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August 27, 2019

VMware: vSphere’s Going Kubernetes-Native

"At its core, Kubernetes is capable of orchestrating anything!"

By CBR Staff Writer

Virtualisation software specialist VMware – fresh from announcing plans to spend $4.8 billion on cloud development firm Pivotal and security provider Carbon Black – has revealed a sweeping overhaul of its portfolio aimed at tightly integrating it with Kubernetes, the de facto container orchestration standard platform.

VMware provides a range of virtualisation applications for desktops and servers. Central to the strategic shift, announced at the company’s VMworld event in San Francisco, is the decision to make vSphere (the server virtualisation set of products) a “Kubernetes native platform” in a decisive shift by the business.

It is calling that move – essentially the re-architecture of vSphere with Kubernetes as its control plane – “Project Pacific“. A beta release is available now.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Integrate ‘Em Tightly… 

Kubernetes co-creator Joe Beda explained: “[Project Pacific will mean] a consistent set of APIs and concepts is used across VMs and containers. You will even manage applications made up of combinations of VMs and containers.”

The company’s Jared Rosoff explained in a technical blog: “To a developer, Project Pacific looks like a Kubernetes cluster where they can use Kubernetes declarative syntax to manage cloud resources like virtual machines, disks and networks. To the IT admin, Project Pacific looks like vSphere – but with the new ability to manage a whole application instead of always dealing with the individual VMs that make it up.”

VMware Kubernetes and Me…

Enterprises typically need to work with a wide range of non-containerised applications, and stateful workloads like databases (alongside increasing containerised/cloud-native apps).

While some businesses have built up new, container/cloud oriented stacks alongside their existing vSphere infrastructure, policies and updates are a headache when both have to straddle VMs running on vSphere and containers running in the cloud: the release aims to help ease this issue.

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As Rosoff explained: “The key insight we had at VMware was that Kubernetes could be much more than just a container platform, it could be the platform for ALL workloads.

Yes, Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform, but at its core, Kubernetes is capable of orchestrating anything! What if we used this “platform platform” aspect of Kubernetes to reinvent vSphere?

“What if when developers wanted to create a virtual machine, or a container, or a kubernetes cluster, they could just write a kubernetes YAML file and deploy it with kubectl like they do with any other Kubernetes object?”

See also: What’s New in VMWare’s Horizon 7.7

Also announced at its flagship event: VMware Tanzu, a new portfolio of services designed to help businesses build, run and manage software on Kubernetes.

Raghu Raghuram, VMware’s chief operating officer, products and cloud services, said: “We’re positioned to help customers… manage their growing Kubernetes footprint across environments from a single control point with VMware Tanzu Mission Control.”

The release will make app-level control possible for applying policies, quota and role-based access to developers, and let IT teams use vSphere tools to deliver Kubernetes clusters to developers, who can then use Kubernetes APIs to access SDDC infrastructure.

“While enterprises are increasingly adopting Kubernetes and cloud native infrastructure, most are early in their journey,” said 451 Research Principal Analyst Jay Lyman. “Kubernetes can help organizations achieve consistency and drive developer velocity across a variety of infrastructures, but enterprises also require effective control, policy and security capabilities. Building on its acquisitions, organic innovation and open source contributions, VMware has staked out its place as a leader in this rapidly evolving cloud-native industry.”

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