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Apps, Bluemixers, Cognitive Cocktails, & DevOps: The A, B, C’s (and D’s) of IBM Innovate

Last week, I traveled to IBM Innovate in sunny (and sometimes randomly extremely rainy) Orlando, Florida.  My team, the IBM DevOps Services team, seemed to be everywhere:  helping people with apps, mingling at the Bluemixer, drinking cognitive cocktails, and talking all about DevOps.  I’ll give you the highlights of our week…

The DevOps Keynote

Monday morning started off with a bang at the DevOps keynote. Sal Vella, Scott Rich, Dan Berg, and Rosalind Radcliffe demoed how to use Bluemix, DevOps Services, and UrbanCode Deploy together to analyze why a mobile app had a low app store rating and then raise the rating.  Watch the demo; the fun begins around 22:00.  (If watching all of those laptops come out with the music blaring doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will.)

The Pitstop

The Pitstop was a place for practitioners to swing by, change their tires (ok, not really), and learn how to Innovate@Speed.  The Pitstop had various areas including the Speed Labs, the Liberty Racecar Track, and the Meetup Zone.

The Speed Labs

In the Speed Lab area, practitioners could choose from a variety of fast labs where they created apps to learn about a particular product or practice.  You can try out the labs for yourself now by visiting

The great thing about the Speed Labs is that they allowed us to talk with people as they were learning to use our applications.  I spoke with a guy from Boeing who had just tried out DevOps Services for the first time at the Pitstop.  He was very impressed with DevOps Services and Bluemix.  What really stood out to him was the web IDE.  He said that a lot of companies are doing things on the cloud, but our web IDE is “one step ahead.”  If you haven’t tried out the web IDE for yourself, you can do so in the Node.js Apps with IBM DevOps Services and Bluemix lab.

The Liberty Race Car Track

The Liberty Racecar Track made the Pitstop actually feel like a Pitstop.  Here, users were able to use their mobile devices to control a race car with a Raspberry Pi inside of it.  I stopped by the Pitstop to learn all about the cool technology running the race cars:

The Meetup Zone

The Pitstop also had a meetup area where experts gathered together to share their knowledge and chat with other practitioners.  Our own Kate Hauser served as an expert in the Cloud meetup.  I particularly enjoyed the Watson and Internet of Things meetup where Veronica Belmont asked the panel what is the weirdest connected device they’ve seen.

The Bluemixer

On Monday night, our team hosted the Bluemixer at the Bluezoo.  We mixed and mingled with Innovate attendees to learn about how they are leveraging DevOps in their own organizations.

Watson created a cognitive cocktail just for us:  the Blue Hurricane.  I enjoyed the flashing blue ice cube, but I think Watson’s cocktail may have been about as good as his response on Jeopardy to the answer, “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle.”

The Open Labs

The open lab area was a place where practitioners could get in-depth experience through 30-60 minute labs.  The Open Labs were completely self paced and designed to be completed without instruction.  You can still access the three-part DevOps Services open lab:

  1. Using IBM DevOps Services & Bluemix Services: Part 1, Deploying & Updating a Simple App
  2. Using IBM DevOps Services & Bluemix Services: Part 2, Deploying an App that Uses a Bluemix Service
  3. Using IBM DevOps Services & Bluemix Services: Part 3, Planning, Tracking, & Leveraging New BlueMix Services

The Sessions

Our team hosted a variety of sessions at Innovate including “The New Developer Experience: Rapid Solution Delivery with Bluemix Services” and “DevOps Technical Strategy and Roadmap.”   The “What’s new in DevOps Services” session I hosted with Adam Archer was a particularly amazing session. ;-)

Anton McConville hosted a session titled “Creating Enterprise Mobile Apps with DevOps Services, Bluemix and MQA.”  In his session, he described how he developed a mobile application for the non-governmental organization, ShelterBox.  I was so impressed with Anton volunteering his skills to help an amazing organization that I sat down to chat with him.  (Sorry the sound is so rough–I really need a mic!)

See You Next Year!

To see more of the fun we had, check out our Facebook album.

Innovate is moving to Las Vegas next year.  Hopefully, the MGM Grand will have revolving doors, because this needs to become a new DevOps Services team tradition.

Lauren Schaefer
Growth Hacking Engineer, IBM DevOps Services
Social Media Lead, and IBM DevOps Services