IBM Corp. and Docker Inc. are partnering to help businesses build and deploy applications more rapidly. The relationship could help corporate IT departments to more rapidly roll out Big Data applications both on-premises and in public clouds.

"Enterprises can use the combination of IBM and Docker to create and manage a new generation of portable distributed applications that are rapidly 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," according to a prepared statement from both companies.

Docker, based on open source, is a so-called "container" technology that makes applications more portable from one server or cloud to another. In recent months, Docker has emerged as one of the most promising technologies of 2014 -- and most pundits expect it to go mainstream in 2015.

The reason: Docker apparently works as advertised, allowing DevOps professionals to more rapidly roll out applications across multiple platforms. Docker has also signed up dozens of technology partners. Most of the major public cloud providers -- from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure -- have vowed to offer or improve their Docker support.

Now, IBM is jumping on the Docker bandwagon, too -- while introducing a few twists of its own. For example, IBM Containers, based on Docker, will allow developers to launch Docker containers directly onto the IBM cloud (using bare metal servers from SoftLayer). The offering will be part of Bluemix, a new private cloud offering that IBM unveiled a few weeks ago.

IBM's continued push into cloud computing comes as the company strives to overcome 10 consecutive quarters of flat or declining revenues. Amid the cloud boom, demand for IBM's traditional hardware, software and IT services has been under pressure.

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