VMware Deepens Support for Kubernetes

VMware and Pivotal Software today advanced their efforts to operationalize Kubernetes with the release of an update to their joint distribution that supports the Open Virtualization Appliance (OVA) file format.

Prior to the version 1.4 release of Pivotal Container Service (PKS), the only way to manage the instance of Kubernetes curated by both companies was by using the Bosh tools that Pivotal created for its instance of the open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.

Paul Dul, vice president of product management for cloud native apps at VMware, says adding support for OVA means IT organizations that have standardized on VMware platforms now can use tools they already know to manage Kubernetes clusters more seamlessly without necessarily having to first install the Bosh automation framework.

Version 1.4 of PKS is based on version 1.13 of Kubernetes. But VMware and its sister company Pivotal also announced today they are making a beta release of PKS based on version 1.14 of Kubernetes that makes Kubernetes available on Windows Server available as well. Version 1.14 of Kubernetes was announced early this month.

Dul says VMware is committed to making it easier for IT teams to operationalize Kubernetes either with help from VMware or on their own. As part of that effort, the latest version of the curated instance of PKS from VMware adds support for real-time input validation, auto-population of data from VMware vCenter Server and the latest version of VMware NSX-T network virtualization software. In addition, VMware makes available an installation wizard that automatically generates YAML configuration files to simplify importing and exporting of configuration updates.

Other new PKS 1.4 capabilities include support for per-tenant Domain Name System (DNS) specification for deeper multi-tenancy, pod security policies, admission customization to give administrators fine-grained security control via native Kubernetes constructs and integration with the VMware vRealize automation framework to automate provisioning of Kubernetes clusters.

VMware is also beta testing tools such as simplified wizards for installing Kubernetes and the ability to customize the number of clusters that can be spun up simultaneously.

Beyond PKS, VMware also offers VMware Essential PKS, a distribution of Kubernetes that DevOps teams can use to build their own container environments, and a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of Kubernetes that is currently available in beta on Amazon Web Services (AWS). VMware is also committed to expanding the cloud-based version of Kubernetes available on other public clouds, adds Dul.

VMware says it now has more than 150 customers using PKS, a number that it expects to increase now that PKS is available via third-party resellers. Previously. PKS has only been made available direct via either VMware, Pivotal or Dell EMC, all three of which are units of Dell Technologies.

Dull says that it’s important to remember that Kubernetes requires access to a lot of supporting technologies to run anything. Kubernetes in its current form is not especially good at support multiple tenants sharing the same cluster, he notes. These and other issues create a significant opportunity for VMware to add lifecycle management tools and services for Kubernetes.

It’s still early days in terms of deploying Kubernetes in production environments at scale in enterprise IT environments. But as IT operations teams increasingly become responsible for the care and feeding of Kubernetes clusters, the more relevant VMware becomes when it comes to managing those Kubernetes clusters.

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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