Cloud Foundry Review

Node-RED shortens the amount of time required to develop, test, and deploy new applications. Eventually, you will crave the use of other third-party applications.

What is our primary use case?

The aim was to use the smartphone for an IoT project.

Our objectives were to show how sensor data generated by the smartphone could be sent, stored, and visualized using the MQTT protocol.

Environment consisted of following prerequisites:

  • Ubuntu
  • Node-RED
  • Node.js
  • Web service 

We made use of the IBM Watson IoT Platform, a cloud-hosted service, instead of building a platform from scratch. Then, we created web apps on IBM Cloud Foundry that processes, visualizes, and stores the data.

We also had to design the flow in Node-RED.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved in following ways:

  1. Improved installation time: Given the number of prerequisites, the setup would have taken a long time, especially because of the fact that I had a Windows PC and was using Hyper-V. I would first have to setup a VM environment. 
  2. Integration: Integrated modules are available seamlessly, like mobile, database, and authentication.
  3. Interface: Node-RED graphical flow diagram.
  4. Ease of use: Node.js for hosting IoT components.
  5. Minimal support: Using Bluemix (IBM cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)), it provides a platform by which multiple application components (e.g., database, authentication, etc.) can be implemented quickly.

    What is most valuable?

    The ability to focus on the application and service by working around and by passing the technology stack.

    Node.js is the most important advantage as it provided us with the ability to start rapidly using a pre-built solution instead of having to deploy from scratch and install a lot of prerequisites.

    My favorite component of IBM's solution is Node-RED, which greatly shortens the amount of time required to develop, test, and deploy new applications.

    What needs improvement?

    I feel that IBM is still primarily for techies as far as the user interface is concerned. Since there are now guys coming from non-IT backgrounds, I feel that some improvement is needed compared to AWS, but more specially compared to Azure.

    After the initial excitement period with Node-RED is over, you crave the need of additional integrations to third-party services.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stable during the time of implementation.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    You are allocated a minimum amount of resources in the free tier. This seems fair and highly scalable, as you pay per usage as per cloud pricing schemes.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?


    What was our ROI?

    By moving to IBM Cloud Foundry, we reduced our project time by a factor of two and decreased costs by a factor of four because it was a PoC.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    IBM has a free tier and payment option depending on the products selected.

    The pricing models should be reworked to the needs of a wider range of companies. Some customers will not be able to afford it until quite a few years into production, even after good PoC results and a successful launch.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I evaluated Azure and AWS, comparing the three of them. IBM is the only vendor to offer integration with blockchain for smart contract development (compared to Azure and AWS).

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    **Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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