Against the Backdrop of VMware Tanzu, Here’s How Tanzu Application Service’s New Release Helps You Build Modern Apps

October 8, 2019 Jared Ruckle

Today at SpringOne Platform, we unveil a slew of new updates to Pivotal Platform. Before we dig into the updates, think back to VMworld in late August.

At the conference, VMware introduced Tanzu, a portfolio of projects, products, and services. The three pillars of Tanzu:

  • Build modern apps

  • Run enterprise Kubernetes

  • Manage Kubernetes for developers and IT

Pivotal is focused on Build, just as we have for years. As Ray O’Farrell, Executive Vice President at VMware notes in the clip below, Pivotal is on the “forefront of this modern application transformation, and indeed organizational transformation.”

For many enterprises, the journey to build better software starts with Enterprise PKS (read about the latest release here and here). From there, you want to layer on additional components to boost developer productivity. Your ultimate goal: achieve better business outcomes through the rapid, safe delivery of high-quality software.

With that in mind, let's get to the updates!

Build Apps Atop Kubernetes

Build Apps Atop a Self-Managed Platform

Get Your Apps to Production with CI/CD

Other Highlights

Build Apps Atop Kubernetes

Azure Spring Cloud, a complete runtime for Spring apps atop Azure Kubernetes Service [private preview]

Enterprise PKS isn’t the only Kubernetes game in town; Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is pretty slick too. So we teamed up with our friends from Microsoft to create a first-class experience for Spring developers atop AKS: Azure Spring Cloud, now in private preview.

Azure Spring Cloud is a first-party product jointly developed and operated by Pivotal and Microsoft. It’s a fully managed service for microservices, powered by Spring Cloud and AKS. Azure Spring Cloud is deeply integrated with Azure: use it with the Azure CLI, add Azure backing services with ease, and observe your apps with Azure telemetry tools.

Azure Spring Cloud is a complete runtime for Spring Boot microservices.

If you’re a Spring developer, the service will feel familiar. Just bring your Spring Boot apps to Azure Spring Cloud, and add configuration details to your service registry, client-side load balancing, and circuit-breakers. The rest is managed for you!

Kubernetes primitives are intentionally hidden from you in the service; this is a pure application platform. The source-to-container workflow is abstracted away as well. (In fact, Azure Spring Cloud uses Pivotal Build Service; read on for details.)

Learn more

Pivotal Build Service Simplifies Code-To-Container Workflows for Kubernetes [alpha]

Buildpacks, first conceived in 2011, proved remarkably successful. Enterprises around the world use buildpacks thousands of times a day to build containers from source code. This tech is a win-win-win across the business. Developers love that they don’t have to fret about dependencies after performing a cf push. Operators enjoy the control over what runs on the platform. And compliance teams appreciate the auditability.

In the intervening years, we learned from customers, and worked with the community to bake this feedback into Cloud Native Buildpacks. To the surprise of no one, we’ve crafted these new buildpacks with Kubernetes in mind. (kpack, a set of set of resource controllers for Kubernetes, is an essential part of Build Service. It’s even used in Azure Spring Cloud!)

All of this wonderful open-source tech is neatly bundled into Pivotal Build Service. The product includes some special-sauce capabilities for the enterprise, namely around image promotion and automated rebuilds. The full capabilities of Build Service are on display in this excellent demo from my friend Dan Baskette:

Build Service is now an open alpha; give it a try in your dev/test Enterprise PKS environments. Note how Build Service keeps your app up to date through rebuilds as new versions of build dependencies come online. This is a far better workflow for container management on Kubernetes than your status quo!

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Pivotal Ingress Router Solves Ingress Routing For Kubernetes Deployments [beta]

One appealing aspect of Kubernetes: it doesn’t ship with an opinion on how certain tasks should be done. Kubernetes offers oodles of customization and extensibility. The trade-off, of course, is that you’ll need to think about these gaps, and find a way to address them.

As my friend Shannon Coen observed a few months back:

We all love a good shell script. If you're like most, you've written scripts to set up ingress routing for Kubernetes cluster. Over time, this can become technical debt, and you want a more reliable approach. Enter Ingress Router.

