March 29, 2017

VMware and its partners and customers descended on Las Vegas this week for VMworld 2016. The annual event gives the company an opportunity to pitch its vision, share its upcoming product road map and convince customers and prospective customers to embrace its technology. This year, VMware seems to be all in when it comes to containers.

Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at IDC, attended VMworld and shared some thoughts. “The fact is, many of VMware’s customers are playing with containers and in some cases are putting them in production. However, these may not be the same teams running the enterprise. Containers in production are found today in new applications. They are definitely found in abundance at Bay Area startups and unicorns and at many tech companies typically known as industry disruptors. They are also found at the many digital transformation labs or centers of excellence at disrupted companies, running side by side with the traditional workloads. The reality is that these two types of IT are not yet integrated, and DevOps and continuous delivery workflows which predominate in one realm are still not typically practiced with traditional workloads.”

The question, then, is, how can we help established companies and traditional IT when it comes to containers? VMware’s answer is to bring the benefits of containers with vSphere Integrated Containers, to help address some of the security anxiety with containers while allowing IT to work with a brand/platform it knows and trusts.

“Additional technologies such as VMware Admiral and VMware Harbor will bring some of the attributes of cloud, like self-service and an enterprise container registry, to private cloud users,” Hilwa said. “This may be just the right ticket for the traditional side of IT to dip its toes in the container world. It may even help the two sides of IT get closer together.”

VMware Admiral is a built-in container management portal that is part of the VMware vSphere Integrated Containers platform. According to the company, VMware Admiral will help developers and application teams accelerate application delivery.

Project Harbor is VMware’s version of a container registry. The company describes it as an enterprise container registry built into VMware vSphere Integrated Containers. It is based on Docker Distribution and includes features such as user management and access control, policy-based replication, support for audit logs and a RESTful API for third-party integration.

VMware is not a new kid on the block. It has been around forever—at least when measured in IT years—and many companies of all sizes are heavily invested in VMware products and tools. Going full speed ahead to incorporate container technologies and provide customers with the tools to develop, deploy and manage containers from within its technology should be a big boost to both the company and the adoption of containers in general.

“What is important to assess is to what degree will VMware bring its customers to the promise land of digital transformation,” Hilwa concluded. “The signs are good, but the company has to continue to invest to bridge the two sides of IT.”

Tony Bradley is Community Manager for Tenable Network Security and Editor-in-Chief of TechSpective. Tony has a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security. He also loves spending time with his family and likes to think he enjoys reading and golf even though he never finds the time for either.