IBM Software in Containers
Containers are the new fabric for cloud native applications, bringing simplicity in packaging and portability to developers. However, container images by themselves do not address key enterprise needs for production workloads. To run enterprise workloads in production, our clients need much more than just container images.
IBM is addressing the limitations of container software by introducing IBM Cloud Paks.
IBM Cloud Paks set a new bar for enterprise-grade containerized software by combining container images with enterprise capabilities for deployment in production use cases with integrations for management and lifecycle operations. IBM Cloud Paks deliver enterprise-grade container software - built for Kubernetes - on IBM Cloud offerings. Built with open standards and extended with integrations with platform management services that can accelerate time to production. Features such as pre-configured deployments based on IBM's product expertise, rolling upgrades, rollbacks, security/vulnerability testing and integrations with management services for logging, monitoring, metering and security to provide control and management of production workloads.
With IBM Cloud Paks, clients can accelerate time to production and improve enterprise readiness at lower cost than containers alone.
Figure 1 describes the three ways IBM software is delivered and consumed as containers. IBM Cloud Paks are IBM's strategic solution for containerized workloads. To support additional use cases, IBM software products may provide container images only or allow clients to assemble their own. Each delivery model provide differences in support, time to value and enterprise readiness, requiring different levels of investment to deploy a production workload. Not all IBM products are available as containers and products choose which of the container delivery model(s) they will support.
IBM Support for containers by delivery model
IBM Support for containers will differ based on delivery model and who creates the container images. Figure 2 describes what is supported by delivery model.
General support statement about container images:
Container images are built from a base image which include libraries from a Linux distribution. In figure 2 this is called a 'Base OS container image.' If IBM Software provides the container image, the base container image becomes a part of the solution IBM provides. In many cases the base container image is from an open source Linux distribution. For IBM support details on open source, see the Third Party software and Open Source software section of the IBM Software Support Handbook.
IBM support statement for IBM Cloud Paks:
IBM Cloud Paks are built to deploy on IBM Cloud offerings that provide an Enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based Container Platform with management services. This includes IBM Cloud Private and IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. Some IBM Cloud Paks are certified to meet specific criteria for Enterprise-grade containerized software solutions. Each IBM product defines their supported configurations and may support the IBM Cloud Pak on IBM Cloud Private, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service or both. Together the IBM Cloud Pak and IBM Platform provide support from the Cloud Platform through Deployment (See figure 2).
IBM support statement for IBM Provided Containers:
Some IBM software products have chosen to provide container-only images. IBM does not certify individual containers like IBM Cloud Paks. Not all software products will deliver IBM Provided Containers. IBM will support the IBM Provided Containers delivered, see text above about general support of containers. Each IBM product defines their supported configurations. Check with the software product compatibility reports for supported configurations.
IBM support statement for Ad hoc client created containers:
Some IBM software products support clients assembling their own container images using product binaries. IBM does not certify ad hoc created containers like IBM Cloud Paks. Not all software products will support this configuration. IBM will support technical defects in the core IBM software running in the container, but will not support the container or the base container image it was built from. Each IBM product defines their supported configurations. Check with the software product compatibility reports for supported configurations.