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IBM Adds DevOps Toolchains to Bluemix Cloud

IBM unveiled a new DevOps offering for its cloud-based Bluemix app development platform, simplifying the process of setting up toolchains for automated coding, deployment and operations pipelines.

The new IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery service lets DevOps teams use one central hub to create, manage and scale toolchains, which are integrated sets of DevOps tools, including popular services such as GitHub (open source code hosting) and Slack (team-based messaging).

In addition, the new service provides pre-built toolchain templates that can be deployed throughout an enterprise with just a few clicks. Templates are provided for common use cases such as cloud native tools, mobile tools, microservices, containers and so on.

For example, the cloud native toolchain template includes several tools from Bluemix and other sources, with non-IBM services provided for tracking and planning (Mural); coding (GitHub, Sauce Labs); running (Load Impact); management (New Relic); and learning (Google Analytics); all coordinated via Slack.

IBM said the automated toolchain/pipeline approach can drastically cut down on the days or even weeks typically needed to integrate, maintain and deploy various DevOps tools from commercial vendors and open source projects.

The Mobile Toolchain Template
[Click on image for larger view.] The Mobile Toolchain Template (source: IBM)

"The heart of a continuous delivery toolchain is naturally the delivery pipeline," IBM said in a video. "You can automate builds and tests, controlling quality with analytics as changes advance through stages leading to production deployment. The pipeline pulls code from GitHub, and with our cloud-based IDE, your team can edit code no matter where they are. As your project grows, you can add performance monitoring or incident monitoring with a few clicks. If you want to swap a new tool in, or something's not meeting your needs, you can do that too. And when you have a toolchain you like, capture it in a template and share it across your enterprise."

Beyond the new toolchain functionality, the company said a Delivery Pipeline service provides automated builds, tests and deployments, featuring the ability to detect problems before apps are launched.

Bluemix Continuous Delivery also leverages the company's Availability Monitoring service, which makes sure apps are available and performing as expected while updates are rolled out. By continuously running simulated user tests around the globe, it can identify Web app or REST API architecture problems so they can be quickly addressed.

Central to the new service is the integration with Slack, with which IBM recently teamed up in order to bring the cognitive computing capabilities of Watson to Slack developers.

"IBM and Slack intend to develop new and improved communications tools for users of the Slack platform, including an updated Slackbot to be powered by Watson, and an IBM Watson-enabled bot for IT and network operational incidents, so enterprise DevOps teams can more efficiently identify, address and fix these issues," IBM said in a statement yesterday.

While coding tools such as the Xcode and Android Studio IDEs are provided in the mobile development toolchain template, for example, developers can also use a Bluemix-integrated Web IDE -- built on Eclipse Orion -- for their actual coding.

The full list of toolchain templates includes: cloud-native tools; mobile tools; BlueCompute tools; cloud-enabled tools; microservices toolchain; simple Cloud Foundry toolchain; simple container toolchain; simple secure container toolchain; empty toolchain and Simple Cloud Foundry toolchain with DevOps Insights.

The portfolio of 55 individual tools includes offering such as Swift, Apache Cordova, CocoaPods, Jenkins, mobile back-end services; Gradle, Ionic and New Relic.

"One of the biggest challenges developers face in today's cloud-led world is efficiently building and deploying applications to stay competitive," said IBM exec Dave Lindquist. "With the introduction of Bluemix Continuous Delivery, developers can not only create, integrate and share DevOps toolchains using their favorite tools, but also add optional pay-as-you-go powerful services like cognitive computing with Watson or data and analytics services from The Weather Company."

Bluemix pricing details are available here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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