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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Lightbend Collaborates with IBM; Creates New Platform for Cognitive Development


IBM late last month announced a strategic collaboration with San Francisco-based startup Lightbend to work on a new platform for cognitive development. The goal is to give Java and Scala developers a complete toolchain for building AI and cognitive applications that run on premises, hybrid or in the cloud.

And now, IBM announced it has joined a $15 million funding round in Lightbend, along with Intel, Bain, Shasta, Juniper and strategic venture capital investors.

I spoke to Lightbend CEO Mark Brewer to learn more.

VMblog:  The joint solution collaboration work with IBM looks like a potential game changer for Lightbend, putting you right in the middle of IBM's strategic focus today for developers.  The investment must be icing on the cake?  What does it mean?

Mark Brewer:  IBM is the leader in AI and cognitive applications, particularly around their Watson project. We're the leading Reactive Platform provider helping developers build applications that are highly distributed, flexible, scalable and resilient. It turns out these qualities are important as well to developers building AI and cognitive applications.

Collaborating with IBM on joint solutions was a logical next step. We think we can accelerate adoption of our solutions among the world's 1+ million Scala developers and 10+ million Java developers by partnering with IBM. IBM is putting engineering talent and its own investment dollars behind our technology.

VMblog:  Can you break down in more detail how the technology collaboration will work?

Brewer:  The vision behind our collaboration is to expose Watson and cognitive-driven applications as microservices that can be integrated into broader systems, including IBM Websphere. The challenge is how to make microservices available in real-time, all the time. How does cognitive get driven into application architectures?

At a business level, we see competitive market forces pushing companies to get value out of data faster. As a result, CIOs and data center architects are turning to programming languages and frameworks based on their ability to deliver responsiveness, resiliency and elasticity. Lightbend has developed a stack of software that delivers these qualities and that runs today in production at enterprises as varied as Paypal, Verizon and Walmart.

Working with IBM on an integrated platform for cognitive development is a natural progression of our work to support advanced cognitive application development.


Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 7:01 AM by David Marshall
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