This combination, called BlueMix, also makes use of Cloud Foundry, an open-source PaaS. BlueMix's goal is to "enable developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage their cloud applications, while tapping a growing ecosystem of available services and runtime frameworks."
Specifically, BlueMix, which is now in beta, is meant to help programmers build cloud applications that will:
Reduce time for application/infrastructure provisioning
Allow for flexible capacity
Help to address any lack of internal tech resources
Reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Accelerate exploration of new workloads – social, mobile, big data
In an interview with The Street, Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, explained, "Enterprises increasingly have two broad categories of systems. On one hand, a system of records; think about your transactional systems, your core banking systems, your accounting systems. Those systems are very stable. They're highly optimized and there's not a lot of change in those systems."
The other applications are "mobile applications, situational applications, social applications, and where you need to react very, very fast, where you need to deploy very, very fast. We call those 'systems of engagement,'" continued Clementi. "Now the value of the enterprise lies in the fact that you can connect through your mobile application, go straight into your transactional data or into your inventory data, and solve your business problems. But you want to do it without losing security, quality of service, and high availability--all the characteristics that enterprises need."
To do this IBM will be making its middleware stacks, such as WebSphere, and the transactional systems behind them, to PaaS via pre-defined "Software Patterns." According to IBM this will let developers easily bring legacy applications to the hybrid cloud and from there to the system of engagement apps.
If you want to double-down on IBM's bet, BlueMix is currently in open beta. It sounds to me like a good bet.