The VMware Tanzu portfolio offers several services that allow the enterprise to manage the container ecosystem under VMware vSphere 7. vSphere is the necessary underlying virtualization system, and this will not change. What changes for VMware admins is the integration of containerized systems managed with different solutions, such as Kubernetes.

Tanzu Observability

Within Tanzu Observability services, several products purchased by VMware are now part of the Tanzu portfolio. One of these is Tanzu Observability, which offers monitoring dashboards tailored for containerized workloads. These dashboards are based on Prometheus and Grafana, which are well-known open-source monitoring solutions that provide very nice UIs.

VMware Wavefront

The core of Tanzu Observability is VMware Wavefront, which was acquired by VMware in 2017. Wavefront provides a real-time metrics monitoring and streaming analytics platform. It is a SaaS product designed for developers who need to optimize their clouds and modern applications that use containers and microservices.

VMware Wavefront dashboards

VMware Wavefront dashboards

Wavefront sends real-time data from anywhere in the data center and performs queries. It then renders those to charts so that you can visualize analytics and anomalies.

Tanzu uses monitoring with the open-source Prometheus and Grafana services. When you install and deploy those services on your cluster, you can benefit from Grafana's outstanding visualizations and dashboards.

The integration has a built-in alert manager that enables you to send alerts to Slack or use custom Webhooks alert notifications.

Healthwatch 2.0

Healthwatch 2.0 (a former Pivotal product) is also part of the Observability suite. It provides metrics monitoring and alerting for the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition and the Tanzu Application Service for VMs (TAS for VMs).

Healthwatch shows the admin the health of Tanzu in real time and where bottlenecks are situated within the chain. The admin has end-to-end visibility and the ability to track metrics and indicators for particular problems.

Tanzu Service Mesh

Tanzu Service Mesh (TSM) is built into the VMware NSX product and uses microservices. As you know, many of the first customers of VMware NSX bought it only for its microservice firewall services. NSX and Service Mesh provide traffic management policies, giving you full control and visibility into the traffic flows among various services, clusters, and clouds.

You can apply rules to different parts of the infrastructure without having a single "door" as an entry or exit. NSX and the distributed firewall control each node individually. Admins can deploy applications across clusters and clouds and have consistent traffic management policies, application continuity, and security policies. The apps can run on-prem or on public or private clouds, but the rules that apply are the same.

The Tanzu Service Mesh has two platforms: the Global Controller and the Observer. These two platforms connect and protect microservices across all clusters.

Tanzu Service Mesh architecture

Global Controller and Observer—Microservices that run as SaaS apps to provide you control, security, visibility, and autoscaling.

Local Controller—Runs on a local control plane within the customer's cluster. Can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Offers fault tolerance when the Global Controller disconnects from the cluster where the Local Controller is running.

Sidecars—Data plane components handling east–west traffic inside the Service Mesh that is running within the local on-premises or cloud data centers. These components run in the customer's cluster.

Ingress and Egress Gateways—Run in the customer's clusters on-premises or cloud data centers and control north–south traffic that goes in and out of the Service Mesh.

VMware Tanzu Service Mesh architecture

VMware Tanzu Service Mesh architecture

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG)

VMware says that TKG is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes runtime that streamlines operations across a multicloud infrastructure. Basically, it is a set of VMware-verified and maintained applications. When running native Kubernetes in your organization, you rely only on open-source maintenance. With TKG, VMware is in charge of support, maintenance, etc.

TKG is currently in release 1.3, which offers some enhancements concerning operating systems (Ubuntu 20.04 is now being distributed) and cloud support. VMware vSphere, AWS, and Azure are supported clouds right now.

This release also has integration with NSX Load Balancer Essentials, which has Layer 4 load balancing capability for Kubernetes workloads. In addition, there is a Fluent Bit log forwarder extension available where you can easily integrate your log forwarding with the VMware vRealize Operations (vROPs) product.

Tanzu Data Services

VMware Tanzu Data Services comprises many enterprise apps, such as Tanzu SQL, Tanzu RabbitMQ (lightweight message broker), and Tanzu Gemfire, providing data services on demand for supporting high-performance apps.

Tanzu Application Service

The Tanzu Application Service is designed for developers who want to use Spring and Spring Boot, which is able to build production-ready Spring apps. It offers native .NET experience for legacy .NET framework. It allows you to run apps on containers running on Windows Server 2016. Admins can develop and run new apps built with .NET Core.

Tanzu Build Service

Tanzu Build Service originated with Pivotal and was acquired by VMware in December 2019. This service transforms the application source code into container images. Tanzu Build Service uses the Cloud Native buildpacks project. It can also manage versioning and upgrades.

Final words

The VMware Tanzu ecosystem is very rich as it contains tools not only for admins but also for DevOps. It offers tools to get the job done while maintaining security, updates, and version tracking.

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The way VMware enterprise admins work today has changed to become a kind of hybrid, where they need not only to control traditional VM workloads but also to supervise containers through the Tanzu ecosystem.


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