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VMware's big announcement earlier this month included some exciting new solutions and products that will give enterprise environments great new capabilities in provisioning, configuring, and managing both virtual machines and containerized solutions.
With Tanzu, VMware has introduced an entire portfolio of new products that includes vSphere 7 and Cloud Foundation 4. One of the great new solutions VMware has introduced with Tanzu is Kubernetes Grid. In this post, we will take a closer look at this new solution and see how it integrates with the overall portfolio of products released with VMware Tanzu.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid overview
In the containerized world, it is easy to see container sprawl where thousands or even tens of thousands of containers are running across the landscape of your enterprise. This gets massively complicated to manage and troubleshoot. Kubernetes has helped solve the problem of container management by allowing effective orchestration of the containers running in your infrastructure. However, Kubernetes itself can be difficult to install and configure.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid hopes to solve this technical challenge. It is an enterprise Kubernetes runtime that allows running Kubernetes-orchestrated containers across multiple cloud infrastructures. VMware's own Kubernetes distribution uses current open-source technologies in the Kubernetes community, but they have engineered Kubernetes to help simplify both the installation and day-2 operations.
For production environments, one of the big things included with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is support because it includes 24x7 production support from VMware Global Support Services. This is important because many open-source implementations of Kubernetes solutions leave you facing problems on your own with only community-based support.
VMware is positioning Tanzu Kubernetes Grid as well suited for multiple use cases that include running Tanzu Kubernetes Grid in:
- The private cloud: Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is the Kubernetes implementation embedded right within VMware vSphere 7. It enables both IT admins and developers to interact with vSphere using Kubernetes constucts. This allows easily provisioning Kubernetes clusters using the Kubernetes APIs embedded right within vSphere.
- The public cloud: In public cloud environments, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid will run as a service in the various public cloud infrastructures customers use today.
- Edge environments: Streamlined Kubernetes deployments in distributed edge environments are possible with the integration of VMware Pivotal Labs.
The benefits of VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid include the following:
- Greatly simplified installation: Although it provides immense benefits to containerized environments, Kubernetes can be difficult to set up correctly. One of the benefits offered with the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid implementation is the simplified installation. This can span across your own datacenter, public cloud, and edge environments.
- Multicluster Kubernetes operations automation: VMware has streamlined operations, such as lifecycle management, for your multicluster operations by providing automation tooling that allows easy patching, upgrades, and automation of other manual tasks.
- Integrated platform services: Tanzu Kubernetes Grid helps streamline configuration of image registry policies, logging, monitoring, networking, storage, and many other aspects of your platform with the integrated platform services.
- Still open source: Even though Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is tightly integrated with VMware services, it is still aligned with open-source technologies. These include Cluster API, Fluent Bit, and Contour. You still have the benefit of being able to port your Kubernetes clusters to different underlying platforms as well as aligning with the Kubernetes community for support and innovation.
VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus for VMware Cloud on AWS
Very recently, VMware announced the offering of VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus for VMware Cloud (VMC) on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This will allow deploying VMware's Tanzu Kubernetes Grid implementation inside your VMC on AWS.
VMC on AWS allows running VMware vSphere on top of bare-metal Amazon AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) servers and provides the elastic environment one knows and is familiar with in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environments like AWS.
Now VMware customers using VMC on AWS for their infrastructure needs can run containerized workloads that can benefit from the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid features and capabilities on top of the elastic, scalable VMC infrastructure.
Customers can realize many benefits with the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid solution on top of the VMC environment. These include the following:
- Speed and agility: Much the same as running Kubernetes clusters on premises with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, running it on VMC realizes the same benefits of the platform, including simplified lifecycle management, updating, and patching your Kubernetes clusters.
- Portability: At its heart, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is Kubernetes. So if you want to port it to another cloud or underlying platform, you can do that.
- Scalability: Using VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid on VMC allows you to take advantages of scalability from both a container perspective (adding more worker nodes) and an infrastructure perspective (scaling your VMC hosts).
- Consistency and reliability: VMC on AWS provides a flexible platform. VMware has a proven, well-tested software-defined datacenter (SDDC) stack that is extremely resilient when run on top of the AWS infrastructure provided. Now that VMware offers Tanzu Kubernetes Grid as a solution that can run on top of VMC on AWS, you benefit from the reliability it provides at both a SDDC layer and a hardware infrastructure layer.
- Automation: We all know that automation is the key to successfully meeting the demands required of IT ops today. With VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid running on top of the VMC on AWS infrastructure, the solution is highly automatable. IT admins have the tools they need to implement DevOps practices successfully in the modern datacenter. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid provides the Kubernetes APIs needed for both developers and IT admins. VMC on AWS also has crucial APIs exposed for full automation of the underlying infrastructure environment, including compute, storage, and networking.
Impressions and final thoughts
VMware is continuing to do what they have always done best, that is, make complicated infrastructure and technologies easy. Their methodologies and solutions continue to resonate with IT admins. Now that VMware has a foothold with IT admins who are now very familiar with VMware vSphere at this point, most organizations are likely to use VMware for implementing their Kubernetes containerized solutions.
Rolling out your own Kubernetes infrastructure and doing it right is not exactly easy. From the looks of it, VMware is most likely going to retain and gain customers wanting to have a familiar platform to run Kubernetes-orchestrated containers in a fully supported way.
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Time will tell; VMware will soon be launching the catalog of new products and solutions under the Tanzu portfolio. These include vSphere 7, VMC Foundation 4, and VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.