VMworld K8s Announcements

If you work with VMware tech at all, it’s unlikely you’ve not heard the buzz related to the K8s announcements by now. And I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to openly discuss them. Gladly, the day has finally arrived.

Tanzu (pronounced tahn-zu) is a brand name announcement. Not too exciting but conveys a direction to bring the various cloud native product lines together. Moving forward, we’ll see all products related to cloud native branded as Tanzu ‘something’.

Tanzu Mission Control is the first offering announced. Tanzu MC is a SaaS offering that leverages many of the open source projects spearheaded by Heptio. Cluster API to provision and lifecycle manage K8s clusters on many different target infrastructure bases, Velero for backup/restore, Sonobuoy for configuration management, and Contour for ingress routing. Tanzu MC replaces the Cloud PKS offering. And it replaces it with a ton of additional functionality and reach.

Cluster API represents a large evolution for K8s. It is essentially K8s managing K8s. By representing K8s clusters as objects in a ‘supervisor’ cluster, Cluster API levels K8s up from managing pods, to managing clusters and nodes as well.

Project Pacific was announced as a tech preview and also leverages Cluster API under the hood. Pacific is the joining of K8s and vShere to form a unified platform for VM and container consumption. It is native K8s running on esx and integrated with the vSphere platform. Each esx host runs a kubelet (referred to as spherelet), and each vSphere cluster becomes a K8s cluster (referred to as supervisor cluster).

The supervisor cluster can deploy pods directly on the esx host cluster via the native CRX container runtime construct. CRX is an implementation of a micro VM-like object that has a linux ABI and container runtime. For each pod deployed, a CRX instance is created. Via Cluster API, the supervisor cluster can also spin up ‘guest clusters’ which are VMs running linux and kubernetes. The guest cluster model is very similar to the end result of an Enterprise PKS deployed cluster.

There are other noteworthy announcements related to acquisitions intent that provide a lens into how these two offerings will likely chart VMware’s course forward. But I’ll save that for another post. The announcements of Tanzu Mission Control and Project Pacific are significant by themselves.