VMware Tanzu Advanced Quarterly Update: Driving DevOps Metrics that Matter

November 15, 2021 Munjal Munshi

It is imperative for DevOps success that operations teams provide a good developer experience and that developers have what they need for productive workflows. When this is done automatically and seamlessly, teams can get code to production faster. However, it’s not enough to get code committed quickly. That code must also be compliant and secure. Developers should not find out at the last minute that they used a noncompliant package leading to hours of re-work. They need to have the right guardrails in place to make it easy to do the right thing. Building such an ecosystem of humans, technology, and systems leads to a mature DevOps or DevSecOps practice.

Authors of the recently released Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2021 identify the key metrics of a successful DevOps organization. They describe an elite-performing organization as one that:

  • Deploys code on demand (multiple times per day)

  • Moves code from commit to deployment in less than one hour

  • Restores faulty applications in less than one hour 

  • Has less than 15 percent of production changes leading to degraded service

While these look like ambitious targets, the chart below shows that the last three years have seen a tremendous increase in the number of high-performing DevOps teams, with two-thirds of organizations being identified as high-performing or elite-performing.

Credit: Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2021, Google Cloud

VMware Tanzu Advanced enables organizations like yours to become an elite DevOps organization. Its latest updates make it easier for teams to operate more effectively across clouds and deploy more secure code to production. 

Let’s break down how the components that make up Tanzu Advanced are making improvements for everyone in the DevSecOps process, starting with the operations team.

Solve problems faster in production

The State of DevOps report cites that elite performers who successfully meet their reliability targets are 4.1 times more likely to have solutions that incorporate observability into overall system health. VMware Tanzu Observability delivers enterprise-grade full-stack observability and analytics, giving operators insight into the health and performance of microservices application workloads and Kubernetes clusters across multi-clouds and hybrid clouds. 

It now offers more cost-effective ways to troubleshoot microservice performance by intelligently sampling data and finding errors and retaining only pertinent information using RED metrics, a subset of the Google Golden Signals. Users can also create policies and choose specific spans (by service, API, tags, HTTP status, and more) to dive deeper and can choose to retain more information than the default from intelligent sampling. 

To make collecting trace data even easier, we extended the “contrib” OpenTelemetry collector by adding a Tanzu Observability exporter so you can easily integrate your current OpenTelemetry setup. Users will need to use the OpenTelemetry collector as an intermediate data aggregator that receives telemetry data from your service and then enables the exporter to send trace data to Tanzu Observability via the Wavefront proxy (shown in the video below).

Here’s a short video that shows how to configure the Tanzu Observability exporter to send trace data to Tanzu Observability:

Ensuring application performance is not just about collecting environment data; it requires a system that can filter out noise and alert users of potential issues. At VMworld, we also announced the beta release of our artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capability, Automated Probable Root Cause, which will be available for customers using distributed tracing. Our proprietary algorithm will automatically analyze trace data and determine potential root causes of service and operational performance issues. 

As a result, users are provided a ranked list of root cause candidates to shorten the time spent troubleshooting, improving the Mean Time to Repair (MTTR). As discussed in the Accelerate State of DevOps report, elite-performing organizations can restore faulty applications in less than one hour, which requires looking across hundreds of variables and quickly diagnosing issues. Learn more about recent alerting upgrades to Tanzu Observability.

Finally, users can now view and alert on vRealize Operations Cloud SDDC metrics in Tanzu Observability. This means you can now get environment information for team members who are not vRealize Operations Cloud users but who are using Tanzu Observability. This is the first of many planned integrations planned, so stay tuned for more!

You can learn more about these new features in the blog and the update from VMworld 2021.

Operate Kubernetes across clouds more effectively

VMware Tanzu Mission Control simplifies operations and security for Kubernetes infrastructure and modern applications across multiple teams and clouds. It now supports lifecycle management of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid clusters on native Azure Cloud. Customers who deploy Tanzu Kubernetes Grid clusters on Azure Cloud are able to centrally manage the entire lifecycle of the clusters through the Tanzu Mission Control UI, API, and CLI.

Tanzu Mission Control also received a few key updates:

  • Expanding the data protection feature to support more storage options, allowing customers to bring their own self-provisioned AWS S3 bucket or S3-compatible on-premises storage locations, as well as restoring a namespace or resources into a different namespace than where they were backed up originally.

  • Enhancing policy management by adding storage and object limits in quota policies. The policy insights page can now show alerts when resource requests approach or meet quota policy limits.

  • Storing proxy connection information for clusters and performing operations behind a proxy, such as attaching a cluster, registering a TKG management cluster, provisioning a cluster, and more.

  • Centrally manage and make credentials available to enable best-practice use of service account credentials rather than personal API tokens when adding the integration to a cluster.

We also recently announced at VMworld a free version of Tanzu Mission Control, Tanzu Mission Control Starter, which will enable you to try out the power of a multi-cloud Kubernetes management plane. Interested? Sign up here to stay updated on features and general availability.

