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Once you install the base environment (Tanzu CLI), you can then deploy Tanzu Community Edition remotely to the testing environment, which can be VMware vSphere, Amazon, Azure, or Docker.
The deployment options are presented via the user interface (UI), where you'll follow an assistant that will create a configuration file. The remote installation is simply based on that config file.
What is VMware Tanzu Community Edition?
It is a full-featured platform for users who want to learn to manage the Kubernetes platform. It is a free version of Tanzu that is open-source and community supported that you can install on your laptop or workstation and then deploy to a remote location.
You are able to create Kubernetes clusters via the Cluster API, which is a Kubernetes subproject that provides declarative APIs and tools for simplifying provisioning, upgrading, and operating multiple Kubernetes clusters. The system allows you to orchestrate workloads and install platform packages that support applications running in clusters.
You can download the set of files from VMware here. Just pick the version you want, depending on the OS you're working on. You can use your Linux/MAC laptop or Windows workstation; there are different files for each platform.
The GitHub page can be found here.
Where can I install VMware Tanzu Community Edition?
Tanzu Community Edition comprises the Tanzu CLI and a select set of plugins that are used to remotely deploy the solution to the platform of your choice.
After the download, you will install Tanzu Community Edition on your local workstation and then use the Tanzu CLI to deploy a cluster to your chosen target platform, which can be VMware vSphere, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Docker.
Your local machine is often referred to as your bootstrap machine, and the process of deploying a cluster is referred to as bootstrapping.
How do I install VMware Tanzu Community Edition?
Depending on your local environment, you might want to follow the installation procedure for your platform. In this post, we'll focus on Windows environments.
Make sure to read the guidelines and system requirements. The underlying machine will either use WSL2 or Hyper-V, depending on your system.
For a Windows desktop machine, make sure that it satisfies the following requirements:
- Windows 11 64-bit: Home or Pro version 21H2 or higher, or Enterprise or Education version 21H2 or higher.
- Windows 10 64-bit: Home or Pro 2004 (build 19041) or higher, or Enterprise or Education 1909 (build 18363) or higher.
- Enable the WSL 2 feature on Windows. For detailed instructions, refer to the Microsoft documentation.
- The following hardware prerequisites are required to successfully run WSL 2 on Windows 10 or Windows 11:
- 64-bit processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
- 4 GB system RAM
- BIOS-level hardware virtualization support must be enabled in the BIOS settings. For more information, see Virtualization.
- Download and install the Linux kernel update package.
Note: BIOS-level hardware virtualization support must be enabled in the BIOS settings. If you are deploying from a VM (like me, from W10 VM), you'll need to go to the virtual machine settings and enable the Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI virtualization engine. Screenshot from VMware Workstation software.
We'll be using the Chocolatey package manager to deploy Tanzu Community Edition. You don't have to use Chocolatey, though. You can just use the install.bat file for the local installation. In this case, please use the PowerShell console for the installation.
The command below will download, install, and set the Windows path for Chocolatey.
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://community.chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
Then, use this command to install Tanzu Community Edition.
choco install tanzu-community-edition --version=0.9.1
As you can see, we're missing two other prerequisites:
- Docker (get Docker desktop for Windows here)—See system requirements here.
- Kubectl (see instructions for kubectl here)—Kubectl controls the Kubernetes cluster manager.
Install Kubectl via this command via Chocolatey:
choco install kubernetes-cli
The installer will download the packages from the remote location.
According to the documentation, kubectl needs to be added to the user path to function.
In my case, I simply downloaded the kubectl file and placed it in a folder named kubectl on my c: drive. (Download the latest release v1.22.0 here.)
Then, I created an environment variable. Just go to Advance System settings > Environment Variables, and edit the path by adding "C:\kubectl".
Open a Windows command prompt, and enter the command kubectl to see whether the environment is responding correctly.
Follow the documentation page closely because there are other steps and troubleshooting tips that are not detailed here.
Then, you'll install the Docker desktop. Be sure to read the detailed installation instructions and requirements. In my case, it took quite time to initialize. When you execute the shortcut after the installation, the Docker service has started.
There is one last requirement we need to fulfill because, if not, we'll get an error message claiming that the x509 certificate is signed by an unknown authority when using Tanzu Community Edition (TCE) on Windows. It's a bug.
This is the error message:
Downloading TKG compatibility file from 'projects.registry.vmware.com/tkg/framework-zshippable/tkg-compatibility'
Error: unable to create Tanzu Standalone Cluster client
Cause: unable to ensure prerequisites: unable to ensure tkg BOM file: failed to download TKG compatibility file from the registry: failed to list TKG compatibility image tags: Get "https://projects.registry.vmware.com/v2/": x509: certificate signed by unknown authority.
We need to add a snippet to the YAML configuration file, which you can find here:
Open the YAML file located here:
release: version: "" TKG_CUSTOM_IMAGE_REPOSITORY_SKIP_TLS_VERIFY: true
Once done, we have fulfilled all the requirements, and we can start.
Open your PowerShell Admin window, and type the command to deploy the local Tanzu cluster:
tanzu standalone-cluster create --ui
The system should create a standalone cluster and open the main launch page via a web browser, presenting you with deployment options. As you can see, Docker, vSphere Amazon EC2, and Microsoft Azure are currently supported as locations.
VMware says that the easiest way to deploy a development environment is to provision a "standalone" cluster, but you can also create a management cluster.
Tanzu Community Edition will ask you for some input, such as the number of nodes, the credentials for authentication, and authorization to provision those nodes. At the end, you will end up with the Kubernetes cluster deployed.
We won't go into those details in this post but rather highlight the most important use case for Tanzu Community Edition. In many cases, the need for dev and learning environments is the number one reason for Kubernetes deployments. This is also VMware's goal—to popularize Tanzu among their user base. Dev and testing environments are most likely the first use case.
VMware Tanzu Community Edition is a very nice prepackaged product that allows you to learn or set up a development environment. It is destined mostly for small-scale or preproduction environments.
The product is free to download and use; however, it is not suitable for use in production environments. You can deploy it from any OS to a remote location, which can be VMware vSphere, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Docker.
VMware offers good documentation for different platforms. If you encounter an error, there is always a forum or blog post to help you out.