Getting Started with Kubernetes? Then Get to Know the New Tanzu Application Service

August 11, 2020 Pas Apicella

This post was co-authored by advisory platform architect Hin Lam.

You’re deploying Kubernetes, congratulations! This is an important first step toward a faster path to production. Your next step should be to download the new beta of VMware Tanzu Application Service. Better software does not add value unless it furthers an organization’s business goals, and regardless of what your organization’s business goals are, Kubernetes in combination with Tanzu Application Service will help you reach them. 

Consider the 5S’s

If, like most organizations, yours is striving to enable digital transformation, what comes next? It typically means overhauling processes, people, and the supporting technology framework. At VMware, we consider the business outcomes that effective software development supports using what we refer to as the “5S Framework,” which consists of speed, stability, scalability, security, and savings. Let's start by reviewing what you will likely be looking to change as it relates to your digital transformation goals.

Speed – Your goals are shorter cycle times and more frequent deployments, which means increasing speed. After all, you need to deliver amazing digital experiences to keep customers and employees engaged and happy, and you need to do it with agility and velocity while still mitigating risk as you release new code to production systems. Easier developer-to-operator hand off speeds delivery.

Stability – To maintain or increase stability, high availability that ensures near-100 percent uptime for customer-facing applications under all scenarios is paramount. It’s also critical that new application updates—as well as bug forwards and underlying infrastructure patches—during business hours are possible without incurring downtime. After all, you have SLA/SLO demands to meet.

Scalability – Every business has certain “moments of truth” when it needs to be available for big surges in traffic. Perhaps it’s launching a product, kicking off an advertising campaign, or hosting a seasonal event. Regardless of the underlying reason, what matters is that you are able to respond to an unknowable amount of traffic so as to capture new customers and gain market share. With a traditional IT model, you buy lots of extra hardware that just sits idle for the non-peak events. That’s quite wasteful. By using a modern cloud platform, you have the capacity needed to match the load at any given time. Stay online to win business, and run your infrastructure smarter.

Savings – IT leaders are always under pressure to deliver more, with less. How can you achieve savings while expanding your delivery capabilities? By moving away from expensive, proprietary middleware systems. You can also minimize your infrastructure spending with a purpose-built container platform that reduces “VM sprawl” and maximizes usage. Of course, your largest expense is your staff (and for good reason—they are talented!). Modern platforms help your employees do more with automation by eliminating the need for tedious work that doesn’t add value for your users. Keep your valuable employees focused on what matters—delivering new capabilities to your customers—and you’ll get more value from your IT budget year after year.

Security – The most successful businesses of the next decade will be able to take an idea to production quickly and react to external forces with agility, without sacrificing security or compliance. Choosing one or the other isn't an option; velocity and security are not mutually exclusive. You will need to improve patch coverage, repave often, and constantly rotate/protect any secrets.

Now that you have Kubernetes in place, you are ready to start focusing on these 5S’s. Here are some common questions that may come up along the way.

  • What do we need to do to increase developer velocity?

  • How can we upgrade apps and platforms across clouds and regions?

  • How can we enable self-service while maintaining a strong security stance?

  • How should we monitor and troubleshoot apps?

  • Are we building software that our customers care about?

  • How can we provide on-demand access to single-tenant infrastructure?

Say hello to VMware Tanzu Application Service 

You need to empower your developers while ensuring ops efficiency, security, and multi-cloud flexibility. Tanzu Application Service abstracts complex Kubernetes constructs into high-level components, reducing the burden on developers to learn and build non-functional requirements. Put another way, Tanzu Application Service does all the hard work so you can focus on your application code. It does so by leveraging the following features:

Community CNCF projects – Cloud native buildpacks, Istio, Envoy, Fluentd and more are curated into Tanzu Application Service, which helps minimize the risk that using such open source projects can pose to organizations while ensuring the right outcome for the business. Bringing in the best of these CNCF-curated projects to provide a proven application service ensures a seamless path to production and allows you to focus on delivering innovative applications.

cf push – Tanzu Application Service automatically detects and installs the correct runtime for your code; containerizes your app, packaged with dependencies; sets up route entry; creates a load balancing entry and SSL termination along with health monitoring and logging subsystems; binds specified backing services; and, eventually, starts your application in a healthy state, with the desired number of instances. Enterprise IT teams are no longer left with these time-consuming tasks thanks to cf push, so you can get to production quickly and safely while saving time and money.

Cloud native buildpacks – Buildpacks automatically configure frameworks and app dependencies translate your source code into OCI images. This includes portability via the OCI standard, greater modularity, faster builds, and reproducible image builds in your polyglot language of choice. The end result ensures developers can focus solely on their application code and operations teams know their security posture is where the business needs it to be for all their application containers.

Fluentd – To enable seamless monitoring, Fluentd collects logs, metrics, and events from your deployed apps and the various Tanzu Application Service components. From there, you can simply route telemetry data to your preferred APM tools without ever needing to understand how to get to the data in the first place. Being able to simply plug in your APM tool of choice ensures both your developers and operators can focus on the path to production.

Multi-cloud – Businesses want predictability and flexibility. By running in a mixed on-premise and multi-cloud environment, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Tanzu Application Service enables your app to run in a unified environment across multiple clouds while operating in a consistent manner.

The decoupling of apps from infrastructure is the foundation of DevOps practices. By serving as a common platform for siloed teams to collaborate on and untangle any dependencies, it allows for the rapid iteration of both applications and infrastructure changes.

Why Tanzu Application Service for your Kubernetes environment? 

In considering the 5S’s, why is Tanzu Application Service the best choice for your Kubernetes environment?

  • Speed – Enjoy a best-in-class developer experience with the combination of Cloud Foundry cli and Cloud Controller API, which are core components of Tanzu Application Service and have already been proven at scale by some of the world’s largest enterprises.

  • Stability – With multiple layers of high availability, a built-in health check and managed container image repositories, Tanzu Application Service automates the self-healing process by respawning any failed application instances.

  • Scalability – Because Tanzu Application Service effectively becomes a Kubernetes app, it makes Kubernetes much faster to install and easier to manage. A lean footprint means you can quickly stand up an app platform on premises, in the public cloud, and at the edge.

  • Savings – The ability to build, run, and wire is magical for the Kubernetes community, which is always looking for ways to  add value and simplicity atop its Kubernetes foundation. An application service does exactly that.

  • Security – Secure, production-ready container images support certain common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) without a rebuild thanks to the magic of cloud native buildpacks.

Try it now  

This new flavor of Tanzu Application Service provides the same efficiencies—and business outcomes—that Tanzu Application Service has provided to enterprises for years. If you want to learn more, here are some links to help you get started.

Image courtesy of Mathew Schwartz via Unsplash.

This article may contain hyperlinks to non-VMware websites that are created and maintained by third parties who are solely responsible for the content on such websites.


About the Author

Pas Apicella is an advisory platform architect APJ at VMware, working on the VMware Tanzu portfolio to help customers transform the way they build, run, and manage their most important applications. He has contributed code to OSS projects and constantly blogs about VMware Tanzu and Spring when time permits. He graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of Computer Science and since then has worked for companies such as Oracle, VMware, and IBM in various roles.

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