Ingress Router seeks to completely automate this scenario. Deploy the service alongside Enterprise Pivotal Container Service (PKS). Then, you simply set up DNS and load balancing once with a wildcard. After that, you can enjoy automated routing and load balancing to the K8s APIs of any clusters deployed with PKS, as well as to the workloads that run on them. As the commercial says, “Set it and forget it!”

Pivotal Ingress Router is now in beta—give it a try! It’s a useful solution if you’re running Kubernetes across clouds; use it to configure ingress the same way everywhere.

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Container Services Manager for Pivotal Platform Brings Software Packaged for Kubernetes to Your Service Catalog [beta]

To do anything interesting with your app, you need to add a backing service to it. Out of this need, the Pivotal Marketplace was born! Enterprises can connect scores of different backing services to their custom code running on Pivotal Platform. Tools like the Open Service Broker API simplify provisioning and other lifecycle management activities.

Got a public cloud service you want to bring to your app? No problem; use products from AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP with ease. Got another scenario in mind? Use a service packaged with BOSH.

Now there’s a new class of services you can bring to your Pivotal Platform deployment: software packaged to run on Kubernetes. A new product Container Services Manager for Pivotal Platform (KSM) makes it reality! 

With KSM, you can bring software packaged as a Helm chart, including Kubernetes Operator to your Pivotal Platform.

Developers interact with services brokered by KSM via the tried-and-true cf cli commands. What’s more, services running on Kubernetes plug into CredHub and PAS ingress components for secure communications between your PAS apps and services running on PKS.

Here are three things you need to know about KSM.

  1. KSM enables platform engineers to extend their current Pivotal Platform marketplace with a catalog of containerized services deployed on PKS.

  2. As a platform engineer you can now offer open-source software, internally developed services, and commercial-off-the-shelf products deployed on Kubernetes in your developer marketplace. 

  3. And once in the marketplace, developers can create and bind dedicated service instances to their applications using native CF commands.

How does it all work? This handy diagram lays it out:

A look at the workflow behind Container Services Manager for Pivotal Platform.

We’ll have a deep-dive blog post on KSM later in the week. Stay tuned!

Learn more

RabbitMQ for Kubernetes Offers a New Way to Run the Popular Messaging Service at Scale [beta]

Speaking of backing services! Let’s talk about how we’re making RabbitMQ easier to deploy and run atop Kubernetes. This effort fits neatly into the Tanzu view of modern apps; RabbitMQ is the most widely deployed open source message broker.

Sure, you can deploy RabbitMQ on bare metal, VMs, or alongside Pivotal Application Service via this tile. If you’re building apps on Kubernetes, your messaging service should live on K8s as well. Why? Lots of reasons!

  • Leaner resource consumption. You’ll save on infrastructure when you deploy with containers compared to virtual machines. When you’re at scale with hundreds of clusters, this is an important factor!

  • A shared control plane. Life is easier when you have everything running on the same subsystem (Kubernetes in this case).

  • Modular administration. Many enterprises have dedicated RabbitMQ experts or DBAs that look after their RabbitMQ clusters. With this new service for Kubernetes, these users can perform day-to-day management tasks decoupled from current Pivotal Platform tooling. This is a cleaner workflow that makes life easier for these folks.

  • Latency. When your message queues are close to your app, you get better performance.

Yes, there are a few Helm-packaged RabbitMQ offerings out there. These are useful for deploying a single cluster. But this option doesn’t do much for you on Day 2 with many clusters; you still have to tackle lifecycle management on your own.

That’s why RabbitMQ for Kubernetes will use the Kubernetes operator construct to automate the cluster lifecycle at scale. And as my friend Dormain Drewitz wrote, this is the RabbitMQ you’ve come to depend on:

It will come with popular RabbitMQ plugins enabled by default. This will include the management GUI, shovel, federation, and Prometheus for monitoring.

