You’re familiar with the old saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. When it comes to IBM and containers it seems like the philosophy is more like “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…and also leverage ‘em to create your own new thing that could maybe beat ‘em”. IBM introduced its own enterprise-class container technology—IBM Containers—to infuse Docker containers with features and capabilities large enterprises need in order to use containers effectively.
The IBM Containers news followed closely on the heels of IBM’s allegiance as an influential founding member of the Open Container Project (OCP). The mission of OCP is to infuse containers with some standards and stability so organizations can embrace containers as a concept without getting locked into a proprietary, vendor-specific platform.
In that spirit IBM Containers are not a departure from Docker containers. IBM Containers are based on Docker containers and built on Bluemix—IBM’s platform-as-a-service model. The IBM Containers expand on the Docker container foundation to enable faster integration of and access to crucial analytics data for enterprises, as well as additional security services.
The list of features of IBM Containers shared by IBM in a press release looks impressive:
Integrated Tools such as log analytics, performance monitoring and delivery pipeline simplifying life cycle management
Elastic Scaling and Auto Recovery providing resources when needed them most
Zero Downtime Deployments utilizing Active Deploy ensuring users are never impacted by application enhancements
Private Overlays, Load Balancing and Automated Routing enabling capabilities to address even the most complex business requirements
Support for Persistent Storage allowing data-centric application creation
Automated Image Security and Vulnerability Scanning with Vulnerability Advisor alerts to security weaknesses before deployment
Access to Bluemix Services, a powerful catalog of over 100 cloud services including Watson, Analytics, IoT and Mobile
Nick Stinemates, VP of business development and technical alliances for Docker, noted, ”By making a production ready, Docker-based container service, available for developers, IBM is emphasizing a faster time to value and inspiring millions of developers to leverage the growing opportunity of innovating in the cloud.”
The combination of IBM Containers and DevOps principles and practices enables IBM customers to streamline automation and orchestration of app deployment in a multi-platform, multi-container environment together with traditional workloads and IT infrastructure. Throughout the various phases of development enterprises can test, stage and deploy applications with enterprise-class management and security using IBM Containers.
IBM designed IBM Containers to be as portable and flexible as standard Docker containers, but with the added business intelligence and security elements large enterprises require. It illustrates just how pervasive containers have become and gives IBM enterprise customers the platform and tools necessary to take advantage of containers to maintain some agility and compete with smaller, more flexible rivals.