VMware Looks to Operationalize Kubernetes

VMware, as part of an ongoing effort to operationalize Kubernetes at scale on behalf of IT operations teams, today announced the general availability of version 1.3 of the Pivotal Container Service (PKS).

Developed in conjunction with Pivotal Software, a sister unit of Dell Technologies, PKS integrates Kubernetes with network virtualization and security technologies such as VMware NSX-T to make it easier for IT operations teams to manage Kubernetes at scale in production environments.

The latest version of PKS adds support for version 1.12 of Kubernetes and Microsoft Azure. By adding support for Azure, PKS now can be deployed on all the major clouds as well in on-premises IT environments running instances of VMware.

VMware is also extending the level of control over networking it provides organizations that deploy PKS via a Tier 0 router bridge capability that creates an “on and off” gateway service between logical and physical networks. By deploying Kubernetes clusters across multiple Tier 0 routers, organizations achieve greater scale by leveraging network isolation between tenants along with an ability to overlap IP address ranges.

Wendy Cartee, senior director for cloud-native advocacy for VMware, says support for Tier 0 routers is yet another example of how VMware is adding unique capabilities to its distribution of Kubernetes that address issues operations teams in enterprise IT organizations commonly encounter.

Other capabilities added to PKS 1.3 designed to appeal to IT operations include an ability to assign routable IP addresses to Kubernetes pods provide to provide traceability of workloads, as well as direct ingress access to pods for certain specialized workloads. IT teams can also override the global pod IP address block configured for VMware PKS with a custom IP address block range that can be associated with a custom subnet defined by the IT team.

VMware PKS 1.3 adds adds:

  • Support for larger load balancers.
  • The ability to deploy multiple instances of VMware PKS on a single shared NSX-T instance.
  • Support for backup and recovery of Kubernetes clusters when they are deployed in a single master mode.
  • The ability to share volumes between containers within a single pod.
  • The ability to deploy NSX-T and other control plane elements such as VMware vCenter behind an authenticated HTTP proxy.
  • Support for version 1.7 of the Harbor container registry developed by VMware.

Finally, PKS 1.3 also includes support for “smoke tests” that make it possible to assess the impact of a Kubernetes upgrade before upgrading a cluster.

VMware is betting that the features designed to specifically appeal to IT operations teams will make PKS a de facto standard in the enterprise. Developers may choose to develop applications on any number of distributions of Kubernetes. But when it comes time to deploy those workloads in a production environment running on-premises or in a cloud managed by an internal IT team, VMware wants PKS to be viewed as the most natural Kubernetes extension of a VMware environment most IT operations teams already know.

It remains to be seen just how much influence VMware will have over Kubernetes deployments in the enterprise. But at the very least, VMware is making sure that its approach to Kubernetes will be considered by thousands of IT operations teams that have already embraced large swaths of the existing VMware portfolio.

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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