Sync Your GitOps Toolchain with VMware Tanzu Mission Control and Improve Cluster Group Consistency

November 8, 2022 Corey Dinkens

Carol Pereira contributed to this blog post.

When an application development team requires a new Kubernetes cluster, platform operators are often required to not only create the cluster but also configure it for use by the development team. This could include creating a set of namespaces, identity and access management policies, and security policies. They may also be responsible for installing monitoring tools, databases, and any applications required to facilitate developers.

Many companies have realized that the process can be laborious and error prone, and that automation is required to manage these operations consistently at scale. These companies are now turning to VMware to see how we can help solve these problems.

Take control of your Kubernetes clusters

Kubernetes clusters are difficult to configure and manage, so as you scale operations, you’ll need automation. VMware Tanzu Mission Control added support for continuous delivery at a cluster level in July 2022 to help automate cluster configuration management for individual clusters. 

Now, we want to share that the VMware Tanzu team is working to expand the continuous delivery feature from Cluster to Cluster Groups, which will mean more automation and faster outcomes. With this feature, we aim to enable customers to define cluster configurations at the group level to help ensure all clusters inside a group inherit the same configuration, eliminating the need to configure each cluster individually. The goal is to further simplify cluster management and reduce operational toil.

Cluster configuration as code, one or many repositories

When managing infrastructure configuration, platform operators must consider consistency, control, speed, and security. Consistency and speed can be achieved by leveraging continuous delivery to apply cluster configurations to all clusters in a cluster group, rather than managing individual clusters one by one. Control and security can be gained by managing your cluster configuration in a single reusable YAML file and applying it to a cluster group, so that all clusters inherit the same configuration.

Ultimately, by using continuous delivery with Tanzu Mission Control, you can remove repetitive administrative tasks and be able to spend more time scaling your Kubernetes environments and improving responsiveness to developers. 

A new day in the life of platform operators

To help eliminate the possibility for human error when manually applying cluster configurations through the CLI, platform administrators can maintain a repository with YAML files describing cluster resources. Utilizing FluxCD with Tanzu Mission Control, the operator will be able to configure a cluster group to point to a repository where YAML configuration files are stored. The YAML files are downloaded to the clusters, and the Kubernetes resources described in the YAML files—such as namespaces, pods, secrets, configMaps, or any other custom resource definitions (CRDs)—are created.

If the YAML is later changed, this change will be detected and automatically reflected in the clusters. Tanzu Mission Control will handle the lifecycle management of Flux or any other associated in-cluster components. Once Cluster Group support is available, admins will be able to use this feature to uniformly apply Kubernetes resources to all clusters in their cluster group, rather than operating on one cluster at a time. 

Simplified package installation including the Bitnami app catalog 

When Tanzu Mission Control first came to market, it included support for installing Carvel-based packages. Now, we are glad to announce that we are working to add support for installation of Bitnami Helm charts too to further support operators with more choice and flexibility.

Bitnami maintains an open source repository with many Helm charts for popular applications including databases (PostgreSQL, Redis, MongoDB, MariaDB), proxy solutions (Nginx), stream-processing platform (Kafka), and more.

Adding support for Bitnami Helm charts will allow Tanzu Mission Control users to install those popular applications to their Kubernetes clusters with a few clicks via the integrated catalog available through the GUI.

Next steps

If you want to learn more about our continuous delivery support, watch this video (starting at 24:12)) from VMware Explore 2022 in San Francisco.

If you’re attending VMware Explore in Barcelona (November 7–10, 2022), look for our VMware Tanzu specialists and bring all your questions! 

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