Launching VMware Essential PKS as a Modular Way to Consume Upstream Kubernetes

February 26, 2019 Paul Fazzone

The past year has been full of action for the Cloud Native Applications business unit at VMware in close collaboration with Pivotal. We introduced VMware Enterprise PKS as a tightly packaged way of consuming Kubernetes and launched a beta of VMware Cloud PKS, a SaaS-based Kubernetes service. We grew our talented crew and capped the year by acquiring the team and technology of Heptio. 

We’ve got momentum and the year ahead promises to be full of innovations and community contributions. That’s why our team isn’t shy in stating our objective—to establish VMware as the leading enabler of Kubernetes and cloud native operation.

To earn that reputation, we’ve got to meet customers where they are today and then lead them forward. That means we need to offer customers multiple ways to consume Kubernetes. And so today we introduce VMware Essential PKS as a modular approach to cloud native operation. Consistent with its name, it simply includes (a) upstream Kubernetes, (b) reference architectures to inform design decisions, and (c) expert support to proactively guide you through upgrades or maintenance and reactively troubleshoot if/when needed.  

VMware's Kubernetes Portfolio

VMware Essential PKS captures the highly open approach that Heptio exemplified and it rounds out our portfolio so we can best address different customer approaches to running Kubernetes in production.

  • Some organizations want to build a more modular, customized architecture on upstream Kubernetes—selecting lifecycle management, networking and other technologies. They either have the in-house expertise to design, deploy and integrate those components, the intent to build-out that function or the appetite to lean on an expert team, like VMware’s Kubernetes Architects to traverse the last miles. Those customers will look to VMware Essential PKS to access upstream Kubernetes with a backstop of proactive support.
  • Other organizations will want a more turnkey approach to container management; especially if it allows them to make best use of their existing VMware footprint. They recognize the value in a tightly packaged offer with pre-integrated and validated components—providing enterprise-grade security, compliance and consistency. Those customers will choose VMware Enterprise PKS, which includes VMware NSX-T for networking and Harbor for registry. VMware Enterprise PKS has operational patterns, out-of-box automations and day 2 considerations that make it simpler to deploy and operate.
  • Finally, some organizations will simply want to make clusters available to their teams without operating the platform themselves. Those clusters will need to be pre-configured and available to deploy and scale at a moment’s notice. Those customers can be up and running in minutes with VMware Cloud PKS, a SaaS-based offer that ensures customers only pay for what they use. VMware Cloud PKS is currently in beta.

Importantly, all three of these solutions are built on upstream Kubernetes to enable customers to not be locked in to any one environment. VMware's approach to Kubernetes is cloud independent—we believe workloads should always be portable across private cloud and public cloud.

Leading the Next Enterprise Transformation to Cloud Native

The message to our customers should be clear: regardless of where you are in your cloud native journey, VMware can help. More than 80% of containers run on virtual machines (VMs), and that percentage is only growing year over year. Of course, being VMware, we have vast experience with VMs, so we’re uniquely positioned to get you up and running on Kubernetes.

While many enterprise deployments of Kubernetes start on-premises, our customers are containerizing applications as a practical, near-term path to cloud. Over time, the greater impact will be on development velocity, and we’re ready to help our customers use cloud native principles to modernize the way that they develop applications.

VMware led the transformation from physical infrastructure to virtualized infrastructure, and then to the software-defined data center. Now, with an expanding product portfolio, Pivotal partnership and more internal expertise, we’re here to lead the next enterprise transformation to cloud native operation.

The introduction of VMware Essential PKS should be viewed as the Heptio acquisition shining through—it’s also evidence of our commitment to customers and to the open source community. With the Heptio team now more fully integrated with our engineering crew, our roadmap for the year is taking shape and there are many more product innovations and community contributions ahead.

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