IBM has announced companies across a range of industries, including one of the world's top banks, Santander Group, are designing and testing new apps with Bluemix OpenWhisk, IBM's event-driven and open serverless computing platform. IBM is also releasing new OpenWhisk features designed to help developers rapidly debug code, more tightly integrate with third party tools, and adopt a broader range of programming languages.

IBM is expanding and tightening integrations with the growing ecosystem surrounding OpenWhisk, which offers an open, non-proprietary engine. By building OpenWhisk with open standards from the ground up and rooting its code in active developer communities, such as Apache, IBM aims to grow the range of capabilities developers can instantly access. An open serverless platform also provides freedom to choose where apps can run.

Available on Bluemix, IBM's cloud platform, OpenWhisk acts as an underlying force within apps, binding together relevant events and triggers, such as the uploading of an image or the clicking of a mouse. When triggered by such events, OpenWhisk automatically taps advanced cloud services as needed, such as cognitive intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics and more. This design essentially renders traditional cloud infrastructure invisible, enabling developers to focus on writing code instead of configuring servers.

Global organizations and startups turning to OpenWhisk

Santander Group, one of the world's top banks by market capitalization with 12,500 branches in its 10 core markets throughout Europe and the Americas, has chosen a serverless model, and OpenWhisk in particular, to help speed and optimize its digital banking.

"Microservices and containers are changing the way we build apps, but because of serverless, we can take that transformation even further," said Luis Enriquez, Head of Platform Engineering and Architecture at Santander Group. "OpenWhisk provides the instant infrastructure we need for intense tasks and unexpected peaks in workload, and is a key building block as we move to a real-time and event-driven architecture."

SiteSpirit, a Netherlands-based software development firm, is one of the many startups using OpenWhisk. The company has already fully moved and deployed its MediaSpirit tool, which manages large amounts of data, onto the serverless platform. Combined with cloud data services on Bluemix, OpenWhisk has enabled SiteSpirit to begin moving its customers to serverless models, helping them to roll out advanced, cloud-based data analytics with minimal infrastructure concerns, optimized utilization, automatic scaling and flexible programming.

Other companies exploring OpenWhisk include:

  • LogitBot, a New York-based financial technology firm, uses data and artificial intelligence to transform how investors research investment opportunities. OpenWhisk's ability to decompose an app into distinct elements has enabled the startup to more rapidly build advanced cloud technologies, such as its data analytics platform.

  • Altoros, a U.S.-based global software consulting firm which helps enterprises create, deploy and scale open cloud platforms into their operations. Using OpenWhisk, Altoros is building serverless, trigger-based platforms for organizations across a myriad of industries, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics. OpenWhisk is helping the company find new ways to drive greater efficiencies and more intelligent apps and operations.

  • Nepente, a creative software design firm based in Brazil, is tapping OpenWhisk to deploy and connect different elements of their apps and infrastructure, speeding their development process and time to market. Using serverless, the firm is able to compose apps in an orchestrated and well-designed way, helping to provide clients with high-performing user experiences.

"As an early adopter of serverless computing and OpenWhisk in particular, we've been able to architect our data ingestion pipeline with tremendous levels of speed and intelligence," said Michael Bishop, CTO of LogitBot. "OpenWhisk's on-demand model, combined with ease of access to cloud technologies, has allowed us to reliably and effortlessly scale."

OpenWhisk rolls out new features and tighter ecosystem integrations

Since the launch of OpenWhisk on Bluemix, IBM has continued to add new features for developers. With the general availability of OpenWhisk, these services include:

  • Instant debugging for NodeJS, Python and Swift actions;

  • Integration with MessageHub, a Bluemix-hosted Apache Kafka service for real-time build outs of data pipelines and streaming apps;

  • Support for new runtimes such as Java, Node v6, Python and Swift v3;

  • An extension for Visual Studio Code; and,

  • A new and improved user interface to simplify browser-based development and testing.

"Developers are turning to the cloud for efficiency, but they also want choice," said Bill Karpovich, general manager, IBM Cloud. "Since we've built OpenWhisk with open standards, it's able to not only help resolve many problems associated with server management, but also gives developers the flexibility to pull in outside tools and data and run code wherever they choose."

Bluemix, IBM's cloud platform, has grown rapidly to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. Based in open standards, it features over 150 advanced technologies and services, including cognitive computing, blockchain, Internet of Things, cloud data services, DevOps and security.

IBM Bluemix OpenWhisk is now generally available to all Bluemix pay-as-you-go users and subscribers.