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IBM Bluemix touts 'easy button' for DevOps deployment pipelines

IBM delivered its Bluemix Continuous Delivery service this week – it is now generally available on Bluemix Dedicated, IBM’s virtual private cloud offering, as well as its public cloud as of last month.

News that the DevOps deployment pipeline automation service has come to the virtual private environment carries more significance than if it came from another cloud company. IBM’s user base is squarely situated in large established firms, which tend to favor virtual private cloud offerings.

“IBM are targeting their enterprise customers, who are transitioning to Agile and DevOps,” said Robert Stroud, analyst with Forrester Research. “I am starting to see organizations look for an ‘easy button’ in their toolchains and this should appeal to their traditional [customer] base.”

IBM is not alone in offering DevOps deployment pipeline tools as a service. Tools such as Amazon’s CodePipeline and CodeDeploy, as well as Electric Cloud and Codeship, predate IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery service by years. IBM previously offered a product called Delivery Pipeline, now Delivery Pipeline Classic, as well as IBM Bluemix DevOps Services, which has evolved into the IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery.

“The key differentiator for Bluemix Continuous Delivery is that it offers a complete toolchain point of view that allows developers to quickly deploy and integrate tools that are preconfigured to meet the needs of each individual client,” said CJ Paul, distinguished engineer and chief architect, IBM Cloud DevOps. “Availability on Bluemix Dedicated enables users to provision a private, hosted Bluemix environment with an extensive catalog of cloud services.”

Service integrations in this catalog include the built-in ability to rendezvous with GitHub and Slack.

As DevOps matures from a world requiring copious amounts of expertise and elbow grease to achieve, integration becomes the name of the game. IBM appears to have a number of iterations of this product, but its integration,  story is hitting the market at a time when enterprise budgets are focused on building DevOps pipelines. The idea of a pipeline-as-a-service could be an appealing one for these customers, but such pipelines also must stay limber enough to accommodate new technology, so it remains important for IBM to balance keeping up with tech trends  while maintaining a stable and reliable offering.

“The IBM [news] does appear to be in the right direction,” said Peter Richards, a recently retired financial services executive who has worked with large banks. “It is important to have closer integration across the whole application stack, and this looks like a good step.”

There is one thing not equipped with an ‘easy button’ here: figuring out how much IBM Bluemix Continuous Delivery will set you back. Pricing plans include a free tier, a “pay as you go” plan, and subscription licensing. A pricing calculator is necessary to estimate its cost depending on the user’s environment.