RabbitMQ for Kubernetes will fit right in to existing Pivotal Platform deployments, with all the continuity discussed in the KSM section above. That said, we’re also interested in providing a pure Kubernetes experience for RabbitMQ, one without requirements for the cf cli, or even the use of a service broker! Stay tuned for more on this front in the coming months.

Learn more

Build Apps Atop a Self-Managed Platform

Pivotal Application Service® 2.7 Offers More App Deployment Capabilities

Two quick highlights for you here (peruse the release notes for the full run-down).

Native Rolling Deployments Goes GA

If you’re looking for the best app deployment experience, look no further than cf push. If you want to get more sophisticated and do things like rolling deployments, the App Service recently introduced a native option as a beta. Now, native rolling deployments matures to GA in 2.7.

As we wrote recently, “this feature isn’t meant to be used in lieu of a continuous deployment tool. But you’ll find it useful for loads of other scenarios, like performance tuning, code-level security fixes—even chaos engineering!”

 Review the docs to learn more.

Manage App Re-Deployments and Revisions in Apps Manager

The CF CLI is one powerful tool (a v7 beta was recently shipped). But sometimes it’s useful to have a UI; that’s Apps Manager. Now in App Service 2.7, developers can manage application re-deployments and revisions.

As you’ll see in the UI below, you can view the deployment status of an app, and the environment variables associated with an app revision.

Refer to the Manage App Revisions docs to learn about how this works in Apps Manager. Curious about app revisions in general? Refer to App Revisions.

Pivotal Compliance Scanner 1.1 Benchmarks OS Compliance [GA]

Big companies spend thousands of hours a year auditing their IT systems. Compliance extends down into the guts of your application stack, including the operating system.

Pivotal Compliance Scanner makes your audit work go that much faster. The tool performs an assessment of each BOSH-managed VMs that are visible in Ops Manager. The resulting analysis comes in the form of a compliance report. This output summarizes the pass/fail of each tests outlined in our 4 benchmarks:

 Read the docs to learn how you can automate this part of your compliance efforts. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much time you’ll save!

And for all you Windows sysadmins out there, we haven’t forgotten about you! In PAS for Windows 2.7, Windows Server 2019 VMs created by Pivotal Platform are compliant with the Microsoft Baseline Security Standard.

If you’re at SpringOne Platform, attend Day 3: Security Auditing and Compliance.

Pivotal Service Instance Manager Helps You Manage Backing Services at Scale [beta]

We’ve hit on the backing services idea earlier. When you’re running at the scale of Pivotal Platform customers, you end up with a lot of service instances. It’s common for platform teams to look after thousands of instances, usually across multiple foundations. This task is as hard as it sounds, perhaps even harder!

So we set out to make it a bit easier. After a bit of user research, we concluded that the ideal solution would be:

  • Multi-foundation. Scale matters.

  • Version independent. The solution should use the CAPI v2 API, for maximum coverage across Pivotal Platform versions.

  • Compatible with Pivotal Platform Permissions. Empower everyone to to manage their own SIs, while respecting overall role-based access controls.

To this end, we’ve launched Pivotal Service Instance Manager as a beta. It has all the desired attributes listed above.

Today, the product solves two of your most important jobs to be done:

  • Faster troubleshooting. Filter to locate a specific service instance by name, location or bound apps.

  • Savings, via more efficient resource use. Find unbound service instances that might be candidates for cleanup. Delete service instances to free up resources!

The UI of the product shows you how easy it is to search for potentially problematic services instance, as well those that are unbound.

Pivotal Service Instance Manager

Read up on the service, then give it a try in your deployment today!

Get Your Apps to Production with CI/CD

Pivotal Continuous Delivery with Spinnaker Solves the “Last Mile” to Production [beta]

We casually mentioned this line earlier in the post “achieve better business outcomes through the rapid, safe delivery of high-quality software”. The rapid, safe delivery part? That’s Spinnaker, a highly popular continuous delivery tool.

We’ve been investing in the Spinnaker community for a while now; those efforts are manifested in Pivotal Continuous Delivery with Spinnaker, now a beta product.

