VMware Tanzu Application Service 4.0 Improves DevX with Dev Portal and Enhances Platform Engineering

April 4, 2023 Nick Kuhn

VMware Tanzu Application Service is a mission-critical platform that enables enterprises to deliver their applications faster with a secure path to production. Additionally, the platform can allow for improved engineering efficiency by offering a highly automated, intrinsically secure, and resilient application runtime.

Today, we are pre-announcing the release of VMware Tanzu Application Service 4.0! Tanzu Application Service 4.0 is the first iteration of the long-term support track (LTS-T) program and is jam-packed with many features focused on enhancing developer experience and improving platform engineering.

This blog will dive into the new features offered in the 4.0 LTS-T release.

Developer experience improvement with Backstage

To continually improve the developer experience (DevX) and expand the value of Tanzu Application Service, the team has been hard at work creating a new developer portal, based on the widely popular open source project Backstage, for Tanzu Application Service. The Tanzu Application Service portal aims to help developers rapidly onboard and ship code faster with the following features:

  • Organizational software catalog (beta) – The organization software catalog within the Tanzu Application Service portal allows developers to register their applications and search for existing applications within the catalog. The software catalog can reduce the risk of duplication of effort by providing developers with a single location for registered services to be discovered and integrated into new projects.
  • Runtime Resource Visualizer (beta) – Registered applications within the Tanzu Application Service portal will display application runtime information such as CPU and memory utilization, instance counts, application logs, and application lifecycle history. This information can help the developers keep track of their applications and how they are running without leaving the Tanzu Application Service portal.
  • Application Accelerators (beta) – Pre-packaged Application Accelerators for Tanzu Application Service are now available in beta within the Tanzu Application Service portal, enabling developers and operators in their organizations with ready-made, enterprise-conformant code and configurations. New software projects can be quickly assembled from accelerators and allow developers to kickstart their application development by having many organizational best practices predefined in easily consumable software project templates. Please note: Adding custom-built accelerators is not supported during this initial beta release.

Tanzu Application Service delivers even more developer productivity

It’s no secret that Tanzu Application Service has been at the forefront of providing an exceptional development experience for many years. Now with the 4.0 LTS-T release, we have added the following features to improve developer productivity:

  • Integrated Windows Authentication support for .NET framework – Tanzu Application Service has added support for .NET framework applications using Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA). The upgrade enables developers to modernize their .NET framework application estate and to migrate them to a modern platform.

  • cloudfoundry/cflinuxfs4 stacks are production-ready – With the 4.0 LTS-T release, all buildpacks have production-ready versions based on the cflinuxfs4 stack embedded in Tanzu Application Service. Developers should start moving their applications to this new stack to ensure they use the most current container base operating system to enable security best practices.
  • Cloud Native Buildpacks support (beta) – Support for the next generation of buildpacks, known as Cloud Native Buildpacks, has been added to Tanzu Application Service as a beta feature. Developers can experiment with new buildpacks alongside the traditional v2 Cloud Foundry Buildpacks already bundled with Tanzu Application Service. The “web-servers” buildpack is the first cloud native buildpack bundled within Tanzu Application Service.
  • Large application upload support – The default maximum upload size has been raised to 5GB from the previous 2GB limit in Tanzu Application Service. This new maximum enables developers to bring applications with many large dependencies to the platform that were previously blocked by this limit. 
  • Updated log and metric metadata upon renaming applications – When renaming an application running on Tanzu Application Service, developers no longer have to restart it for the correct log and metric metadata to propagate through the platform. Platform teams can confidently rename applications during a blue/green deployment without altering deployment strategies or worrying about valuable logging or metric data.

Tanzu Application Service 4.0 delivers time-saving value for platform engineers

Tanzu Application Service has been known for its operational and engineering excellence. Still, with the following features, we aim to enhance the efficiency that platform engineering teams can achieve with the platform:

