VMware Deepens Commitment to Kubernetes

VMware today announced it has advanced its Kubernetes strategy by making available its previously announced Tanzu platform to manage any Kubernetes distribution as well as making a Java application development environment based on the Spring framework, formerly known as the Pivotal Application Service (PAS), available on Tanzu. In addition, PAS has been renamed Tanzu Application Service (TAS).

VMware also rebranded Wavefront by VMware, an IT monitoring service it acquired in 2017, as Tanzu Observability by Wavefront, and will make an instance of the previously announced NSX Service Mesh based on the open source Istio software available as Tanzu Service Mesh.

At the same time, VMware strengthened its case for deploying Kubernetes on top of the core VMware virtual machine platform with the launch of VMware vSphere 7, which, among other things, makes available a version of a virtual machine optimized to run Kubernetes previously known as Project Pacific.

VMware also announced VMware Cloud Foundation 4, which builds on VMware vSphere 7 and Tanzu to present IT teams with either a traditional graphical user interface (GUI ) to manage Kubernetes and VMware vSphere 7 or a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) and command-line interfaces (CLIs) that can be invoked by a DevOps team.

The VMware Tanzu platform consists of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, a Kubernetes runtime that makes it possible to employ a cloud service managed by VMware to install and manage a multicluster Kubernetes environment based on any distribution of Kubernetes running on-premises or on a public cloud. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid has also been infused into vSphere 7 with Kubernetes as part of VMware Cloud Foundation 4 to automate the provisioning of Kubernetes clusters on that platform.

Tanzu Mission Control provides a centralized management platform for consistently operating and securing Kubernetes infrastructure that IT teams can employ to make specific resources available to developers. Finally, VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, previously known as Project Galleon, provides access to customizable open source software from the Bitnami catalog that VMware acquired last year.

VMware is trying to strike a balance between IT administrators that rely on its tools to manage IT and DevOps teams that require infrastructure to expose APIs and CLIs. VMware this week did not certify which DevOps platforms its platforms can integrate with, but it is making it possible for DevOps teams to more easily target VMware platforms to deploy both monolithic and microservices-based applications.

The vSphere 7 platform required to achieve that goal, however, initially will be available only when an instance of VMware Cloud Foundation 4 is present. In addition to VMware vSphere 7, other elements of VMware Cloud Foundation 4, due out in May, include VMware vSAN 7, which adds support for files in addition to object storage, version 8.1 of VMware vRealize IT automation software and NSX-T network overlay software.

Craig McLuckie, vice president of research and development for VMware, says now that Kubernetes as emerged as “the Goldilocks abstraction” in the enterprise, VMware is essentially creating a “superhighway” for building and deploying modern cloud-native applications based on the Tanzu platform, spanning everything from developer tools to instances of Kubernetes deployed on virtual machines or bare-metal servers. That approach will make it possible to finally unify the management of what has become a highly fragmented multi-cloud computing environment, he says.

It remains to be seen how many IT organizations embrace Tanzu to build and deploy Kubernetes environments. VMware has already gained a significant amount of traction with Pivotal Container Service (PKS), a Kubernetes distribution VMware created in partnership with Pivotal Software, which VMware acquired last year. However, while many existing VMware customers are content to deploy a distribution of Kubernetes on VMware, it doesn’t necessarily follow they will all standardize on Tanzu to manage all their Kubernetes clusters.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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