VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated: A Year in Review

December 14, 2021 Cindy O'Brien

The modern application world is advancing at an unprecedented rate. However, the new possibilities these transformations make available don’t come without complexities. IT teams often find themselves under pressure to keep up with the speed of innovation. That’s why VMware provides a production-ready container platform for customers that aligns to upstream Kubernetes, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated (formerly known as VMware Enterprise PKS).  

By working with VMware, customers can move at the speed their businesses demand without the headache of trying to run their operations alone. Our offerings help customers stay current with the open source community's innovations while having access to the support they need to move forward confidently.

Many changes have been made to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated edition over the past year that are designed to help customers keep up with Kubernetes advancements, move faster, and enhance security.

Kubernetes updates

The latest version, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.13, bumped to Kubernetes version 1.22 and removed beta APIs in favor of stable APIs that have since evolved from the betas.  

Over time, some APIs will evolve. Beta APIs typically evolve more often than stable APIs and should therefore be checked before updates occur. The APIs listed below will not be served with v1.22 as they have been replaced by more stable API versions:

  • Beta versions of the ValidatingWebhookConfiguration and MutatingWebhookConfiguration API (the admissionregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)

  • The beta CustomResourceDefinition API (apiextensions.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • The beta APIService API (apiregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • The beta TokenReview API (authentication.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • Beta API versions of SubjectAccessReview, LocalSubjectAccessReview, SelfSubjectAccessReview (API versions from authorization.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • The beta CertificateSigningRequest API (certificates.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • The beta Lease API (coordination.k8s.io/v1beta1)

  • All beta Ingress APIs (the extensions/v1beta1 and networking.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)

Containerd support 

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated helps customers eliminate lengthy deployment and management processes with on-demand provisioning, scaling, patching, and updating of Kubernetes clusters.

To stay in alignment with the Kubernetes community, Containerd will be used as the default container runtime, although Docker can still be selected using the command-line interface (CLI) if needed.


Several updates have been made in regards to networking as well including support of Antrea and NSX-T enhancements. 

Antrea support

With Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated version 1.10 and later, customers can leverage Antrea on install or upgrade to use Kubernetes network policies. This enables enterprises to get the best of both worlds: access to the latest innovation from Antrea and world-class support from VMware.  

NSX-T enhancements

NSX-T was integrated with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated to simplify container networking and increase security. This has been enhanced so customers can now choose the policy API as an option on a fresh installation of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated. This means that users will have access to new features available only through NSX-T policy API. This feature is currently in beta.

In addition, more NSX-T and NSX Container Plug-in (NCP) configuration is possible through the network profiles. This operator command provides the benefit of being able to set configurations through the CLI, and this is persistent across lifecycle events.  

Storage enhancements

We’ve made storage operations in our customers’ container native environments easier, too. Customers were seeking a simpler and more secure way to manage Container Storage Interface (CSI), and we introduced automatic installation of the vSphere CSI driver as a BOSH process beginning with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.11. 

Also, as VCP will be deprecated, customers are advised to use the CSI driver. VCP-to-CSI migration is a part of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12 and is designed to help customers move forward faster. 

Enhanced security

Implementing new technologies provides users with new capabilities, but it can also lead to new security vulnerabilities if not done correctly. VMware’s goal is to help customers move forward with ease and the confidence of knowing that enhancements don’t compromise core security needs.

CIS benchmarks

This year, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated continued to see improvements that help meet today’s high security standards. Meeting the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks standards is vital for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated.

In recent Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated releases, a few Kubernetes-related settings have been adjusted to ensure compliance with CIS requirements:

  • Kube-apiserver with --kubelet-certificate-authority settings (v1.12)

  • Kube-apiserver with --authorization-mode argument includes Node (v1.12)

  • Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxage argument (v1.13)

  • Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxbackup argument (v1.13)

  • Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxsize argument (v1.13)

Certificate rotations 

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated secures all communication between its control plane components and the Kubernetes clusters it manages, using TLS validated by certificates. The certificate rotations have been simplified in recent releases. Customers can now list and simply update certificates on a cluster-by-cluster basis through the “tkgi rotate-certificates” command. The multistep, manual process was replaced with a single CLI command to rotate NSX-T certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.10) and cluster-by-cluster certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12).

Hardening of images

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated keeps OS images, container base images, and software library versions updated to remediate the CVEs reported by customers and in the industry. It also continues to use the latest Ubuntu Xenial Stemcell latest versions for node virtual machines. With recent releases and patch versions, the version of dockerd, containerd, runc, telegraf, nfs-utils had been bumped to the latest stable and secure versions as well.

By using Harbor as a private registry management service, customers could also leverage the built-in vulnerability scan features to discover the application images CVEs.

VMware is dedicated to supporting customers with production readiness by enhancing the user experience. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition has stayed up to date with the Kubernetes community and provides customers with the support and resources they need to innovate rapidly. 

You can learn more about how to get the most of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated by visiting the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid product page or checking out the VMware Cloud Native Apps YouTube channel.

About the Author

Cindy O'Brien

Cindy O’Brien is a senior product marketing manager on the VMware Tanzu team, supporting Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated version. She has a degree in international business and economics as well as marketing. She’s passionate about community building, self-development, and traveling.

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