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Bluemix Launches IBM Containers Beta Based on Docker

UPDATE June 22, 2015: See IBM Delivers Docker Based Container Services for latest news.

At DockerCon Europe today we announced the availability of the beta of our new IBM container service on Bluemix. As a developer you can now leverage the power of Docker to deploy a container on Bluemix. The IBM Containers service is super easy to use. No need to deploy and manage Virtual Machines, set up Docker engine, or manage your own registries. And it is loaded with powerful capabilities.

  • Native container hosting, no need to manage the docker infrastructure yourself
  • Powerful networking, including support for real IP addresses on containers and private networking between your containers
  • Support for private Docker image registries, allowing you to store and share your images within your Organization
  • Integration with other services in Bluemix, allowing you to bind others services to your container application with ease
  • Standard IBM images for WebSphere Liberty and Node.js runtime environments
  • All based on standard Docker runtime and APIs

Get Started with IBM Containers

Let’s take a quick tour.

Getting Started

Simply log into your Bluemix account, go to the catalog and select the “IBM Containers” service.

You are allowed a single instance of the service per Organization in Bluemix. Right now for the beta you will be allowed to 2GB of memory, 2 Public IP addresses to attach to your containers, and 8 containers total. These limits will change in the future. Create the instance as normal.

Demand for the service is high right now, so once you create the service you may be placed in the queue and receive a notification like this.

Once your service instance is activated you will see the getting started screen. You will be asked to provide a name for your private Docker image registry. You will also see your API key that you will need to access the service from your command line. Make sure you have docker and the IBM Containers (ice) tools installed on your machine using the instructions provided.

Run a Container

Let’s get started and run a container. The IBM Containers service comes with images for WebSphere Liberty and Node.js. And of course you can use any image from Docker Hub. Let’s use the Liberty image to start a basic application service container. That is easy to do. Simply do the following:

> ice run --name liberty registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net/ibmliberty

This will launch your container on bluemix and give it a private IP address. Run “> ice ps” to see the running instance. You should get something like this:

In order to send a request to this container you need to give it a public IP. This is easy as well. First request a public IP address.

$ ice ip request
Successfully obtained ip: ""

Now attach that IP address to your running container

$ ice ip bind liberty
Successfully bound ip

If you run “ice ps” again you will see that the container is now accessible on the new IP address.

You can then go to that IP address to access your container.

Use a custom image

Let’s do one last thing. Let’s add an application to that WebSphere Liberty Image and run the new image. To do this we are going to build a new image using Dockerfile. To start lets pull the Liberty image to your local machine.

$ docker pull registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net/ibmliberty

Next lets create a Dockerfile with your app in it. For this example I am using a simple hello WAR file. Your Dockerfile would look something like this.

FROM registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net/ibmliberty
ADD hello.war /opt/ibm/wlp/usr/servers/defaultServer/dropins/

Now you can build the image

$ docker build -t hello .

Now that we have our new image lets push it to your private registry on the IBM Containers service and run it. To push it do the following:

$ docker tag hello registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net//hello (replace with the private registry namespace you selected at the beginning)
$ docker push registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net//hello

Now all you have to do is run it like above and bind the IP address.

$ ice run --name hello registry-ice.ng.bluemix.net//hello
$ ice ip bind


address> hello

The Service UI

In addition to the command line interface you can view the containers you are running and the images in your registry via the Bluemix UI. Simply go to the IBM Containers service tile in your Dashboard. Select the containers tab to see your running containers…

…and the Images tab to see your images.

Check back often for more information about this exciting new capability as it rapidly evolves over the coming weeks.

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Great to see this become available!!!



Agreed, Carlos. Was just reading this Wired overview of Docker, the impact it may have on cloud computing, and some ways that Docker may be evolving further:



Jake Kitchener

Really excited for this launch. Building with Docker as my infrastructure platform makes life so much better!



This is very cool!! Being able to deploy docker containers this easily opens up even more uses for Bluemix.


Thomas Schaeck

Very nice, great to have containers on Bluemix now !!!


Lin sun

Really cool to see how easy it is to run containers on bare metal @IBM Cloud! What a huge game changing for IBM Cloud and Bluemix!!!


Chris Felix

How do you bind to other Bluemix Services from the containerized app? Also how can I scale an app? The one thing I like about Docker is the promise of a full topology on my laptop that I can scale to the cloud. The one thing I dislike about Cloud foundry is that I can’t test an app easily without constantly pushing it to the cloud if it uses a lot of services. I’d love to see a future where I could pull down all of these services in a micro cloud on my laptop (e.g like using Fig) and then push to the cloud and bind to scalable services there.



to get started, is not it free? i am getting paid option.

is there any way to use it as free IBM as docker container?
please help

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