VMware Tanzu Application Service 2.10 Adds New CLI, Eases Upgrades with More Flexible Control Plane

August 3, 2020 Jared Ruckle

VMware Tanzu Application Service 2.10 is now generally available (GA) on the Tanzu Network.

As SpringOne approaches, it’s only fitting to have a new Tanzu Application Service release to talk about. Spring and Tanzu Application Service is the dynamic duo that drives superior business outcomes for enterprises around the world. TD Ameritrade, State Farm, T-Mobile, Fiserv, AirFrance/KLM, GM, and Ford are just some of the companies scheduled to detail how Spring and Tanzu Application Service work together to deliver stability and scale for a large application portfolio. In this post, we’ll examine the new release through that lens.

Here’s what’s new in Tanzu Application Service 2.10 for Spring developers:

  • A command-line interface (CLI) that makes advanced deployment patterns far simpler

  • Autoscaling capabilities that improve app performance

  • A bevy of enhancements to Spring Cloud Gateway, a developer-friendly way to route API requests

What about for the platform teams that support developers? There’s a lot for them to like here, too, including:

  • A new Operations Manager release that supports multiple versions of the Tanzu Applications Service runtime, simplifying platform upgrades

  • Easier cert rotation, and new APIs that power users can use to update manifest configurations

  • A zippier web UI for Concourse for VMware Tanzu, which now removes performance bottlenecks for large-scale deployments

We’ve recapped the release highlights below. (Yes, there’s lots of good stuff for .NET and Windows teams, too.) Just for fun, we’ve suggested a relevant SpringOne breakout session for each feature as well. (Register for SpringOne today—it’s all online, and all free!)

Features your application developers will love:

Features your platform teams will love:

Features your application developers will love

Here’s a rundown of the new features aimed at application developers.

The new cf CLI v7 simplifies modern deployment workflows for Tanzu Application Service

A good CLI makes basic tasks simpler. A great one makes advanced tasks simpler, too. That’s the goal of the new cf CLI v7. In particular, the new CLI goes much further to help development teams tackle five advanced scenarios:

  1. Rolling app deployments. Push updates to apps without incurring downtime.

  2. Running cf push sub-step commands. Exercise granular control over the cf push process.

  3. Pushing an app with multiple processes. Use a single command to push apps that run multiple processes.

  4. Pushing apps with sidecar processes. Run additional processes in the same container as your app. (More on the sidecar pattern later.)

  5. Using metadata. Add metadata to objects such as spaces and apps, which can help with operating, monitoring, and auditing.

Download the new version here, and read the upgrade guide.

To get the most from the cf CLI v7, use it with Tanzu Application Service 2.10. (You can use the new CLI with older versions of the product, too, but you won’t have access to all the new capabilities.)

Read more about these features in this excellent deep-dive post on CloudFoundry.org. You can also peruse write-ups from TechCrunch, DevOps.com, and ZDNet.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Fundamental Spring Boot: Keep it Simple, Get it Right, Be Productive and Have Fun!” Spring Boot offers amazing productivity right out of the box. Wei Li from Liberty Mutual shows you how to get even more from Boot in this lively breakout.

App Autoscaler ups its scaling capabilities

What happens when users flock to your app? How do you handle the spike in traffic? If you use Tanzu Application Service, you easily scale apps in response to demand with App Autoscaler.

This module gets three new capabilities in Tanzu Application Service 2.10:

  1. It enables apps to be up to 20x more responsive. We’ve improved the accuracy of how we measure traffic to your apps. With this improved precision, App Autoscaler can more accurately scale up to meet the demands of your users. In our testing, we’ve seen apps become 20 times more responsive compared to prior versions! (Of course, your actual improvement will depend on a number of factors.)

  2. It  can connect to backing databases using TLS. This encrypts traffic in flight, improving your security posture.

  3. It features an improved UX for scheduling recurring scaling events. Sometimes you know you’re going to have higher-than-normal traffic. Now you can more easily prepare for these events; the executes_at command now supports dates in the past as well as in the future.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Delivering Essentials for Albertsons: VMware TAS’s Critical Role During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” I love real-world stories in which companies tackle the unpredictable. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, this talk on how Albbertsons handled stratospheric online traffic promises to be stellar.

