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.