Open source giant Red Hat has announced a series of industry partnerships that aim to make it easier for companies to develop container-based applications.
The first of these is a strategic deal with IBM that will see the companies combine their portfolios to offer new hybrid cloud services to their customers.
The agreement, announced at Red Hat's annual Summit this week, means it's now possible for customers of both companies to build and deploy applications using IBM's Cloud service supported by Red Hat's OpenShift Container platform. IBM's WebSphere, DB2 and MQ software products will now be repackaged as certified containers on OpenShift.
It's yet another deal struck in an ongoing partnership between the companies after a recent commitment by IBM to re-engineer its portfolio of software products to run using the increasingly popular container deployment.
A similar deal announced at the Summit will also see the creation of the industry's first jointly managed container platform using Red Hat's OpenShift software on Microsoft's Azure environment, which includes access to Azure SQL DB and Azure Machine Learning. This builds upon a previous commitment signed in 2015 to bring more Red Hat products to Microsoft's Azure platforms.
The aim of both agreements is to provide businesses with greater mobility when it comes to application deployment. An alternative to virtual machines, containers provide a means of bundling an application with all its software dependencies into a single package, bypassing the problem of incompatible environments when moving applications to different stages of testing or deployment.
IBM's shift to containerisation will see its Cloud Private and Cloud Private for Data platforms, as well as a number of middleware products, become Red Hat-certified containers.
A joint consultancy unit will be set up linking both IBM Garage and Red Hat Consulting, which will support those customers either wishing to test out the combined service or looking to move their existing application investments to a hybrid model.
Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of IBM Hybrid Cloud, said that the move would provide "more choice and flexibility" to customers looking to move towards containered applications.
"Our common vision for hybrid cloud using container architectures allows millions of enterprises - from banks, to airlines, to government organizations - to access leading technology from both companies without having to choose between public and private cloud," Krishna said.
By combining services, Red Hat customers will now be able to exploit well established cloud-based artificial intelligence, IoT, and blockchain tools provided by IBM.
As for the Microsoft partnership, Red Hat claims customers will be provided with a consistent experience throughout the development lifecycle of an application, including support for OpenShift on Microsoft's on-premise platform Azure Stack, through to deployment in a hybrid cloud.
Visual Studio subscribers will also get Red Hat Linux credits for the first time, allowing developers to work from a single platform regardless of the open source framework they choose.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, said: "Today, we're combining both companies' leadership in Kubernetes, hybrid cloud and enterprise operating systems to simplify the complex process of container management, with an industry-first solution on Azure."
In a separate but related announcement this week, IBM also said its PowerAI platform, a suite of deep learning frameworks, will also be available through Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Those organisations with eligible subscriptions can access their Red Hat OpenShift Container accounts on IBM's Cloud platform using the Red Hat Cloud Access tool.
The joint Azure and OpenShift service is currently in a preview state, and will eventually be rolled out on a region by region basis.
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Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.