Spring Cloud Gateway for VMware Tanzu, the cloud native gateway developers love, gets even better

What’s the big idea behind Spring Cloud Gateway? Developers should be able to “instantly change API routing rules with code (and say goodbye to ticket-based change requests).” Many of you have picked up on this, and started to use Spring Cloud Gateway in precisely this way. We’ve recently implemented many of your ideas as to how we can make Spring Cloud Gateway even better. Here are five of our favorite additions:

  1. Enhanced access controls. Govern access to your services with Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) configuration options. Only allow requests that originate from locations you define!

  2. Deeper integration with Tanzu Application Service. Spring Cloud Gateway service instances now integrate with App Security Groups and isolation segments.

  3. Encryption for data in transit. Client certificate validation support for mTLS authorization to API routes.

  4. More automation for service instance upgrades. We’ve added an errand that can be enabled to upgrade all service instances when applying changes.

  5. Access to Spring Cloud Gateway logs in a familiar way. Developers can view Gateway service instance logs via the cf service-logs CLI plugin.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: This one is easy. Don’t miss “Introducing Spring Cloud Gateway and API Hub for VMware Tanzu.”

Bring your sidecar processes to Tanzu Application Service 

User-provided sidecars are GA in Tanzu Application Service 2.10 for all supported languages and buildpacks. The sidecar pattern is a nifty way to handle a wide range of tricky software development scenarios.

New to sidecars? Brian McClain, a senior product marketing manager at VMware, explains what they are all about:

Much like a motorcycle sidecar, in our context a sidecar is an additional process that is attached to our main application. It is run, managed, and scaled alongside the main process...In a sidecar, the logic that may be common between all applications is moved outside of the codebase. This removes the need to potentially reimplement the same features multiple times for apps in different languages. For example, a sidecar could be:

  1. A reverse proxy to shape network traffic

  2. An abstraction layer between your application and a target API

  3. A process that offloads common monitoring tasks (logging, metrics, etc.)

Since a sidecar runs as an entirely different process from the main application, there is no requirement that the sidecar is written in the same language, uses the same runtime, or requires the same dependencies. The level of separation means that sidecars are reusable no matter which stacks they support.

There’s a good chance you’re already using this pattern in several of your apps today. Now you can move them to Tanzu Application Service with confidence, knowing that the API is GA and fully supported. (Sidecars are part of the cf CLI v7, too.)

​Read up on sidecars with these useful links, then push your first sidecar processes to Tanzu Application Service!

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Cloud Native Service Mesh Using Spring Cloud and Pivotal Cloud Foundry Technologies - A Case Study.” If you’re into sidecars, you’re probably into other cutting-edge architectures. General Motors explains how it combined the service mesh pattern with Tanzu Application Service (formerly Pivotal Cloud Foundry) to improve speed, boost security, and realize cost savings.

Got 32-bit .NET apps? Run them on Tanzu Application Service with the new HWC buildpack

NET Framework developers know and love the Hosted Web Core (HWC) buildpack. It automatically detects .NET Framework dependencies, adds them to your source code, and proceeds to assemble and stage your app container.

Many development teams have long relied on the HWC buildpack for 64-bit .NET Framework apps. Now it supports 32-bit .NET Framework apps as well! You can cf push your heritage .NET apps to Tanzu Application Service with zero code changes!

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Enabling Cloud Native Buildpacks for Windows Containers.” It’s a must-attend for .NET developers!

Scheduler 1.2.33, cron for tasks, now deploys much faster 

Every developer has routine tasks that they need to do regularly. Batch jobs, notifications, and data uploads are just a few examples. Automate these tasks with Scheduler!

Use Scheduler to define and schedule tasks as a job to automate recurring processes as part of an application’s behavior. Once defined, jobs can either be run ad hoc or scheduled to run at a desired interval.

