IBM Bluemix Blog | June 20, 2017

IBM teams with Apprenda to bring .NET workloads to IBM Cloud

The world’s biggest companies are aggressively moving to the cloud as they undergo digital transformationThey’re competing with smaller, nimble startups and potentially disruptive competitors.

Being able to quickly build and market solutions that customers expect is important. Yet most large enterprises have decades of investment in existing IT applications, which they’re unable and, in many cases, unwilling to jettison as they move forward.

Modernizing .NET apps

Apprenda offers productivity tools to help developers build modern applications. The company usually focuses on large enterprises which may be building their own custom software or cloud enabling existing applications to modernize the investments they already have.

Apprenda’s typical customer has a lot of software developers working with a mix of Windows and .NET, as well as Java. They most likely have mixed into that a lot of cloud-native new development, so the offerings and the application portfolio that they carry is heterogeneous.

An Apprenda customer said, “We really love the .NET capabilities you bring to the table, and we also have IBM Bluemix, and we love what it has. We want to use both. But it’s not a dream come true for our management team to have to invest in two separate platforms.”

Thus, a new challenge emerged: how could a customer incorporate new cognitive services into .NET apps? Historically, there wasn’t an answer.

Offering Bluemix functionality to .NET developers

Apprenda’s relationship with IBM started organically, based on customer feedback and interactions. Both companies have a mutual interest in solving the joint problem of offering Bluemix support and services such as Watson to Apprenda customers while equipping IBM customers with the ability to migrate existing Windows and .NET apps to Bluemix.

The companies started off with a set of whiteboard sessions, talking through business, customer pain and the engineering effort it would take. The goal was to support Windows and .NET for Bluemix customers and weave that in with Bluemix cognitive services.

Today, with .NET support in Bluemix, developers can very quickly cloud enable .NET applications without a lot of work. They simply move the application to the platform and can attach cognitive services or cloud-scale storage to mix their existing .NET view of the world with the more modern outcome that they want. The solution goes beyond an onboarding mechanism for existing .NET apps. It transforms applications in a low-friction way to be as cognitive as possible.

First-class integration

Apprenda and IBM wanted to keep the developer experience native and natural for the Microsoft and .NET community, so the companies built integration with Bluemix tooling and with tooling on the Microsoft platform. This was critical to ensure that the solution was a true integration and didn’t appear to be a bolt-on or afterthought. The solution is fully self-service with seamless onboarding. It’s a deep and rich experience for .NET developers.

It’s really exciting to modernize .NET applications without reworking them. Before the Apprenda on IBM Cloud solution, customers might have considered rewriting everything they had from the past decade, which would be a daunting process. Because of the partnership, now they can leverage the expertise they already have. It’s easy for them to start building .NET apps and take advantage of the full range of Bluemix services, including artificial intelligence and cognitive services. That’s a powerful combination to bring to market.