“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller
I have been a strong advocate for Kubernetes ever since I came to know about it. In fact, my first public presentation was “Kubernetes for VMware Users” in Oct-2018 @VMUG Pune, at that time many vSphere Admins were not even aware of what Kubernetes is and how is it going to affect their lives but the momentum had been started and the developers were acting as an advocate for adopting it in their organization. They want to learn the latest tech in the market and at the same time wanted their organization to make use of it.
But, the problems of adoption were huge as developers did not understand a lot about the infra side of implementation while the admins were unable to understand developer problems. At the core of it were mostly vSphere Admins as almost every major organization was running vSphere in its Datacenter. Ofcourse, this all came under DevOps / Platform team but they were not very comfortable with vSphere capabilities.
I had firsthand experience where DevOps team managed to get separate ESXi cluster and implemented Kubernetes but they were not even aware of the most basic offering in vSphere (vMotion, DRS, HA, etc..) and hence the outages.
On the Other side, admins find it very difficult to learn Kubernetes as they were mostly used to GUI things. While Organization wanted a seamless approach to Kubernetes there were very few on-premises offerings while the cloud has its own challenges( will discuss in some other article). VMware was quick to understand this and with the advent of cloud, it was inevitable to ignore these challenges. While VMware Admins were worried about their future, VMware had its plan sorted out to fill this gap and create a win-win situation for all and it went all in beast mode with a vision to place itself as the leader in this segment. Then came VMworld 2019 and it was made clear with (acquisition of Heptio, Pivotal, Carbon Black) announcement of Project Pacific, Tanzu portfolio and many others showing intent to fill the void.
Fast Forward on March 10th, VMware launched vSphere7 with Kubernetes, Tanzu Portfolio ( Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, Tanzu Mission control, Tanzu Application Services etc..
While the number of people I met and have a discussion they are still confused with Product offerings. So, let’s clear some doubt, while I will cover them separately in detail in separate articles.
Before I explain the difference between vSphere7 with Kubernetes, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and Tanzu Mission Control you should know what CNCF Conformance is:
CNCF Conformance: “Software conformance ensures that every vendor’s version of Kubernetes supports the required APIs, as do open source community versions. For organizations using Kubernetes, conformance enables interoperability from one Kubernetes installation to the next. It allows them the flexibility to choose between vendors.”
Image Credit: VMware
vSphere7: Latest vSphere with many new features, empowering “You (admin)” to be part of your organization Kubernetes strategy. With just minimal training, you will be ready to support your developers.
vSphere with Kubernetes is available through VMware Cloud Foundation, delivers VMware Cloud Foundation Services and application-focused management for a streamlined development, agile operations, and accelerated innovation.
Image Credit: VMware
When we say vSphere with Kubernetes: That means you can run Kubernetes on vSphere in an integrated fashion using Kubernetes api calls, yaml files.
Within vSphere there are two types of Kubernetes clusters that run natively: a “Supervisor” Kubernetes cluster control plane for vSphere, and the Tanzu Kubernetes Cluster, sometimes also referred to as a “Guest Cluster.”
The supervisor is a special kind of Kubernetes cluster that uses ESXi as its worker nodes instead of Linux. This is achieved by integrating the worker agents, Spherelets, directly into the ESXi hypervisor. The Spherelet doesn’t run in a VM, it runs directly on ESXi via vSphere Pods. The supervisor cluster is a Kubernetes cluster of ESXi nodes instead of Linux nodes. The Supervisor Cluster uses vSphere Pods to run container workloads. Native Pods draw deeply on the exceptional security, availability, and performance of the ESXi hypervisor.
Tanzu Kubernetes Cluster:
While the Supervisor uses Kubernetes, it’s not a conformant Kubernetes cluster. This is by design, as it intends to use Kubernetes to improve vSphere, rather than trying to turn vSphere into a Kubernetes clone. To deliver Kubernetes clusters to your developers that are standards-based and fully conformant with upstream Kubernetes you can use Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters, also referred to as “Guest” clusters.
A Tanzu Kubernetes Cluster is a Kubernetes cluster that runs inside virtual machines on the Supervisor layer and not on vSphere Pods.
Image Credit: VMware
Tanzu Portfolio: Yes, Tanzu is not a product, it’s a portfolio which includes various product and offering, will discuss much talked about here(not all):
- Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG): TKG is VMware’s Kubernetes distribution – built on open source technologies, packaged for enterprise adoption and supported 24×7 by VMware Global Support Services (GSS). So basically, it is CNCF Conformant Kubernetes offering.
- Tanzu Mission Control: VMware Tanzu Mission Control is a centralized management platform for consistently operating and securing your Kubernetes infrastructure and modern applications across multiple teams and clouds. It provides operators with a single control point to give developers the independence they need to drive the business forward while enabling consistent management and operations across environments for increased security and governance. In simple terms, it is a single pane to manage all your Conformant Kubernetes clusters whether it is on cloud or on-premise.
Well, that’s pretty much something I like to cover for now there is a lot more to be covered yet, which I will eventually do in a series of articles.
Note: the views here are my own and do not represent my employer.