IBM has kicked off its annual Impact conference by announcing two "ecosystems" that it claims will radically simplify the development and deployment of applications in mobile and datacentre environments.
The new offerings fall into two product strands. The first, Mobile Foundation, is a new platform based on IBM's recent acquisition of mobile software company Worklight. The second strand consists of extensions to IBM's datacentre-orientated PureSystems family, which was announced earlier this month. Together, the two product families will consist of around two dozen separate software and service elements that IBM will release over the next three months.
Marie Wieck, IBM general manager of application and integration middleware, said that the Mobile Foundation platform - designed to encompass mobile application development, integration, security and management - draws on lessons learned from earlier "e-business" experience.
"We learned that it's not just about creating a website, it's how you integrate that with the rest of your systems and later on, how you manage the content. No solution is an island."
Steve Mills, IBM senior vice president of software and systems, said that the PureSystems family was aimed at streamlining the set up and management of hardware and software resources through deeper automation and sandboxing.
Mills said that IBM's research had shown that a consistent 70 percent of global IT expenditure was "non-asset related."
"In other words that means labour, labour and more labour. As computers have reduced in cost the setting up remains expensive. We haven't been able to reduce labour costs."
The extensions to PureSystems are designed to help software companies and businesses create what IBM calls "patterns of expertise" which can be embedded into PureSystems machines to automate a wide variety of manual and administrative tasks.
Such patterns will be able to be created and tested through IBM's SmartCloud sandbox and deployed as re-usable and downloadable packages.
IBM says the PureSystems environment will be available to developers for 90 days on a free trial. According to Wieck the SmartCloud environment will allow developers to build and test a prototype mobile application, for example, without requiring financing or infrastructure permissions.
"We're offering them a chance to get their hands dirty," she said.
*Foreman is attending the Impact 2012 conference in Las Vegas as a guest of IBM