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IBM Unifies Cloud Services to Simplify App Dev By: Mike Vizard on April 28, 2021 Leave a Comment

IBM announced today that an IBM Cloud Code Engine service that unifies the cloud platforms on which applications are built and deployed is now generally available.

Built on top of a serverless computing platform, IBM Cloud Code Engine is a managed service that unifies access to a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment and batch workloads, that run on traditional virtual machines, to a single platform.

At the core of that managed service is an instance of Kubernetes running Knative middleware for invoking an open source serverless computing framework, the Istio service mesh and Tekton pipelines for building DevOps workflows.

Jason McGee, CTO and vice president for IBM Cloud Platform, said the goal is to eliminate the artificial constructs that developers are forced to navigate in the cloud today that can each trace their lineage to a different era of software development. The IBM Cloud Code Engine unifies the developer experience in a way that makes it simpler to build and deploy applications on the type of cloud service that best makes sense for a specific application workload, McGee said. Developers no longer need to configure code for a specific type of infrastructure; they can simply describe how they want source code or a container image to behave, and IBM Cloud Code Engine automates deployments accordingly.

The serverless computing framework that IBM Cloud Code Engine is built on also makes it possible for IBM to only charge organizations when code is actually running, versus requiring them to commit to a specific amount of infrastructure to run a set of virtual machines, McGee added. Charges are based on the memory and vCPU consumed and incoming HTTP calls. That approach will, over time, substantially reduce the total cost of cloud computing, said McGee.

It should also accelerate the rate at which applications are migrating to the cloud, added McGee. Today roughly 20% of application workloads run in the cloud. Getting the next 40% of workloads shifted into the cloud will require providing a simplified application developer experience, noted McGee.

The challenge organizations are wrestling with today is that they are deploying a mix of monolithic and microservices-based applications in the cloud that, to varying degrees, rely on batch-oriented and real-time platforms. IBM Cloud Code Engine represents an effort to provide a layer of abstraction over a wide range of cloud services that they can flexibly invoke via an event-driven platform, as required.

The DevOps implications of IBM Cloud Code Engine are potentially profound. DevOps teams today spend an inordinate amount of time provisioning cloud infrastructure on behalf of developers. IBM is now making a case for a platform that automates that process in few seconds. In effect, control over cloud infrastructure will shift even further left to application developers. DevOps teams, in theory, will spend more of their time optimizing cloud environments after an application has been deployed.

It’s not clear to what degree platforms such as IBM Cloud Code Engine might force cloud service providers to consolidate distinct cloud services they provide to developers today based on the type of application being built. However, it’s already apparent that the writing on the wall heralding that consolidation have now been indelibly inscribed.

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