The Summer of 3 Transformations with VMware Tanzu

June 15, 2021 Dormain Drewitz

The world is emerging from the largest global pandemic in a century. I, for one, am enjoying some very non-digital experiences as a result. Hugging a friend. Dining indoors at a restaurant. And I am not taking these things for granted the way I once did.

But while we cautiously return to some old ways, certain habits are forever changed. Online shopping. Telehealth. Remote work. Fitness apps. The dust hasn't settled (and may never do so) on our new normal digital load. The pressure on companies, governments, and other entities to digitize and modernize remains.

Supporting digitization and modernization are three layers of transformation. We began describing VMware Tanzu's capabilities in the context of three transformations back in January. And in March, we revisited them to provide an update across the VMware Tanzu portfolio. Today we have another set of updates for each transformation that we're excited to share.

Application transformation

On the application transformation front, there are two vectors in play: data and application patterns.

Transforming the data layer

Data—specifically data architecture—is the long last mile of application modernization. Stateless workloads are cloud native by definition. The data architecture, on the other hand, is often the boat anchor. It holds a piece of legacy software back from cloud native benefits—benefits like horizontal scaling, resilience to failures, and more frequent updates.

Image source: Gartner; A Guidance Framework for Modernizing Java EE Applications, Matt Brasier and Fintan Ryan, April 2020

So, what happens to the data layer? Instead of a monolithic database—highly tuned as a resilient system of record, but painful to change or scale—data is carved up along domains and made available to many services. To support different services, a few capabilities come into play, including:

  • Caching – Lots of services accessing data and lots of hops between services can test performance. Caching data closer to services alleviates latency.

  • Messaging and streaming – With lots of services processing data, how do entire systems stay in sync? The eventual consistency model is being embraced for handling transactions. With that, messaging and streaming becomes a mechanism to move data through a system.

  • Orchestration – The data layer becomes intentionally more diverse. This can feel overwhelming, but reverting to a monolithic database doesn't buy simplicity, and comes at a cost. Instead, orchestrate data across heterogeneous sources, destinations, and processing types.

Against this backdrop of data layer transformation, we're excited to announce:

  • Version 2.0 of VMware Tanzu GemFire for Kubernetes* – Powered by Apache Geode, GemFire is an in-memory, key-value store that supports transactions and continuous queries. With this release, GemFire also includes a tech preview of API compatibility with Redis, initially allowing developers to use Spring Session Data Redis commands.

  • RabbitMQ 3.9 with streaming capabilities* – As the most popular open source message broker, RabbitMQ powers many distributed systems. With this release, RabbitMQ streams add replay to the long list of RabbitMQ capabilities. Now, a single, developer-friendly solution can handle a wide range of use cases, including confirmed delivery, high availability, streaming, and more.

  • Updates to VMware Spring Cloud Data Flow – Spring Cloud Data Flow orchestrates batch and streaming workloads for code-based data integration. With v1.11 of Spring Cloud Data Flow for VMware Tanzu and v1.3 of Spring Cloud Data Flow for Kubernetes, we are extending the observability mechanics to include message tracing support for event-streaming data pipelines. With the message tracing support, developers can inspect and remediate hotspots in the real-time streaming data pipelines. Spring Cloud Data Flow for Kubernetes is available in VMware Tanzu Advanced. Learn more about these updates here.

Transforming the data layer requires more than new tools, however. Domain-driven design is a useful approach, but getting people aligned to make the change is hard. VMware Tanzu Labs works with customers to evolve how applications and users access data. The data transformation practice re-architects the data layer to solve specific business goals.

Enabling cloud native application patterns

Cloud native application architectures solve challenges with scaling, resiliency, and continuous delivery. But they carry some cost of complexity. Simplifying what developers have to spend time on makes these patterns more accessible. VMware Tanzu makes it easier for developers to focus on their business or integration logic, and spend less time engineering system infrastructure.

In the spirit of simplifying what developers have to deal with, we are excited to announce new ways to

  • promote API re-use – Internal APIs are the promises between development teams. They define how data is shared between services. API portal for VMware Tanzu simplifies how developers publish their API documentation, as well as discover and try out available APIs. Read more about the release or watch this demo video with RedMonk's Dr. KellyAnn Fitzpatrick.

  • curate starting points for developers – Enterprise architects define and document best practices for internal APIs and other service types. But adherence to these standards is difficult to enforce. Previewed at Leading Change: Accelerate Your App and Cloud Transformation, Application Accelerator for VMware Tanzu codifies best practices. Architects define and curate application templates that give developers and operators a jumpstart with pre-configured, enterprise-conformant code and configurations.

  • build for scale-to-zero functions – Serverless functions allow developers to define a process that only runs when triggered. This saves a lot of resources, but requires the process to start up quickly. With Spring Native and GraalVM, developers can compile an application to a native executable that has near-instant startup time, as well as uses less memory. This is useful for scale-to-zero functions, as well as cloud economics and performance. Learn more about Spring Native 0.10 in this release post. Meanwhile, the public beta of Cloud Native Runtimes for VMware Tanzu we announced in March enables you to quickly get started with advanced deployment patterns and event-driven applications for Kubernetes without needing to master the Kubernetes API. Learn more in our new overview and getting started videos, or go straight to Tanzu Networks to download the bits and get started.

DevSecOps transformation

According to a recent Gartner report titled Why DevOps Success Requires Platform Teams, "By 2025, 95% of enterprises will fail to scale DevOps initiatives if shared self-service platform approaches are not adopted." Similarly, the 2020 State of DevOps report found that "[h]ighly evolved firms are six times as likely to report high use of internal platforms as firms at a low level of DevOps evolution." Clearly, internal, self-service platforms are critical to DevOps success. And including security in those platforms bakes points of control and remediation earlier into the container lifecycle.

