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In a sign of the software times to come, AeroFS this week announced that it will be making its file-sharing and collaboration software available on Docker containers.

As a lighter-weight alternative to traditional virtual machines, AeroFS support for Docker containers means that the company’s software can now be deployed via a single click on any private or public cloud infrastructure, said AeroFS CEO Yuri Sagalov.

While AeroFS is designed to be managed by internal IT organizations, support for Docker containers not only makes it simpler to deploy the company’s namesake software, it also reduces the amount of IT infrastructure being consumed, Sagalov said. In general, most physical servers can run anywhere from 10 to 15 virtual machines. That same physical server can run 100 or more Docker containers.

Combine a simpler software distribution model with more efficient use of IT infrastructure, and AeroFS is likely to be only one of the first of many commercial independent software vendors (ISVs) about to embrace Docker.

Of course, while enthusiasm for Docker, specifically, and containers, in general, runs high among developers, most IT operations teams are just now coming to terms with containers. Given the relative immaturity of the container technology, many of those IT operations teams for the moment are opting to deploy containers on top of virtual machines or in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.

But as the security infrastructure surrounding Docker containers gets more robust, it’s only a matter of time before Docker containers are deployed on physical servers as an alternative to virtual machines.

Exactly how long that will take is still open to conjecture. But one thing that is certain is that solution providers across the channel should get ready for a raft of Docker container endorsements from ISVs that just want to be able to run their software anywhere their customers like.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.