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IBM Microclimate platform speeds up microservices app dev

IBM's new microservices development platform is a comprehensive, cloud-native option for developers to build, test and deploy applications in the IBM Cloud Private environment.

IBM already makes significant investments that encourage developers to use its public cloud services. Its next move is to offer an environment where developers can build and modernize applications on its IBM Cloud Private platform.

The IBM Microclimate development platform is aimed at developers who create apps that run microservices across different IT environments. Developers can use IBM's free Microclimate tool set by itself or integrated into IBM Cloud Private.

IBM Microclimate supports application lifecycle management from code development and test to app deployment, which includes support for real-time performance insights, intelligent feedback, diagnostic services and an integrated DevOps pipeline, such as deployment to the cloud. The tools extend IBM's efforts to provide customers with a microservices framework through its Microservice Builder tool, released in June 2017

"IBM Microclimate is a toolbox that contains everything developers need for pursuing and completing cloud-native application and application modernization efforts," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Container-based with advanced coding

Charles King, principal analyst, Pund-ITCharles King

IBM Microclimate features a container-based platform that enables developers to design, develop, deploy and manage on-premises, containerized cloud applications behind the firewall, said Andy Hoyt, vice president of the developer experience for the IBM Hybrid Cloud.

The development environment supports multiple frameworks and runtimes, such as Java, Node and Swift, plus a variety of integrated development environments (IDEs), toolchains and pipelines. Microclimate can also import existing services for developers who want to enhance or modernize existing projects.

IBM's new Microclimate uses lightweight Docker containers orchestrated by Kubernetes to make it easy to build and move apps between different environments, Hoyt said. The same environment can be downloaded locally on a laptop or run on the cloud.

IBM Microclimate includes Theia, a Visual Studio Code-based cloud and desktop IDE written in TypeScript. Developers can use Theia or their favorite IDE to iterate on their services. In addition, Microclimate provides features, such as intelligent coding and rapid real-time code testing, to speed the development process. There is a preconfigured DevOps pipeline that developers can tailor to move apps to production faster, Hoyt said.

Building value for developers, IT ops

Application developer value is the name of the game in the Kubernetes-based cloud management platform space.
Rhett Dillinghamanalyst, Moor Insights & Strategy

IBM has invested deeply in cloud-native platform capabilities that build out the value of its IBM Cloud Private platform, experts said. The addition of Microclimate enriches the company's microservices approach to streamline comprehensive development, test and build environments with consistent use of Docker containers, said Rhett Dillingham, senior analyst for cloud services at Moor Insights & Strategy, based in Austin, Texas.

"Application developer value is the name of the game in the Kubernetes-based cloud management platform space, so Microclimate could become a significant driver of integrated value for IBM in building adoption of its Cloud Private platform," Dillingham said.

These services could resonate with IT operations, which has struggled in recent years to move applications into production, particularly under a microservices architecture, said Charlotte Dunlap, principal analyst at GlobalData.

With tools like Microclimate, IBM can enable developers to integrate vertical capabilities into their cloud apps, as vertical industries such as financial, healthcare and retail are looking for new revenue-generating opportunities, Dunlap said. Through its new services, IBM also is helping customers determine which processes are amenable to cost saving by moving to the cloud.

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