Docker and Arm team up to speed adoption of containerized applications on Arm servers

Containers, orchestrated. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Jumila / cc2.0)

It’s not clear how many developers are actually using the Arm cloud servers introduced last year by Amazon Web Services, but new support from Docker for the alternative processor might help tip the balance.

Docker and Arm announced Wednesday morning that developers will be able to build containerized applications on their personal computers through a partnership between the two companies, and developer tools to that effect will be available as a developer preview starting next week at DockerCon. The partnership will help developers get up and running on Arm processors, which require a different approach than the Intel processors that a generation of developers has known as their only option.

Intel’s stranglehold on the server market has meant that the vast majority of software written over the last decade was designed for its x86 processors, but server vendors and cloud computing providers have tried to introduce the alternative Arm instruction set for a very long time. That wait ended last November, when AWS introduced its custom Graviton processor as a computing option alongside its traditional x86 computing instances from Intel and AMD.

One of the major hurdles that has held back the Arm server ecosystem, however, is software support. Great strides have been made over the last several years on that front, but support from Docker and its popular container format is a big step.

The two companies are also pitching their partnership as a way to address edge computing needs, where Arm processors and their low power consumption traits can often be found. More details are expected to be unveiled next week at DockerCon.