Scheduler 1.2.33 deploys significantly faster than previous versions. You can also use the API to set memory and disk limits for tasks. We’ve added TLS encryption for data sent between Scheduler and MySQL for VMware Tanzu service as well.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Unleash the True Power of Spring Cloud: Learn How to Customize Spring Cloud.” If you’re into automation and care about developer productivity, you’ll like this session. Spring Cloud can do so much grunt work on your behalf. 

Features your platform teams will love

Here’s a rundown of the new features aimed at platform teams.

Operations Manager 2.10 supports multiple Tanzu Application Service versions

Operations Manager, the control plane for your deployment, now supports multiple versions of the Tanzu Application Service runtime. Operations Manager 2.10 supports Tanzu Application Service 2.7.x and higher.

This is an important change for two reasons:

  • Easier upgrades. You can more easily take advantage of the latest Tanzu Application Service features, since you only have to bump the version of Tanzu Application Service you’re running. (Historically, platform teams have upgraded Tanzu Application Service and Operations Manager at the same time.)

  • The ability to stay on a mature, capable version of Operations Manager for an extended period. Make the move to Operations Manager 2.10 and stay there for the near future, at least 12-18 months. Of course, we will continue to patch this version as needed. (Make sure to check out the full list of enhancements in the release. It’s easy to see that Operations Manager 2.10 is built for the long haul!)

Work with your account team on the right upgrade approach for you, and get ready to make the move to Operations Manager 2.10!

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “‘Sh*^%# on Fire, Yo!’: A True Story Inspired by Real Events.” The best session title of the conference! Join the pros from T-Mobile for some real talk around delivering operational excellence at remarkable scale.

Operations Manager 2.10 eases cert rotation, adds new APIs for power users

Given that Operations Manager 2.10 will be your control plane for a while, we wanted to address three common enhancement requests.

Improved ease of certificate rotation. Safety checks in Operations Manager API endpoints now act as guardrails to simplify cert rotation.

Access to certificate lists in the UI. A new page displays all your certificates from the Operations Manager dashboard. So useful!

View all your certificates in the Operations Manager dashboard.

Advanced manifest configuration updates. Use new API endpoints to override BOSH manifest properties. This feature is designed for power users with deep expertise in BOSH. You can use these APIs to perform two actions. First, you can override the properties that appear in the instance groups and networks sections of the BOSH Director manifest. Second, you can override the runtime config properties for BOSH DNS and system metrics.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Driving TAS Enterprise Fitness.” Here, Ford’s platform team reveals its best practices for keeping Tanzu Application Service running in top condition.

Concourse for VMware Tanzu v6.3.0 adds a new scheduling algorithm, boosts speed for large deployments

Concourse is a critical tool for platform teams running Tanzu Application Service. Much of the feedback we’ve received from users boils down to: Make it work faster and better at scale. That’s a concise summary of what’s new in Concourse for VMware Tanzu v6.3.0!

Here are three things to know about the new release:

  1. A  new scheduling algorithm that’s dramatically more efficient. In our tests, CPU utilization dropped from nearly 100 percent to around 65 percent. The new algorithm achieves these savings by only selecting the relevant job input versions instead of all of them. This update should allow you to scale even bigger with more consistency, shorter wait times, and less overall usage.

  2. Improved web UI performance. If you’re running a massive Concourse deployment (e.g., processing more than 10,000 jobs), the web UI may be a bit sluggish. We’ve improved the user experience in Concourse 6.3, so you should notice faster page loads and a more pleasant UX overall.

  3. Tracing via OpenTelemetry. This is a neat capability for advanced debugging workflows and pipeline optimization. You can record traces that capture the steps that a build goes through and send them to Jaeger, Stackdriver, or another trace collector.

Want a complete rundown of what’s new? Dig into our Concourse 6.3 release blog post.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “Operational Transformation: Teachers’ Journey from App Servers to VMware Tanzu.” A classic modernization story from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. If you think you can’t change your status quo, attend this talk and learn how it’s done!

