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Access a range of IoT and Watson-based APIs with IBM PaaS, Bluemix

The IBM PaaS, Bluemix, blends together a growing catalog of APIs, integrations with open source tech and tools for DevOps for an enterprise-friendly app development platform.

Built on open source technology with scalability as a priority, the IBM PaaS, Bluemix, and its host of APIs are suited for projects of any size, whether individual or enterprise-scale.

The platform's open nature enables a variety of integration options; users can interface with OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Docker and Spark, among other services. IBM's Bluemix cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) provides a centralized, adaptable system for application development using a range of programming languages including Java, Swift and Node.js. IBM offers Bluemix in three versions. Bluemix Public is exclusively cloud-based. Bluemix Dedicated features a private cloud environment on dedicated servers maintained by IBM. Bluemix Local is IBM's on-premises option.

IBM PaaS features and tools

Bluemix's primary features allow users to develop applications with flexible communication tools and a unified user interface. As part of the IBM PaaS, the cloud provider offers a software as a service product with an eye in providing businesses tools to enable continuous delivery. This product's, known as IBM's Bluemix DevOps Services, features include GitHub Enterprise, providing access to coding tools and security features. Bluemix's partnership with GitHub can, especially for customers using Bluemix Dedicated, limit infrastructural overhead by consolidating coding, deployment and collaboration tools. Development features include automated unit testing and script configuration, as well as agile planning tools for tracking progress and assigning tasks. As projects approach completion, Bluemix's incremental deployment options allow users to fine-tune their products before finalization.

To ensure customization and flexibility, the IBM PaaS offers a number of APIs including the Watson natural language classifier and Watson speech-to-text, in addition to an expanding catalog of APIs for internet of things tools, analytics and quantum computing. Within IBM's API catalog, users will also find programming language communities, mobile app development tools and container customization options.

Through the recent acquisition of Cleversafe, IBM ensures security augmentations that include advanced data and object encryption. This acquisition has given IBM the ability to offer hybrid cloud and on-premises deployments to businesses looking to safely manage large sets of data.

IBM Bluemix pricing and support

Bluemix's exact pricing can vary significantly depending on individual users' and companies' needs. However, here are the general options:

  • A free 30-day trial version grants up to 2 GB of runtime and container memory and access to the core IBM PaaS features.
  • The pay-as-you-go option includes 0.5 GB of free runtime and container memory and access to a greater variety of IBM services, with payment calculated based on actual resources used.
  • The subscription model, which may include access to the public, private and on-premises environments, can be customized based on users' needs and is on a fixed monthly billing cycle.
  • The private cloud option -- with an enterprise version that starts with 192 compute cores, 768 GB of memory and 7.2 TB of storage -- starts at $9,800 per month. The standard private cloud starts at $7,100 per month.

IBM's sales representatives can discuss pricing packages in greater detail, and IBM also provides a payment calculator, which lets prospective customers modify several fields including instance numbers, data usage estimates and individual users, to determine monthly rates.

Users have several options when choosing a support package for Bluemix. The Free and Basic editions, both of which are free of charge, are included with Bluemix trial accounts and pay-as-you-go or subscription accounts, respectively. Both are recommended for nonproduction workloads where issues would not require immediate response times. The Standard edition, included with Bluemix Dedicated and Local environments, is recommended for environments with some business-critical applications. Standard support costs $200 per month or 10% of a subscriber's Bluemix Public charges, whichever is greater. The Premium edition, for mission-critical environments, includes an assigned Client Success Manager with eight hours per week availability. Premium support costs $10,000 per month or 10% of Bluemix Public charges, whichever is greater. To upgrade to Premium support, customers can contact IBM's sales department directly. All customers, regardless of their support edition, have free access to Bluemix Developer Community resources online.

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