Manage on-premises databases with cloud native ease

Modern applications rely on legacy databases that are anything but agile. VMware Tanzu SQL now includes data management capabilities that enable a database-as-a-service experience in vSphere data centers. It offers a convenient user interface (and an API) that simplifies the operation, automation, and scalability of Tanzu SQL databases (Postgres and MySQL). 

Operators can quickly spin up Postgres and MySQL database instances. Then they can automatically maintain them, including patching, updates, read replicas, template management, and failover. 

Check out the data management post to learn more about efficiently running managed database services across your organization.

Use a mature runtime platform with cloud-based GPU support

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is a multi-cloud Kubernetes footprint that you can run both on-premises in vSphere and in the public cloud on Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. It provides users with a full Kubernetes runtime platform for most mission-critical apps using leading open source technologies.

With the latest update, extensions and add-ons have now been migrated to the Carvel packaging format and APIs, enabling several improvements to the user experience. Carvel makes it easier to manage components, such as in-cluster extensions with composable tools that aid with configuration and deployment. User-managed packages (including Contour, External DNS, FluentBit, Harbor, Multus, Prometheus, and Grafana) can be installed and updated from the Tanzu package repository. This means that customers can use CLI plugins to install, upgrade, and update packages instead of downloading a tar file with the packages and installing via kubectl.

At VMworld, we also announced Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service support for GPUs on AWS, Azure, and vSphere with Tanzu, allowing customers to integrate AI into their containerized workloads. This allows enterprises to avoid AI silos and simplify management by leveraging virtualization to fold AI deployments into existing enterprise infrastructure, accelerating AI adoption in the enterprise.

Deploy and manage serverless workloads with ease

Cloud Native Runtimes for Tanzu, which became generally available in July, enables developers to leverage Kubernetes for serverless use cases without needing to master the Kubernetes API. It is based on the open source Knative project designed to quickly get modern cloud native applications with event-based architectures up and running on Kubernetes, regardless of a developer’s level of experience with the platform.

We have also added a new integration between Cloud Native Runtimes and Triggermesh, a Technology Alliance Partner. The TriggerMesh integration platform connects different types of applications with each other, regardless of infrastructure, leveraging the industry-standard CNCF CloudEvents spec. This partnership will allow users to easily create event-driven applications on Kubernetes and integrate them with external and legacy apps and services.

Keep your containers secure and up to date

VMware Tanzu Build Service allows you to automate container builds and maintenance while easing source-to-container workflows across any development framework. The two primary dependencies for Tanzu Build Service are buildpacks and OS stack images, which the Tanzu engineering team continuously updates on the VMware Tanzu Network. Beginning with the 1.2 release, the Build Service can monitor for newer versions of these dependencies and update itself. This is great news, as DevOps teams can automatically get the latest and most secure dependencies. 

Tanzu Build Service v1.3 has also added new functionality and support for popular ecosystems:

  • Microsoft Azure DevOps – The latest update now fits into the Azure DevOps CI/CD pipeline, and users can access features such as automated container creation and governance straight out of the box. 

  • Python applications – We have added support for Python buildpacks so users can build their apps using PIP, Pipenv, and the Miniconda package manager.

  • RedHat Universal Build Images (UBI) – Customers can now seamlessly integrate or migrate over to Tanzu Build Service without worrying about their existing investments in UBI base OS images. This offers a frictionless migration to Tanzu Build Service from any Dockerfile-based container build system or Red Hat OpenShift source-to-image.

It’s important to not only secure your custom code but also any application building blocks. VMware Application Catalog is a customizable selection of verified, pre-packaged open source application components that are continuously maintained and tested for use in production environments. VMware Application Catalog will soon support virtual machine images, in addition to container images and helm charts supported today. To reflect its wider capability and audience reach, the product has been renamed to VMware Application Catalog. The team also recently added a host of new supported applications, including Sealed Secrets, Apache Geode, Grafana, and more! Check out the latest release notes and application changelog

Unlock developer productivity (preview) 

We’ll be upleveling the developer experience in Tanzu Advanced soon with VMware Tanzu Application Platform, which has a beta available now. It enables application teams to get to production faster, deploying cloud native applications on any compliant Kubernetes clusters. For example, Tanzu Application Platform provides an automated, secure software supply chain workflow that simplifies the developer experience by removing YAML toil and error. 

As part of Tanzu Advanced, Tanzu Application Platform will bring all the foundational components pre-configured for application teams to build and deploy software quickly and securely, regardless of their familiarity with Kubernetes. It is also a composable platform, so teams can customize it based on their organization’s preferences and changing business needs. 

Tanzu Advanced enables developers to bring code to production faster than ever and helps operations teams resolve issues quickly when they arise. For a better look, check out our Meet the Experts session at VMworld 2021 as we see “A Day in the Life of Cody the Developer and Alana the Operator.”

About the Author

Munjal is a product marketing manager on the VMware Tanzu team, covering VMware’s portfolio of Kubernetes-related products and services. Prior to this, Munjal was a product marketer for cloud-based HR applications, VMware’s cloud management solutions, and also held various sales and business development roles at VMware.

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