IBM Launches New Features for Serverless Cloud Platform
By Jef Cozza / CIO Today. Updated December 16, 2016.
Tech giant IBM has announced several new features for OpenWhisk, the event-driven and open serverless computing platform built for its Bluemix public cloud service. The new features, such as instant debugging with NodeJS, Python, and Swift actions, are designed to help developers debug their code faster, better integrate with third-party tools and support a broader range of programming languages.
“Developers are turning to the cloud for efficiency, but they also want choice,” said Bill Karpovich, general manager for IBM Cloud, in a statement. “Since we’ve built OpenWhisk with open standards, it’s able to not only help resolve many problems associated with server management, but also gives developers the flexibility to pull in outside tools and data and run code wherever they choose.”
Expanding Integrations with New Apps
IBM said it is expanding and tightening integrations with the growing ecosystem of applications surrounding OpenWhisk, which offers an open, non-proprietary engine. By building OpenWhisk with open standards from the ground up and rooting its code in active developer communities, such as Apache, the company aims to expand the range of capabilities developers can access. An open serverless platform also provides freedom to choose where apps can run, according to IBM.
OpenWhisk acts as an underlying force within apps running on Bluemix, binding together relevant events and triggers such as the uploading of an image or the clicking of a mouse. When triggered by such events, OpenWhisk automatically taps cloud services as needed such as cognitive intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and analytics. IBM said OpenWhisk is designed to help make traditional cloud infrastructure invisible, enabling developers to focus on writing code instead of configuring servers.
New Features for OpenWhisk
Aside from the new debugging capabilities, IBM also announced other new features for the OpenWhisk platform, including integration with MessageHub, a Bluemix-hosted Apache Kafka service for real-time build outs of data pipelines and streaming apps.
The platform will also begin offering support for new runtimes such as Java, Node v6, Python and Swift v3, the company said, and would include a new extension for Visual Studio Code. The update also features a new and improved user interface to simplify browser-based development and testing.
Bluemix has rapidly grown to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments on the market, according to IBM. The platform is based on open standards and features over 150 advanced technologies and services, including cognitive computing, blockchain, Internet of Things, cloud data services, DevOps and security.
Several large companies have moved to adopt serverless architecture models, such as OpenWhisk, to help speed up deployment and increase efficiency.
“Microservices and containers are changing the way we build apps, but because of serverless, we can take that transformation even further,” said Luis Enriquez, head of platform engineering and architecture at Santander Group, in IBM's statement. Santander said it had recently adopted the OpenWhisk platform, adding that it “provides the instant infrastructure we need for intense tasks and unexpected peaks in workload, and is a key building block as we move to a real-time and event-driven architecture.”