The line between what constitutes a cloud service versus managed hosting has become increasingly fine in recent years. Case in point is a new private IBM Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering launched last week. It resides on the IBM Softlayer public cloud, but customers now have the option to deploy a private instance of IBM Bluemix on either a virtual or physical server.

Steve Robinson, general manager for IBM cloud platform services, said because IBM Softlayer gives customers the option to deploy workloads on both types of servers, it made sense to offer a private instance of Bluemix. But IBM isn’t stopping there, it also launched this week unfurled a raft of DevOps services running on the IBM SoftLayer cloud that are designed to make it easier to build, deploy and manage applications in the cloud.

Collectively, Robinson said the two offerings are intended to make it possible to build applications made up of services that can be composed together to not only build applications faster, but also ones that from an end user experience are a lot more elegant than ever before in terms of how tightly integrated various functions actually are.

As the IBM cloud computing strategy continues to unfold, Robinson said that IBM envisions that there will be multiple instances of IBM Bluemix running in a variety of data centers that will be managed by both IBM and its partners. One of the primary reasons IBM decided to build Bluemix using the open source Cloud Foundry PaaS is to enable that level of portability, said Robinson. At the moment, however, Robinson said IBM is delivering streams of updates to Bluemix that make it a necessity for IBM to run Bluemix at least until the cadence of those updates becomes more regular. Longer term, Robinson said IBM envisions a world where application workloads move not only in and out of the cloud, but between them as well.

Obviously, someone is going to have manage all that activity. For example, an application that was developed in one cloud might need to be move back on premise or on to an enterprise-grade public cloud. Just as likely, as price points change customers may opt to move an application workload to lower their cloud costs. And, of course, there’s nothing like unplanned downtime or a security breach to get organizations highly motivated to move an application workload.

No matter the cause, DevOps across hybrid cloud environments is getting more complex by the day, which in turn is creating new opportunities for anybody who is up to the task of managing all the chaos that by definition now goes with managing those processes.