There are loads of features in Spinnaker, but these three points are the TL;DR:

  • Release code with speed and confidence. Rely on safe, proven deployment practices that minimize risk. Accelerate feedback loops to continually promote code through the pipeline to any cloud. When you automate more of your development workflow, life gets better!

  • Run a modern software pipeline. Empower your teams with a frictionless path to production. Access solutions from Pivotal and our partners for a compatible end-to-end toolchain, including Spinnaker.

  • Turn app monitoring into action. From release to runtime, operate your apps across the enterprise, working hand in hand with monitoring. Know where all your apps are running all the time. Spinnaker is a lot more than just continuous delivery; you’ll find it has a ton of value when it comes to managing your application estate.

Learn more

Pivotal Concourse 5.5 Ships With a Supported Helm Deployment [GA]

Let’s parse that same statement again: “achieve better business outcomes through the rapid delivery of high-quality software”. The high-quality part is Concourse, a tool to perform continuous integration on your code.

The flagship improvement in Concourse 5.5: the software is now packaged in a supported Helm Chart. This Chart is maintained and supported by the Pivotal Concourse team. So if you want to run Pivotal Concourse on Enterprise PKS, now you can! Download it from PivNet.

The Concourse 5.0 saw a big boost in features; and the team continues to ship at a good pace. In Concourse 5.5, you’ll enjoy:

  • Better performance...thanks to improved volume streaming compression with Zstandard 

  • Better auditability...with improved user session and event tracking 

  • An expanded permissions model...including a new “Super admin” role. This enhancement brings broader, more efficient access to permissions across teams. 

  • Improved stability...because of backup & recovery reliability and configuration improvements.

New to Concourse? My friend Patricia Johnson offers a look at the past, present, and future of the tool.

Hungry for more background? My friend Tony Vetter did an informative overview:

A final thought: for application CI/CD, the Concourse and Spinnaker combo is what we recommend. For platform automation, Concourse is the right choice.

Learn more

Other Highlights

Pivotal Spring Cloud Gateway: A Simple, Effective Way to Route APIs [beta]

Pivotal Spring Cloud Gateway is our newest Spring Cloud product that provides  a developer-friendly way to configure and route API requests to application services. Use an integrated offering from Pivotal for API single sign-on, secure access, monitoring/metrics, and resiliency!

The module features all the lightweight API capabilities you love from Spring Cloud Gateway. It adds ongoing maintenance and support from Pivotal, plus integration with the Platform’s Single Sign-On module. 

If you’re in the Customer Early Access Group on Pivotal Network, you can already download and install the beta. If you’d like to be added, contact your balanced account team!

Learn more

Pivotal Cloud Cache 1.9 Brings More Capabilities to Your Caching [GA]

Do your users complain about how slow your website is? Worse, are you seeing customers leave as a result of your subpar online experience? The balm for sluggish apps can be a cache!

For Spring apps (even .NET too) Pivotal Cloud Cache is a logical choice. And in Cloud Cache 1.9, now GA, we help you do three things really well:

  • Service instance sharing. Multiple microservices in different Pivotal Application Service spaces can share the same instance of Cloud Cache. Many other types of services support this scenario; now Cloud Cache does too.

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) over Wide Area Networks (WAN). Mutual TLS improves the efficiency of how data is encrypted, thereby increasing data transfer rates over WANs.

  • Spring Initializr support for Apache Geode™. Haven’t played around with caching much? Now is a great time to start, because adding a cache to your app has never been easier. Developers can use the familiar Spring Initializr site to bootstrap caching for an application. This workflow will be familiar to Spring developers; the site generates a project that contains all the dependencies so you can get started quickly. (Geode is the open-source project that Cloud Cache is based on.)

Ready to dig in? My friend Jag Mirani has all the details in the release blog.

Learn more

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Then, check out the links below and review our excellent documentation!


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Kubernetes is either a registered trademark or trademark of The Linux Foundation in the United States and/or other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About the Author

Jared Ruckle

Jared works in product marketing at VMware.

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