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My quick stint with IBM Bluemix

What follows are notes that I took while exploring Bluemix.

As a developer, I couldn’t be more excited to see a rapid development platform with such a wide range of runtimes and services available to play with.

Developers can quickly put together different services and runtimes and not worry about the provider or the support of the services.

It's good to have used one IaaS and one PaaS solution before to appreciate what Bluemix offers.

This is one diagram I love that explains a lot.

Below are some notes taken from internet:

IBM SoftLayer

This is IBM’s IaaS public cloud offering. In contrast to competition, IBM provides bare metal nodes and bare metal network components (routers, firewalls) in addition to the virtualized infrastructure components. All network traffic within the worldwide SoftLayer backbone is for free, so data center failover and real 24/7 SLA’s are now available not only for the financial service clients, but for everybody!

Cloud Foundry

I think Google started with the idea of a scalable component cloud called AppEngine. This idea has been picked up by Amazon with Beanstalk. These offerings are very innovative, but they lack one key aspect. They lock you into their middleware. So you cannot use common open and closed source application middleware and services (e.g. TOMCAT, PHP, MySQL, etc.).

Therefore Cloud Foundry has been invented as open standard to build PaaS clouds and every application running on a Cloud Foundry compliant cloud can be migrated easily to other cloud service providers.


DevOps means Development and Operations, and when written in this way, it means a system that facilitates and connects development and operation tasks together, especially things like continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment in conjunction with defect and change request management provides an easy and agile way to adapt this process to your application. Google and Facebook are deploying multiple production releases per day. With

DevOps services in Bluemix, you can do the same now, even without installing any tool locally if you don’t want to.

So now we know the basics, let’s put this together:

You have your idea. Using your favourite runtime (WebSphere, Tomcat, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, etc.) and your favourite services (MySQL, PostgreSQL, DB2, message queues, etc.) just go to to use the Bluemix DevOps services and deploy it on the fly in the Eclipse Orion based IDE directly to Bluemix. And guess what, it is up-and-running and online just after 10 seconds! And where does the IBM PureApplication System fit into this? We have it in the cloud as well! So you can easily build hybrid cloud using PureApplication technology on- and off-premise at the same time.

Comparison between different PaaS solutions:,1-1517.html

Nomenclature within Bluemix world

Organizations - An organization is defined by the following items:
Spaces - Spaces provide a mechanism to collect related applications, services, and the users that can collaborate on the resources. An organization can contain multiple spaces. All application and service creation within BlueMix must be
associated with a space.
Users - A user must be assigned to an organization to be granted permission to the spaces within the organization.
Domains - Domains provide the route on the Internet that is allocated to the organization.
Route - A route has a sub-domain and a domain. A sub-domain is typically the application name. A domain might be a system domain, or a custom domain that is the personally registered for your application.

How to get started

  1. Visit and sign up if you already do not have a IBM id.
  2. Start by logging in to Bluemix, which takes you to a dashboard.
    The dashboard gives you an overview of the active Bluemix space for your organization.
    By default, the space is dev and the organization is the project creator's username.
  3. Click CREATE AN APP to choose particular runtimes (such as Java or Ruby), services (such as IBM DataCache or MongoDB), and boilerplates, which are preconfigured application templates.
  4. You can work with your application code in many ways, but one of the most impressive features is auto-deploy. With the auto-deploy feature, you can modify the code that is running in your app by pushing the changes to a Git repository. The mechanism that implements auto-deployment is powered by the BUILD & DEPLOY capabilities of DevOps Services.

Amazing blogs about Bluemix

My sample J2EE application on Bluemix

As part of my playing around with Bluemix, I created a simple todo application that runs on Websphere Liberty runtime.
This app uses 2 services:
1. DB2 service
2. Redis service

The application source code is maintained using IBM Jazz Git repositories and thus I get to utilize Bluemix's advanced build and deploy tool that keeps track of changes in the repository and automatically builds and deploys the application into the target runtime.

Source code:


How Bluemix works

What a developer needs to know about Bluemix is wonderfully explained in this video. (audio is very low)

Understanding droplets and buildpacks is the key.

Buildpack = runtime + framework + service plugins + scripts
Droplets = buildpack + service config + application
 staged on container
Container = light weight linux machines
During a application push (deploy), there is a phase called staging. Staging takes the application code and service configurations and combines it with the buildpack to create the filesystem that will be used for an application instance. (There is typically some processing done here, but varies by buildpack.) This result is called the droplet.

Most of the time you might already have a multiple java applications running on local liberty server and in that case it's easier to port the whole runtime along with the applications to bluemix.
Here is a short blog on how to do it.


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