Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Monday, October 19, 2020
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Docker Momentum Builds with IBM, VMware Deals 

The application container ecosystem continues to expand as heavy hitters like IBM and VMware embrace Docker and other container deployment approaches to delivering distributed apps to the cloud.

VMware has announced technology integrations with Docker and the Kubernetes container orchestration project spearheaded by Google and others to manage deployment of clusters of Linux containers. The partnership that includes Kubernetes backers Mesosphere and Pivotal Software allows automated deployment of Docker containers on VMware Fusion, vCloud, and vSphere.

Earlier this week, IBM announced a separate partnership with Docker designed to make it easier for enterprises to develop and deploy new distributed applications on IBM's cloud or on premises. IBM said the deal would allow it to scale application delivery by leveraging multiple, interoperable Docker containers.

The San Francisco-based application container specialist also announced a Docker Hub Enterprise offering this week designed to help create multi-container distributed applications behind enterprise firewalls.

IBM said it would be the first hybrid cloud provider to work with Docker to deliver distributed applications. The partners also said deal would help accelerate the delivery of targeted applications.

The deal also includes the beta launch of a Docker-based container service called IBM Containers that will incorporate new Docker orchestration services. IBM Containers will be delivered as part of the company's Bluemix open cloud platform used for application development. The IBM-branded containers will allow developers to launch native Docker containers directly to the IBM cloud using bare metal servers from SoftLayer, IBM's infrastructure-as-a-service unit. Bluemix is a commercial distribution of the Cloud Foundry platform cloud.

IBM added it would bundle Docker Hub Enterprise with its new integrated services and also sell it as a standalone product.

The IBM deal marks another boost for the movement toward Docker-based containers as the best way to deliver and distribute applications to the cloud. The partners stressed that the deal would help create new "portable, distributed applications" transported in "discrete, interoperable Docker containers" that can scale to run on a developer's laptop or hundreds of cloud-based hosts.

Meanwhile, VMware said its deal with Docker and the Google-led container orchestration effort would simplify deployment of resource scheduling and cluster management tools for handling containers on VMware's infrastructure. "Our focus is on providing a common platform for building, operating and managing applications at scale," Kit Colbert, VMware's chief technology officer for cloud-native apps, explained in a blog post.

Along with deployment of Docker containers to the cloud via VMware platforms, the deal also includes: deployment of container clusters using Kubernetes container orchestration via vSphere; deployment of Mesosphere software tools via vSphere to manage datacenter applications and services; and management of Linux container app instances via the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform, also running on vSphere.

Separately, VMware announced it would work with datacenter software specialist Mesosphere to provide container scheduling and deployment tools along with containerized applications and related datacenter services like Hadoop. Mesophere's software is used to organize physical servers, virtual machines, and cloud instances so applications can draw on a combined pool of computing resources.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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