Yesterday IBM announced the availability of the dedicated BlueMix PaaS. Why would you care? Some companies do not feel comfortable running in a fully shared public environment and dedicated PaaS running on IBM SoftLayer is as close to the on-premise as it gets, but arguably removes high barrier of entry and capital investment required to build on-premise cloud. Not everyone has the skills, money or scale to justify investment into the on-premise cloud. However, regardless of scale, your company might have security policies that do not allow running certain workloads in a public and shared environment (not yet that is). In this case, you can get the best of both worlds: (1) have off-premise PaaS hosted by IBM as a trusted provider with highest security standards and (2) avoid capital investment and time needed to build and maintain on-premise PaaS.
You might think – this is just too good to be true – where is the catch? Well, for now not all of the 75+ services available in the public environment are available in a dedicated BlueMix. For now you get several data oriented services, such as Cloudant, Data Caching, MQ Light, SQL, Session Cache, plus all the usual runtimes, including Liberty Java runtime (Java EE 6 Web Profile+), IBM SDK for Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Ruby Sinatra, and you can bring Custom Runtime Buildpack. In addition to these, you can integrate with your own LDAP, your on-premise databases, have firewall and VPN, and have full IBM support. If you have not been paying attention, BlueMix is based on CloudFoundry PaaS and is developed and provided by IBM on SoftLayer cloud.
Some IBM competitors in the PaaS space (Red Hat Open Shift is one such example) are using Amazon EC2 or other 3rd party clouds and do not have the ability to provide dedicated instances of their PaaS because the underlying IaaS simply has no such capability. IBM makes this possible by using its own SoftLayer Cloud as the foundation for its PaaS and hence can run BlueMix on a dedicated hardware and provide this service to clients.
The other cool capability of BlueMix is a quick development tooling for building a Private API Catalog out of different kinds of resources, such as on-prem database, Cast Iron Live Orchestrations, existing BlueMix App, existing on-prem APIs. Here is the quick tutorial.