Consistent, human-readable timestamp format for component logs

Logs, metrics, and events are the lifeblood of operations. You need to be able to easily parse telemetry for the entire stack in order to make sense of any issues or anomalies.

We’ve made one part of the troubleshooting process easier in Tanzu Application Service 2.10. The new timestamp format follows the RFC3339 spec, is in UTC, and includes nine points of precision wherever possible. When enabled, the logs from the following components will be in a new format: Diego, Garden, MySQL monitoring, PXC, routing, and Silk.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “A Leader’s Guide to DevOps Practices and Culture.” This session from Tiffany Jachja at Harness promises to be a great explainer for folks new to the world of DevOps, and a good reminder for seasoned practitioners.

Stembuild, now GA, turns base Windows images into stemcells

Want to run Windows apps on vSphere with Tanzu Application Service? You’re going to need to build a custom Windows stemcell. Stembuild makes this task trivial; it’s a CLI tool that can easily turn a base Windows image into a stemcell.

The VMware product team published a useful video on Stembuild, including a demo. A must-watch for platform teams running Windows!

Now that Stembuild is GA, we have deprecated the manual Windows stemcell creation process.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “The Brilliant Practice of Balanced Platform Teams.” What makes for an effective platform team? Four seasoned practitioners from VMware share their stories from working with external organizations.

Across-the-board enhancements to handy compliance add-ons

Passing compliance checks and company audits is part of software development. The automation that powers Tanzu Application Service solves many of these requirements, but not all of them. 

Sometimes you need extra add-ons to address certain scenarios. To that end, VMware publishes a collection of four compliance modules. Each of these tiles has received a noteworthy set of recent enhancements. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  1. ​Compliance Scanner delivers an assessment of each Linux VM running on Xenial stemcells. It benchmarks the VM against specified configuration guidelines. Version 1.2.32 improves scanning times and updates the STIG/CIS benchmarks.

  2. ​File Integrity Monitoring sends you logs of file and directory modifications in selected “paths” of VMs managed by Operations Manager. Version 2.1.3 includes improved logging and processing of lower-severity activities. As a result, operators will no longer be alerted to routine actions unlikely to pose a legitimate risk.

  3. ​IPsec encrypts IP data flow throughout the components in Tanzu Application Service. Version 1.9.25 bumps the packaged strongSwan version to 5.8.4. It also helps prevent disruption from expired certs with a new alerting capability.

VMware also offers ​Anti-Virus, a useful module if your compliance auditor requires antivirus protection within your Ops Manager environment.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: “As an Attacker, I Want Your Data: Anticipating Security Threats.” So much of today’s IT security is reactive. This simply isn’t good enough. In this talk, you’ll learn how to be proactive and stay one step ahead of bad actors.

Tanzu Data Services: a new bundle of modern backing services for your modern apps

One of the perks of microservices is that every team can use their preferred backing service. That means you’ll likely need a cache, a messaging queue, and a rock-solid SQL service.

Tanzu Data Services conveniently bundles all three services into one package that’s easy to buy, and even easier to bring to your platform deployment. All three services are based on familiar open source projects:

Each data service solves a unique challenge developers face. Need lightning-fast page loads? Add Tanzu GemFire to speed up those sluggish queries. Trying to wire up components of your distributed system? Tanzu RabbitMQ is a fantastic choice. Want to enable self-service access to MySQL instances for your developers? Tanzu SQL fits the bill.

One quick note: Tanzu Data Services complements Tanzu Application Service, and is entitled separately.

SpringOne breakout recommendation: This talk,  “Running Persistent Data in a Multi-Cloud Architecture,” cuts right to the chase, as that’s your operational objective for backing services.

Take the Next Step: Upgrade to Tanzu Application Service 2.10

Review the documentation below and get the new version of the app platform running in your sandbox environment. Then plan your upgrade so you can take advantage of all these new capabilities! You’ll also want to sign up for the release overview webinar, scheduled to run August 25, to learn more.

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

Jared Ruckle

Jared works in product marketing at VMware.

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