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As part of a new alliance with container company Docker, IBM will be offering the Docker Hub Enterprise management suite in the cloud and on premise, together with Docker's newly-unveiled orchestration APIs and tools.

IBM says the partnership will let firms combine IBM and Docker technology to create portable distributed apps made up of Docker containers and then run them at scales ranging from individual developers' laptops to multiple hosts in the cloud.

IBM also unveiled the beta of IBM Containers, a Docker-based service that offers Docker-native features and interfaces, delivered as part of its Bluemix cloud application-development platform.

By automating the creation and deployment of apps in containers - a lighter-weight form of virtualisation - Docker technology is designed to free developers from software and infrastructure dependencies, cutting costs and creating efficiencies in the process.

Docker is open-source technology while Docker Inc is the commercial arm of the project which sells the proprietary Docker Hub Enterprise.

"Docker Hub Enterprise is a commercial offering from Docker Inc that can run either in the cloud or on-premise and provides tools for creating libraries of different Dockerised components for workflow, for integrating what you're doing with Docker with other tools that you may have in your enterprise, like monitoring," Docker CEO Ben Golub said.

According to IBM, the partnership will give companies a better way of building, shipping and running Docker multi-container, multi-host applications in the cloud. It will also improve developer productivity, IBM said, and speed up delivery, in conjunction with its security, service-management and DevOps offerings.

Using the IBM Containers service, firms will be able to launch Docker containers directly onto the IBM Cloud on bare-metal servers from IBM company SoftLayer and Power.

"This will provide companies an environment that is simpler to manage and offers increased utilisation and performance in a more flexible execution model, expanding the types of applications that can be supported on the IBM Cloud," IBM said in a statement.

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