Platform teams have an important job to develop and maintain internal, self-service platforms. The more they can automate and remediate quickly, the better. Less time manually updating or troubleshooting means there will likely be fewer errors and security holes. It also likely means more time with developers, which is critical to understanding their needs and identifying new platform features to build.

In the spirit of enabling platform teams to build DevSecOps platforms, we're excited to announce new ways to:

  • automate upgrades to container build dependencies – VMware Tanzu Build Service helps you secure your containerization processes by unifying and automating the build process for many apps. Tanzu Build Service itself uses two primary dependencies to build containers: buildpacks and operating system images. With the 1.2 release, the product can monitor for new versions of these dependencies and update itself. Platform teams can validate that containers are in compliance with the latest security patches and enable developers to build with the latest dependencies—without additional manual toil. Learn more about this release in this post.

  • embed API security in declarative connectivity* – With hundreds or thousands of internal APIs, automating security is critical. This is where VMware Tanzu Service Mesh comes in, with its Global NameSpace abstraction. Tanzu Service Mesh already helps customers to securely connect services across clusters and clouds. Soon it will provide a behavioral understanding of how APIs are used. Read more about the direction in securing APIs

  • extend connection security options in a fit-for-purpose platform – VMware Tanzu Application Service is a proven platform for achieving DevOps outcomes. With Tanzu Application Service 2.11.1, platform teams can make use of Server Name Indication (SNI) routing. This allows secure services (often, internal APIs) to share an IP address without sharing certificates. Read more about what’s in this update.  

  • run MySQL on Kubernetes with ease – Offering developers a way to access MySQL could be considered table stakes for a development platform. But ensuring that entire fleets of databases scale properly, are upgraded and patched, backed up, encrypted, and highly available takes work. Tanzu Advanced now has VMware Tanzu SQL with MySQL for Kubernetes. VMware Tanzu SQL uses the operator pattern to take advantage of the declarative approach inherent in Kubernetes, and updated defaults to simplify how platform teams deploy and run MySQL. With operators available for both MySQL and Postgres, developers can now easily spin up and manage instances of the two most popular open source databases.

Struggling to get started on building a DevSecOps platform? VMware Tanzu Labs works with clients to design, build, and scale production-ready app platforms. Tanzu Labs also helps organizations automate, streamline, and close the loop of the entire software supply chain to enable a DevSecOps model of continuous delivery. Our consulting services focused on building a secure software supply chain aren’t limited to just technology implementation. We take a holistic approach, helping your teams adopt modern practices, collaborative governance structures, and automated tooling that delivers confidence in security and compliance practices as well as more frequent deployments of high-quality code.

Cloud infrastructure transformation

As Kit Colbert recently noted, cloud infrastructure transformation is about a fundamental shift in the consumption model. He goes on to describe making infrastructure API-driven with self-service access. For container workloads, Kubernetes provides those APIs. That's where VMware Tanzu Basic and VMware Tanzu Standard come in. They provide a simple path to Kubernetes within VMware vSphere and across any cloud.

But containerized workloads are rarely all that an organization is running. A holistic solution for this shift towards API-consumable infrastructure must span many fronts. On-premises and cloud. VM and container. As announced in March, VMware Cloud is a distributed, multi-cloud platform for all types of workloads. 

Now, infrastructure teams can provision and manage Kubernetes clusters on VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution. With a consistent way to deploy and manage Kubernetes, operational costs decrease. In fact, ESG found that "centralizing the control of multiple Kubernetes clusters with Tanzu Standard increased operational efficiency by 91%, which freed up 1.5 full time engineers and resulted in a net savings of $272,208 over three years." We're excited to extend this capability to Azure VMware Solutions and VMware Cloud on AWS users.  

Operational admin time reduction with Tanzu

As more and more stateful workloads start to run on Kubernetes across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, enterprises need to back up and restore Kubernetes clusters and namespaces. VMware Tanzu Mission Control now supports more backup locations, including customer-provisioned AWS S3 Bucket and S3-compatible on-prem storage locations. This is useful when it comes to aligning multi-cloud Kubernetes management to the cloud data storage of your choice. In addition, Tanzu Mission Control also introduced more data protection configuration options such as backup scheduling and restoring to a different namespaces, providing customers with enhanced flexibility and governance while protecting their Kubernetes workloads. 

Next steps

Works cited

Gartner, A Guidance Framework for Modernizing Java EE Applications, Matt Brasier and Fintan Ryan, published 29 April 2020

Gartner, Why DevOps Success Requires Platform Teams, Daniel Betts, George Spafford, and Manjunath Bhat, published 23 March 2021

2020 State of DevOps, presented by Puppet Labs and CircleCI, November 2020

2021 State of Observability, VMware, February 2021

Analyzing the Economic Benefits of Operationalizing Kubernetes with VMware Tanzu Standard, ESG, January 2021

*There is no commitment or obligation that beta features or products will become generally available. This information is provided without warranty or any kind, express or implied, and is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions regarding VMware offerings. 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

Dormain Drewitz

Dormain leads Product Marketing and Content Strategy for VMware Tanzu. Before VMware she was Senior Director of Pivotal Platform Ecosystem, including RabbitMQ, and Customer Marketing. Previously, she was Director of Product Marketing for Mobile and Pivotal Data Suite. Prior to Pivotal, she was Director of Platform Marketing at Riverbed Technology. Prior to Riverbed, she spent over 5 years as a technology investment analyst, closely following enterprise infrastructure software companies and industry trends. Dormain holds a B. A. in History from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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