers many services that you can add to apps, ranging from data caching to cloud integration and from big data to mobile services. As an example, the Data Cache service improves the performance and user experience of Web applications by retrieving information from fast, managed, in-memory caches, instead of relying on slower disk-based databases.

 

You’ll notice that the Bluemix dashboard (Figure 4) contains a box with a plus sign (+) and the link ADD A SERVICE. Clicking the link brings up the catalog of services, from which you simply choose the service you want. For this example, let’s choose the Data Cache service, as shown in Figure 6.

 

081916IyengarFigure6

Figure 6: Catalog of services

 

Tip: Most PaaS platforms invite you to try a free trial service. When the trial is over, you have options such as pay-as-you-go and subscription-based service levels. Bluemix offers a “free tier” for all the runtimes and services. If you choose the free tier, you pay only for usage that exceeds the free tier. For more information, refer to the pricing tab on the Bluemix user interface.

 

After you pick the service, make sure you specify your app from the drop-down menu. We’ll choose our sample application, called MyJavaApp, as shown in Figure 7. To see details about the service, click VIEW DOCS. When you’re ready to add the service, click CREATE.

 

081916IyengarFigure7

Figure 7: Choosing an application

 

The app pauses for a moment during redeployment, also known as restaging. Look at the dashboard to verify that your app has been restarted. All activity related to the application is logged, as in Figure 8.

 

081916IyengarFigure8

Figure 8: Bluemix dashboard view of an app

 

In the application navigation pane on the left (Figure 9), you’ll see menu options related to your app and a list of services that have been added to the app. Click Start Coding.

 

081916IyengarFigure9

Figure 9: The application navigation pane

 

Want to Know More?

Check out the book IBM Cloud Platform Primer.

Ashok Iyengar

Ashok K. Iyengar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is an executive IT specialist at IBM, based in San Diego. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 30 years. He holds an MS degree in computer science from North Dakota State University, Fargo. In his spare time, Ashok loves to write. Among his works are IBM Cloud Platform Primer, IBM WebSphere Portal Primer, and WebSphere Business Integration Primer. For the past several years, Ashok has worked on cloud-based projects, doing proofs-of-concept, pilots, architecture design, and implementations. 


MC Press books written by Ashok Iyengar available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

IBM Cloud Platform Primer IBM Cloud Platform Primer
Learn to develop, deploy, and manage applications in an IBM cloud environment.
List Price $69.95

Now On Sale

IBM WebSphere Portal Primer IBM WebSphere Portal Primer
Get to know this popular, high-functionality portal server.
List Price $59.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: