IBM allows developers to connect data to serverless apps using Bluemix OpenWhisk

IBM announced that it has added new capabilities to Bluemix OpenWhisk, an open serverless computing platforms, to help developers 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.

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

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.

OpenWhisk works through rules that bind events and triggers to actions. Web and mobile applications often invoke OpenWhisk actions directly through API calls through mobile SDK. More commonly, Watson or other Bluemix services invoke OpenWhisk actions by generating events to which OpenWhisk actions respond. When an event or an API call invokes an action, OpenWhisk creates a container to run the action in a runtime appropriate to the programming language used. OpenWhisk also can run custom-coded actions packaged in a Docker container.

Since the general availability 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 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. It also delivers support for additional programming languages, including Python 3, as well as for a growing range of container platforms, including DockerMesos and Kubernetes.

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. 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.

“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.”

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