  • Custom app metric rate limiting – Platform engineers can now work with their development teams to control noisy applications that may be emitting too many custom application metrics. A global limit can be set on the overall number of custom metrics emitted per application instance with the aim of preventing buffer overflows and loss within the platform.
  • External OpenID Connect (OIDC) provider support – Platform engineers can now configure authentication for Tanzu Application Service to use an external OIDC provider in addition to the already provided support Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Support for OIDC can allow platform engineers to connect authentication for Tanzu Application Service to existing single sign-on (SSO) services that require OIDC providers.
  • Human-readable timestamps in platform logs – In the 4.0 release, all platform component logs use the human-readable timestamp format RFC3339 by default. This change enables platform engineers to save time during debugging and to decrease frustration with different logging formats, as the platform will record all logs in the same time format.
  • cflinuxfs3 to cflinuxfs4 playbook – The team has developed a playbook for platform engineers to use in the cflinuxfs3 to cflinuxfs4 migration process. The Stack Auditor cf CLI plug-in has been updated and bundled with Tanzu Application Service on the VMware Tanzu Network to assist customers who could not download directly from GitHub.
  • Platform automation for CA rotation – With the release of the Platform Automation Toolkit for VMware Tanzu v5.1, support for rotating certificate authorities has been added for Tanzu Application Service. Platform engineers can use these new automation building blocks to handle certificate rotations better when using Concourse and the Platform Automation Toolkit to manage their foundations. 
  • IPv6 dual-stack ingress – Tanzu Application Service has validated support for dual-stack ingress using IPv6 and IPv4 simultaneously. Platform engineers can now configure the platform-level load balancers to IPv6 dual-stack mode (assuming the load balancer supports the configuration). This feature is useful for regulatory compliance and those organizations wishing to migrate to IPv6.
  • Configurable Gorouter HTTP request header limits – The Gorouter now supports the ability to configure the default HTTP header size to accept. Platform engineers can configure this value if desired and help protect against specific attack vectors that could destabilize customer applications or the platform.

Additional features for VMware Tanzu Operations Manager enhance platform engineering for Tanzu Application Service

Tanzu Operations Manager is a pivotal component of any Tanzu Application Service deployment. The following features, which can benefit platform engineers, have been added to Tanzu Operations Manager: 

  • Tanzu Operations Manager declares long-term support – Tanzu Operations Manager 3.0.5 has been designated a long-term support track release. Tanzu Application Service 4.0 LTS-T and Tanzu Operations Manager 3.0.5 LTS-T will serve as matching releases with aligning support lifecycles for customers who follow the long-term support track.
  • Automatically rotate non-configurable leaf certificates on apply changes – To continually improve the platform engineering experience, Tanzu Operations Manager will now have a configuration to automatically rotate non-configurable leaf certificates when an “apply changes” is triggered. Platform engineers can save time by streamlining the rotation operation in an already planned change to the platform. 
  • Support for VMware vSphere 8 – Tanzu Operations Manager now supports deploying to VMware vSphere 8.0. Platform engineers can deploy Tanzu Application Service foundations on new or upgraded vSphere environments.
  • Log bundle enhancements – Log bundle collection within Tanzu Operations Manager has been improved to decrease the time platform engineers collect logs and support bundles. Individual virtual machine instance logs can now be retrieved versus gathering every log bundle for each virtual machine in the instance group. Platform engineers with large deployments from hundreds of machines per instance group can benefit from valuable time savings by collecting only the targeted logs from a subset of machines.
  • Short-lived NATS bootstrap credentials – To increase the overall security posture of the platform, the team has introduced short-lived credentials when bootstrapping new virtual machines with BOSH.

Exciting new enhancements with the Tanzu Application Service Marketplace!

The Tanzu Application Service Marketplace enables developers to integrate databases and middleware services into their applications rapidly. The following features have been added to further expand marketplace offerings within Tanzu Application Service:

  • VMware SQL Tile now supports MySQL 8.0 – The VMware SQL with MySQL for Tanzu Application Service tile has added support for provisioning MySQL 8.0 databases. Platform engineers can enable service plans to allow developers to deploy new MySQL 8.0 databases within the Tanzu Application Service Marketplace.
  • VMware Tanzu Cloud Service Broker for Amazon Web Services (AWS) updates – The broker team has been working at building parity with the legacy AWS broker for Tanzu Application Service. The following services are generally available and ready for migration: Amazon Aurora MySQL-Compatible Edition, Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition, Amazon RDS for MySQL, Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket. Developers can easily consume these AWS services from the Tanzu Application Service Marketplace.
  • VMware Tanzu Cloud Service Broker for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) updates – The Google Cloud MySQL and Google Cloud Storage bucket services have been added to the generally available list for the GCP broker. Developers can use these services for production workloads and migrate existing services from the legacy broker.

Watch for the release of Tanzu Application Service 4.0 LTS-T on Tanzu Network!

In the meantime, catch up on all the Tanzu Application Service news at the Tech Zone site news.

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

Disclaimer: Please note that there are features in beta release and are not yet suitable for production use. We will be working hard over the next few months to iron out any remaining issues and stabilize the release.

About the Author

Nick Kuhn

Nick Kuhn is a senior technical marketing architect working on Tanzu Application Service and Tanzu Application Platform. His experience with VMware products started with a traditional role as VI admin and morphed over the years into the realm of DevOps, SRE, and Platform Architecture & Engineering for a Fortune 100 company. In his free time, Nick enjoys spending time with his family, tinkering with tech, and the occasional video game session. You can find him on Twitter @tehkuhnz.

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