As promised, VMware has taken the next major step in making Kubernetes containers the centrepiece of future enterprise and hybrid cloud application environments for its core vSphere customers.
At its VMworld event last year the vendor introduced its Tanzu platform, a portfolio of new and existing VMware technologies aimed at helping enterprises develop new or move legacy applications across on-premises and cloud locations.
This week the software giant rolled out the technology across its major software components including vSphere and Cloud Foundation in a major revamp of its key product families.
One of the keys to the grand Tanzu plan is vSphere 7, previously known as Project Pacific that adds Kubernetes to vSphere, the company’s flagship virtualisation software. By embedding Kubernetes into the control plane of vSphere, it will let customers converge container and VM workloads onto a single platform with a single hypervisor, VMware stated.
“vSphere 7 is the biggest release of vSphere in over a decade and delivers the innovations and the rearchitecting of vSphere with native Kubernetes,” wrote VMware’s Krish Prasad, general manager of vSphere and senior vice president of Cloud Platform Business Unit in a blog about the announcement.
“vSphere now has native support for Kubernetes, so you can run containers and virtual machines on the same platform, with a simple upgrade of the system that you’ve currently standardised on.”
VSphere 7 is part of a Tanzu-infused Cloud Foundation 4, VMware’s core virtualisation package featuring vSphere, NSX network capabilities and storage. It runs in on-premises data centres or across public clouds including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, Oracle, Rackspace, IBM and a raft of other cloud partners.
VMware says Cloud Foundation 4 brings full-stack integration of the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) layer together with native Kubernetes capabilities built to provide an automated, turnkey hybrid-cloud offering, but it adds some other new features including:
- Tanzu Kubernetes Grid: A Kubernetes runtime that will let customers manage far-flung container or vSphere environments in a data centre, cloud or edge
- Tanzu Mission Control: Will function as a single point of control where customers can manage Kubernetes clusters regardless of where they are running
- Tanzu Application Catalog: A catalog that utilises technology VMware bought from Bitnami that offers a cache of pre-built, scanned, tested and maintained Kubernetes application content. The Bitnami application catalog supports and has been certified for all major Kubernetes platforms
- Tanzu Application Service: Made up of technology VMware bought from Pivotal last year, it offers a variety of application-development resources
Also key to the rollout is baked-in security throughout the platform. “At the container image layer, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid includes a container registry with built-in vulnerability scanning, image signing and auditing. At the storage layer, Cloud Foundation offers data at rest encryption at the cluster level,” wrote Rick Walsworth of VMware Cloud Foundation Product Marketing team in a blog.
At the compute layer, vSphere provides comprehensive built-in security for protecting data, infrastructure, and access that is operationally simple. Policy-driven security provides VM- or pod-level encryption to prevent unauthorised data access both at rest and in motion.
At the network layer, NSX delivers micro-segmentation and granular security to the individual VM or pod workload. Security policies travel with the workloads, independent of where workloads are in the network topology, Walsworth stated.
In the big picture, VMware says that Kubernetes has emerged as the infrastructure layer to accommodate a diversity of applications. VMware says that from 2018 to 2023 – with new tools/platforms, more developers, agile methods, and lots of code reuse – 500 million new logical apps will be created serving the needs of many application types and spanning all types of environments.
“From a single instance customers can build and manage new applications and consolidate traditional applications either on premises or for the cloud,” said Lee Caswell, vice president of the hyperconverged infrastructure business unit at VMware.
“This is the next chapter in VMware’s consolidation efforts – we have done physical servers, storage and networking and now we are moving to consolidate modern applications with traditional applications.”
The VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and VMware Tanzu Mission Control are all available now. VMware Cloud Foundation 4, VMware vSphere 7, VMware vSAN 7, VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 and VMware vRealize Operations 8.1 (both on-premises and as SaaS) are all expected to become available by May 1.
VMware vSphere 7 will be available in two configurations: vSphere with Kubernetes, will be available in VMware Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu to power container- and VM-based applications and in a configuration for VM-based applications in a number of editions including VMware vSphere Standard Edition, the company said.