IBM launches Swift answer to Lambda at Interconnect 2016

open sourceIBM has unveiled a raft of new announcements today at Interconnect 2016, its largest ever cloud event. The rally, in Las Vegas, attracted 25,000 clients, partners and developers who were briefed on new partnerships with VMWare, IBM’s work with Apple’s Swift language, Bitly, Gigster, GitHub, Watson APIs and a new platform, BlueMix OpenWhisk.

The Bluemix OpenWhisk is IBM’s answer to Amazon Web Services’ event driven system Lambda, which allows developers to create automated responses to events when certain conditions are met. Automated responses have become a critical area for public cloud service providers and BCN recently reported how Google launched Google Cloud Functions in order to match the AWS offering to developers. All the systems aim to give developers a way to programme responses without needing to implement integration-related changes in the architecture, but IBM claims OpenWhisk is the only one whose underlying code will be available under an open-source license on the code publishing site Github.

By allowing all users open access to inspect code IBM says it can inspire greater levels of developer collaboration. IBM said OpenWhisk is highly customisable through either web services or using commands and it can be adapted to company requirements rather than being an inflexible cloud services.

OpenWhisk will work with both the server-side JavaScript framework and Apple’s increasingly popular Swift programming language. With a range of application programming interfaces (APIs) IBM claims the OpenWhisk service will have greater flexibility than the rival services from Google and AWS.

In a statement IBM explained the next phase of its plan to bring Swift to the Cloud with a preview of a Swift runtime and a Swift Package Catalog to help enable developers to create apps for the enterprise. The new Swift runtime builds on the Swift Sandbox IBM launched in December and allows developers to write applications in Swift in the cloud and create continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) condition that run apps written in Swift in production on the IBM public cloud.

IBM also announced a new option for users to run GitHub Enterprise on top of IBM Bluemix and in a company’s own data centre infrastructure.

In another announcement IBM gave details of a new partnership with VMware aimed at helping enterprises take better advantage of the cloud’s speed and economics. A new working arrangement means enterprise customers will find it easier to extend their existing workloads from their on-premises software-defined data centre to the cloud. The partnership gives IBM users the option to run VMware computing, storage and networking workloads on top of the IBM cloud. The new level of integration applies to vSphere, Virtual SAN, NSX, vCenter and vRealize Automation. In addition the IBM cloud is now part of the vCloud Air Network from VMware and the two partners will jointly sell hybrid cloud.