A Liberty buildpack on Cloud Foundry

One of the joys of developing software is when I get to explore new environments and concepts. My personal interest has been to extend our efforts in making the Liberty profile a superb developer experience to making the Liberty profile a great server for the cloud. We’ve taken several decisions that are specifically designed to ensure we could easily fit into a cloud environment. Earlier this year IBM made some announcements around using OpenStack for our open cloud runtime, and yesterday we announced a partnership between us (IBM) and Pivotal around Cloud Foundry.

One of the many interesting things we’ve been exploring in this space is the buildpack concept provided by the Cloud Foundry environment. A buildpack provides a convenient way for gathering the framework and runtime dependencies of an application and placing them into a single package, called a droplet, which can then be deployed as a single unit unto a cloud instance. For example, deploying a web application into a cloud environment would need the droplet to contain the application and its application server (and Java runtime), together with other dependencies like the database drivers.

The deployment environment provided by the Cloud Foundry architecture makes use of buildpacks in exactly this style. By collaborating with the Cloud Foundry team to enhance the extensibility of their existing Java buildpack, we’ve been able to produce an early version of a Cloud Foundry buildpack that includes IBM Java and the WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core. Together with Cloud Foundry, we’re now making that available for proofs of concept in private deployments of Cloud Foundry. We’re also working to make the preview Liberty buildpack more broadly available for developers as well as enhancing the Java buildpack.

One of the environments where we have made the Liberty buildpack preview available is Project BlueMix. This is IBM’s implementation of an open cloud architecture built on Cloud Foundry and OpenStack. We are starting proof-of-concept projects with clients on Project BlueMix, where they can explore the preview Liberty buildpack and new services based on IBM’s software capabilities.