IBM expands Bluemix OpenWhisk to help developers quickly connect data to serverless apps

Via IBM Press Center

Apr 28, 2017

Armonk, NY - 27 Apr 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has added new capabilities to Bluemix OpenWhisk, one of the leading open serverless computing platforms, to help developers more simply and securely connect event-driven programming into outside data streams.

This expansion of OpenWhisk allows developers to expose serverless actions as secure and controlled APIs on the cloud, making it easier and quicker to build IoT and cognitive solutions. This is enabled by a new API Gateway on Bluemix OpenWhisk, which acts as gatekeeper between an external source – such as an uploaded image – and a corresponding OpenWhisk action – such as Watson Visual Recognition tagging that image.

Traditionally, developers that use serverless often must configure and secure external endpoints manually. The latest evolution of IBM’s serverless offering does this for developers automatically, helping them to more easily embed cognitive intelligence, cloud data services, and IoT sensor data within apps. OpenWhisk’s expanded user experience also tracks and analyzes usage data for each serverless action invoked, helping teams to better understand when and why different cloud services are used. These advancements point to IBM’s continued commitment to providing choice and flexibility to developers around how they pull in the outside tools and data they need to create apps.

“We’ve been steadily building OpenWhisk to give developers a truly open serverless platform, which increases their ability to build and use transformative services such as cognitive and IoT,” said Jason McGee, VP and CTO, IBM Cloud Platform. “Today’s news further readies OpenWhisk for the enterprise, making it easier to use more securely and in concert with outside code, data and systems.”

To date, OpenWhisk adoption has accelerated across a range of startups building serverless innovations, which tap into cognitive, Internet of Things and data services to help transform industries. These companies include:

  • Abilisense provides Smart Home Safety, using a technology which interprets sound into alerts. AbiliSense IoT Sensors are triggered by OpenWhisk to automatically categorize and correlate incoming sound, helping Abilisense to improve the responsiveness and accuracy of their systems and to alert relevant parties.
  • BIGVU allows anyone to make videos like a pro with just a smartphone, and without any video editing skills. Companies can scale video creation in-house for training, social media, content marketing and internal communications. Using OpenWhisk, the BIGVU apps trigger new videos to be transformed into multiple resolutions, automatic chroma-key background change and sound editing.
  • GreenQ is transforming how cities sustainably collect waste with an Internet of Garbage (IoG) solution, which tracks and optimizes garbage collection via scheduling, routing and vehicle fleet management – saving cities up to 50 percent of their waste expenditures. Using OpenWhisk, the GreenQ sensors installed on garbage trucks help to recognize patterns and correlations which optimize these operations.
  • NeuroApplied reveals consumers’ thoughts about brands. The marketing startup’s platform engages users with quick, fun and easy online games, turning to OpenWhisk to handle bursts of user activity and create different game content for each user.

IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk is a commercial extension of the Apache OpenWhisk project, and one of the few serverless platforms developed largely by the open community. Running on the foundation of Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, it allows developers to execute code and cloud services – such as cognitive intelligence and IoT tools – automatically and on-demand, and without the need to manage and configure infrastructure.

OpenWhisk offers one of the broadest ranges of connections into unique services such as Watson APIs and the Watson IoT Platform, as well as an expanding ecosystem of partner tools, such as Kong’s open API connector and PubNub’s data stream network for real-time applications.

Since the general availablity of OpenWhisk in late 2016, IBM has continued to expand the user experience of serverless computing, broadening its reach to multiple industries. This includes:

  • Support for API Gateway at no additional cost to developers;
  • Web action support to quickly program backend logic for web apps;
  • Support for OpenWhisk’s integration with Message Hub, allowing binary data, such as real-time intelligence from IoT sensors, to be easily integrated into OpenWhisk apps. This also can now be used with any Kafka-based deployment.
  • An improved serverless framework to simplify moving apps between cloud providers and keep the development environment consistent.
  • Support for additional programming languages, including Python 3, as well as for a growing range of container platforms, including Docker, Mesos and Kubernetes.

Bluemix has grown rapidly to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. Built on open source technologies, it features over 150 advanced technologies and services, including cognitive intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things tools, security and DevOps.

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