IBM and Docker announced a strategic partnership where IBM will work with Docker to sell integrated solutions with Docker Hub Enterprise (DHE).
The deal enables enterprises to more efficiently build and run new applications on the IBM Cloud and on prem via the Docker open platform. Enterprises can use the combination of IBM and Docker to create and manage portable distributed apps composed of discrete interoperable Docker containers, have a dynamic lifecycle, and can scale to run in concert anywhere from the developer’s laptop to hundreds of hosts in the cloud.
The move also eliminates underlying infrastructure constraints that limited their ability to innovate. Building on Docker’s Open Platform, the two companies will also help developers build smarter applications that are coupled with IBM’s strong security and integration with existing enterprise systems, including service management and DevOps.
As part of this partnership, IBM announced the beta of IBM Containers which is a Docker-based container service that will include open Docker-native features and interfaces, including the new Docker orchestration services. Delivered as part of Bluemix, IBM’s open cloud platform for application development, the IBM Containers service will enable enterprises to launch Docker containers directly onto the IBM Cloud on bare metal servers from SoftLayer.
The IBM Containers Service enables you to run Docker containers in a hosted cloud environment, on IBM Bluemix. Users can port their existing applications to IBM Bluemix and make them publically accessible by using containers. A private registry is provided where trusted images can be uploaded, stored and retrieved.
As the first company to work with Docker to sell integrated solutions that include DHE, IBM will be a premier provider of Docker’s flagship product for the enterprise market. DHE provides enterprises with a turnkey solution for distributed applications that allows their developers to focus on creating differentiated services behind the firewall and assembling them together with the best content that they have selected from the more than 60,000 Dockerized services available in the Docker Hub hosted repository.
“This partnership with IBM is a great win for the rapidly growing number of enterprises that see Docker as the foundation for a new generation of business critical distributed applications;” said Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, in a statement. “IBM’s commitment to delivering enterprise-grade Docker native solutions will drive dynamic, new business initiatives for enterprises through portable, highly dynamic Docker-based applications.”
“As enterprises demand tools that allow them to develop applications in a consistent and easy manner, Docker containers have quickly become the de facto building block for doing so,” said Angel Diaz, IBM’s vice president of Open Technology and Cloud Performance Solutions, in a statement. “IBM Containers service running Docker containers on SoftLayer’s bare metal servers provides improved performance over traditional approaches and this strategic partnership between IBM and Docker is the first of its kind to provide enterprises with integrated tools and services they need to automate application deployment across the public cloud and on-premise cloud centers.”
IBM Partners With Docker, Launches Containers Service
In a blog post on the deal, Diaz described Docker as an open technology for developers and system administrators to rapidly build, test, integrate and deploy “containerized” applications into the cloud. “The dramatic agility improvements Docker provides are a key reason for its rapid surge in popularity,” he said. “Plus, the number of people and companies contributing to the Docker code base has been growing exponentially this year.”
IBM will bundle Docker Hub Enterprise with these integrated services as well as sell it as a standalone product offering.
“While Docker was originally developed for Linux distributions, the agility that Docker containers provide is so compelling that it is now being ported to other operating systems and rapidly being integrated into cloud operating environments based on OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, including IBM’s own Bluemix,” Diaz said. “This creates a ‘virtuous circle,’ which makes adopting Docker in your cloud architecture even more compelling.”
Indeed, in October Microsoft announced it was building new container technologies into the next version of Windows Server to enable Dockerized applications to run on Windows Server on-premises or on Azure.
However, “he IBM/Docker deal is interesting on a couple of levels,” said Charles king, principal analyst at Pund-IT. “First, Docker’s focus on tailoring solutions for the discrete needs of enterprise customers is clearly in-line with IBM’s traditional markets. It also seems to be highly complementary with IBM’s continuing focus on enhancing the value of its solutions and services through software, and of cloud-enabling most of its portfolio.”
Moreover, “Those points are likely to help Docker practically in its go to market efforts but from a strategic standpoint, having IBM’s blessing could be even more important,” King said. “That’s happened before, for example in IBM being the first major vendor to support Linux back around 1998. While there are any number of containerized application players out there, IBM’s endorsement should help ensure that Docker isn’t simply the latest in a long line of Silicon Valley one hit wonders.”
Longtime IBM watcher Rob Enderle, founder of the Enderle Group, called Docker’s partnership with IBM “impressive” as the company can now boast of “deals with Microsoft, Google, and Amazon as well. It kind of makes you wonder how long it will be before someone buys the company to deny the technology to the other big players. Much of this is pretty early though and not at full production scale so there is some risk that the promise of portable server apps may only be that. But, baring a problem, this certainly will go a long way to putting Docker on the map.”
That may well be. Yet, the Docker agreement also extends the reach IBM has achieved through its own cloud portfolio as well as other recent cloud partnerships that IBM has reached with other notable companies, such as IBM and Tencent Cloud recently signing a business cooperation memorandum to collaborate on providing public cloud with Software-as-a-Service solutions for industries, focusing on emerging small and medium enterprises in the smarter cities, healthcare industries and other fields. This will enable these industries to use mobile, cloud computing and big data tools.
In addition, IBM and Microsoft are working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. And SAP selected IBM as a strategic provider of cloud infrastructure services for its business critical applications. Also, AT&T and IBM are collaborating to speed business adoption of cloud services by extending AT&T NetBondSM services to the SoftLayer platform for stronger security and performance. This extension of the IBM and AT&T alliance will allow businesses to easily create hybrid-computing solutions.