In advance of InterConnect next week in Las Vegas, I had a chance to sit down with Rachel Reinitz,Distinguished Engineer & CTO of IBM Bluemix Garage. I have met Rachel several times and it is always a pleasure to catch up on all of the innovative things her and her team are doing with Bluemix Garage. In this conversation, Rachel and I spoke about open technologies which is a focus for us this month, as well as a big focus of the Bluemix Garage method. We also spoke about “innovating like a startup, while scaling for the enterprise”. To learn more about the IBM Bluemix Garage Method, please visit: https://www.ibm.com/devops/method/
You can find our conversation below and a transcript of it below that. Enjoy!
Alan Shimel: Hi, everyone. Alan Shimel, DevOps.com here for another DevOps chat. Today’s special guest is Rachel Reinitz of IBM. Rachel, welcome.
Rachel Reinitz: Thanks, Alan. It’s always nice to be talking with you.
Alan Shimel: Yes, actually I think the last time we spoke was DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco. And Rachel, for our listeners who may not be familiar or didn’t get a chance to see our video which is on YouTube from DevOps Enterprise Summit, why don’t you tell them a little bit about yourself.
Rachel Reinitz: So I am a distinguished engineer at IBM and I co-founded and I’m the technical lead for the IBM Bluemix Garages.
Alan Shimel: Excellent. And you know, Rachel, there’s been a lot of announcements and news and developments, no pun intended, coming out of the IBM Bluemix Garages that some in our audience may not be familiar with. So give us some of the highlights. First of all, what is the IBM Bluemix Garage? And what’s happening with it?
Rachel Reinitz: So we are a consultancy within IBM. We work with customers making them successful in adopting Bluemix. And we are unique in that we are housed in startup communities. We work with both startup customers through to enterprise customers. And really what we work on is taking an idea, a problem or a concept and applying IBM design thinking, lean startup, extreme programming, DevOps to go from that idea to the definition of a minimal viable product and then onto building it and getting it out there and testing it out with users, testing the business hypotheses, all the really good DevOps practices and utilizing Bluemix which also gives us a lot of acceleration because of the kinds of services in the environment that we are in. So that’s what we do. It’s an exciting place to work and we have – and for clients to come into with designers, architects, developers. That’s pretty much what we do.
Alan Shimel: Got it. Rachel, I was lucky enough to visit an IBM Bluemix Garage. I guess it was at the DevOps Enterprise Summit, around that time in San Francisco. And the best way I can explain it was it’s sort of a lab, kind of a living lab where experimentation was going on as well as education and development. And it seemed like a pretty cool environment. And both for enterprise as you mentioned, anything from enterprises on up to startups.
Rachel Reinitz: That’s right. I think that that’s a good summary of it. We are in the startup community so we work with the startups there. And it really helps enterprises to innovate like startups, to get kind of out of their environment into our environment, a very collaborative space as you saw, when you were visiting right in the hardest heart community, we’ve actually, in some of environment news, we’ve moved to a different space still within the galvanized community in San Francisco, a bigger space, which is really exciting. We just had a little party there. And we have other locations. We are in Toronto and in London and we have a location in Nice. Each one is in a different kind of startup community. And we are working on Melbourne. So you’ll have to come investigate some of our other locations.
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. We are actually doing a series of roadshows, one of which will be in London in April. We’d love to get some of the IBM Bluemix Garage folks at that. But we will talk off-line. Rachel, one of the reasons I invited you on was this month on DevOps.com, we are really focusing on what we call the open technologies and open enterprise. And by that we don’t mean just open source software, though certainly open source software is part of it. But there’s more to open then software, isn’t there?
Rachel Reinitz: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s knowledge sharing is a big part of open, sharing different kinds of knowledge in different kinds of mediums. And I think where you’re going is to the fact that we’ve now taken what we’ve been taking in the Garage and actually merged it with what we’ve been doing in open source and DevOps Transformation within IBM and we published that as the IBM Bluemix Garage method which is out there in public, open for people to use. And we’re also looking for contributions.
Alan Shimel: Absolutely. And it is open, right? The whole methodology, if you will, is open. And I happen to know only because I’ve spoken to you folks before, a lot of the tools you are using are open source tools, traditional open source software. But really, when we talk about the open garage method, as I’ve heard it referred to, it’s open through and through, if you will, right? It truly is open technology.
Rachel Reinitz: Yes. So it’s taking the lessons that we’ve been learning, it’s providing prescriptive paths and recommendations and that crosses from our software to what we are doing in the open community and open source, open-source testing tools, third-party tools. It’s what we find is working in projects that we are doing and recommendations around specific kinds of applications like a mobile application. What do we recommend? What did we learn and are sharing those learnings as you were saying out in the open? How do you go about testing them, for example? What are your different options? Things like that.
Alan Shimel: Fantastic. Rachel, how big is Bluemix a part of this garage method, though?
Rachel Reinitz: It’s definitely a big part of it in terms of we think that using Bluemix and other IBM technologies is a way to really accelerate building these kinds of applications. But it’s not exclusive to that. So when we talk about innovative practices, when we talk about some of our toolchain, no, it could be used with other technologies. Obviously I think there’s a lot of good reasons to use it with Bluemix.
