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VMware Doubles Down on Kubernetes for the Future of Application Delivery

Wednesday Aug 28th 2019 by Sean Michael Kerner

In the future all applications will be in containers, if VMware has its' way.

At the heart of many organizations enterprise application delivery efforts over the past two decades has been VMware's virtualization technology.

VMware's vSphere is all about enabling the company's ESX virtualization hypervisor, which allows organizations to run virtual machines (VMs). While VMs are still a part of modern application delivery, increasingly in recent years, organizations have taken a more agile, micro-services approach, driven in large part by containers and Kubernetes.

At VMware's VMworld event on August 26, the company announced it's latest attempt to integrate containers and VMs with its new Tanzu effort. VMware Tanzu is a new overarching portfolio of products and services that enables the building of modern apps on Kubernetes.

The first product is Tanzu Mission Control, which allows operators to see the health of their entire Kubernetes footprint and more. Additionally, VMware announced a technology preview of Project Pacific, which converges Kubernetes, containers and VMs into vSphere, reimagining the product as a native Kubernetes platform. 

This isn't the first time that VMware has talked about integrated containers with vSphere. At VMworld 2015, the company announced its vSphere Integrated Containers effort, which first brought containers together with VMs. Tanzu however is a more expansive initiative that doesn't just integrate containers, but re-factors vSphere to become a Kubernetes container orchestration platform natively.

"Project Pacific will put Kubernetes at the fingertips of thousands more vSphere users—even those that aren’t yet interested in Kubernetes or containers," Joe Beda, co-founder of the Kubernetes project and currently a principal engineer at VMware wrote in a blog post

But more important is that by re-architecting our flagship product to include Kubernetes in the vSphere control plane, we will introduce a number of new benefits to users."

VMware acquired Beda's company Heptio earlier this year, as part of an effort to bring Kubernetes expertise to the company. Rather than just allowing container to run, there is a feature that VMware is building into vSphere called a Supervisor Cluster. Beda explained that the new cluster type is in fact a Kubernetes cluster that is built into vSphere used to manage vSphere features.

"This cluster will be managed as part of vCenter and will serve as both the distributed systems kernel and API system for Project Pacific," Beda said. "In a very real way, vSphere is running on Kubernetes."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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