Alan Shimel: Sure, sure. And again, you know what, Rachel? We may have some folks who perhaps aren’t even familiar with Bluemix, why don’t we quickly give them a level set. When we say Bluemix, what are we talking about?
Rachel Reinitz: So Bluemix is IBM’s platform as a service. It exists in public which is then hosted in our data centers, our public data centers for software. We also have a dedicated version where we provide a managed single instance of that same capability. And then we have what we call local which can deploy onto your own systems behind your firewall. And Bluemix has multiple models for writing applications with Cloud Foundry containers and VMs. And it has a whole range of services. At last count, I think we were at about 140 and those are IBM services like our SQL DB which is a form of DB2. But it’s also third-party services like New Relic. And as I said, it runs Cloud Foundry, it runs open-source runtimes. You can bring your own runtimes. So there’s a lot of openness to it.
Alan Shimel: Excellent, excellent. And Rachel, you mentioned IBM was looking to work with third-party partners around this open methodology, open-source. What kind of partners, what kind of contributions would you be looking for that you think makes sense?
Rachel Reinitz: So we have the concept of an open toolchain where different technologies can be integrated, again, around solving a particular kind of problem like mobile. And our toolchain team works with different partners. So we are very open to partners coming in and saying hey, can we be part of the toolchain and talking about how you integrate? So for example Slack is part of what we talk about there. That’s one kind of integration. Another level of integration we have is in Bluemix itself. So we have third-party services there and we have a whole program for how a company that’s providing capability that would be of interest to developers can integrate into Bluemix and be part of our ecosystem.
Alan Shimel: Got it, got it. And Rachel, believe it or not, we are coming up on the – I promised you it would be about 10 minutes. We are going to run a little over but I wanted to quickly pivot, if you will. Besides this month being open technologies on DevOps.com, we are also featuring our coverage of the upcoming IBM Interconnect Conference in Las Vegas. And I would imagine, pardon me, I haven’t pre-checked; but I would imagine IBM’s Bluemix Garage is going to have a prominent place at Interconnect, correct?
Rachel Reinitz: Yes, yes. I’m really excited about Interconnect. We have, in the expo area, we actually have basically a mini garage set up, even with a motorcycle, I’m told. And we basically take you through the journey with a focus on our innovation path and we are sitting right next door to our DevOps team who also support the method so you can come and see what we are doing in terms of serving your innovation process and we show code, of course, and delivery pipeline. And that if you want to get even deeper and know the different options, we have the DevOps booth right near us. We have customers coming and talking about the work they’ve been doing with the Bluemix Garage method. We have workshops where you can get into a roundtable and really dive into it. So there’s a ton of things going on at Interconnect around the method. And of course, I’m presenting, too.
Alan Shimel: Really? What are you presenting on, Rachel?
Rachel Reinitz: I’m presenting on the Garage and on the method. I’ll be speaking, I think it’s Monday at 6:00 PM and then there’s a variety of different sessions. And then most exciting is I have some of my clients presenting with us.
Alan Shimel: Really? In case anybody listening is actually attending Interconnect as they very well might, can you give us – I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but can you tell us maybe customers and which sessions customers are talking at?
Rachel Reinitz: I’d have to look up specific sessions but we have KS2 and ManualLife, clients I’ve worked with really closely. Those are a couple of the – oh, and we have Spigot which has a really interesting cloud sourcing platform. So those are some of the customers that are going to be speaking. And there’s maybe a couple others that are ready to be talked about yet.
Alan Shimel: Fantastic. And of course, on the expo floor, people can actually get hands-on with the Garage for themselves and see what it’s about.
Rachel Reinitz: Absolutely.
Alan Shimel: And just again, in case anyone listening, Interconnect is February 21-25, I believe. And it’s at Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Rachel, just one more question. What’s next?
Rachel Reinitz: More. More services. More services coming on Bluemix. We just had some – there’s new analytics, there’s new Watson services. It’s more coming, more projects with clients, cool Internet of things kinds of projects, more garages in the future building up the ones we have. Lots is going on. And in the method, too. More tools in the method, more prescriptive paths.
Alan Shimel: Do you think we will see a Bluemix Garage method 2.0?
Rachel Reinitz: Not 2.0 because we continuously deliver.
Alan Shimel: That’s exactly right. Good jump on the answer.
Rachel Reinitz: We came out with our MVP at DevOps Enterprise and now we will be having, you’ll see a lot more in there for Interconnect. We will just keep on going.
Alan Shimel: Fantastic. Rachel, we are way over time so I’m going to need to call it a day here. But Rachel Reinitz, distinguished engineer of IBM and sort of mother of IBM’s Bluemix Garage. Welcome. Or thank you for being on DevOps Chats today. Look forward to seeing you at Interconnect February 21 out in Vegas. And look forward to continuing development on the IBM Bluemix Garage and Garage method. Thanks for appearing today.
Rachel Reinitz: Thanks, Alan.