VMware Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes: The Cloud Foundry API Meets Cutting-Edge Infrastructure

May 3, 2020 Jared Ruckle

VMware Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes is now available as a public beta*. The beta combines the best parts of Cloud FoundryKubernetesIstio, and other projects into a single, easy-to-install package. In fact, you can be up and running on your laptop in less than 10 minutes.

To download the bits, sign in with your VMware Tanzu account. (Don’t have one? Create one for free.) You can install the software on any Kubernetes environment: in your data center, on VMs in the public cloud, atop a managed K8s service, or in your local dev environment. As with any beta, we recommend the service for evaluation environments only. To learn more about the beta, sign-up for the webinar scheduled to run May 5.

We built this offering with the following three facts in mind:

  1. Cloud Foundry offers a leading developer experience. It’s proven at scale by some of the world’s largest enterprises; development teams use Cloud Foundry to release code to production multiple times a day. As such, our next-generation app platform must remain compatible with the CF developer API.
  2. Kubernetes is a platform for building platforms. Kubernetes is a fast-growing open-source project. And for good reason: Organizations can use it to drive more consistency and efficiency into their infrastructure at scale. That’s why we made it at the core of the revamped Tanzu Application Service.
  3. The open-source landscape requires curation for enterprise adoption. Looked at the CNCF landscape lately? There’s a lot of goodness there. Yet understanding every project in a meaningful way is nearly impossible. VMware sees an opportunity to artfully bring mature open-source projects into our commercial products, and to deliver useful innovation while minimizing risk.

Our approach to Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes is simple: Thoughtfully blend best-in-class APIs for each layer of the application stack, and make the service instantly deployable anywhere, and make it easy to run at scale.

Let’s dig into the beta and take a closer look at the baked-in capabilities.

Get ready to ‘cf push’ apps to Kubernetes

The top feature of the Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes beta is the iconic cf push command. Long-time Cloud Foundry users know this action performs many tasks on behalf of enterprise IT teams. After you cf push your code, the platform:

  • Uploads your code to the system
  • Detects and installs required runtime and middleware
  • Containerizes your app, packaged with dependencies
  • Sets up a route or URL
  • Creates a load balancing entry
  • Creates SSL termination
  • Creates health monitoring and logging subsystems
  • Starts your app in a healthy state, with the desired number of instances
  • Binds specified backing services

Here’s what the operation looks like once you’ve got the beta up and running:

The beta supports frameworks that run on Linux: Java, .NET Core, Node.js, Go, Python, and more. You can also push container images to the system. Use familiar CF commands to get app instance status, and to perform both scaling and restaging operations. (The documentation reviews the capabilities in more detail.)

Run the beta on your laptop, then your favorite Kubernetes service

Try the beta on your laptop. Then install it on VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, or give it a go atop your favorite Kubernetes service from the public cloud. 

We’re still fine-tuning the install experience on all these different distributions. Join the discussion at our community site, and let us know how we can make it better!

Now that you’ve got the beta installed, let’s take a closer look at the bits.

Consider the new application stack

Let’s take a look at the tech inside the beta, and the role of each component. We’ll start at the infrastructure layer, and work our way up the stack.

  • Kubernetes handles big jobs like infrastructure orchestration, the application runtime, and network automation.
  • User Account and Authentication from Cloud Foundry tackles identity management, enabling developers and operators with access to the appropriate parts of the platform. This module acts as an OAuth 2 provider, and supports popular enterprise identity tools for single sign-on.
  • Cloud Native Buildpacks build containers from source code, a concept pioneered by Heroku and the Cloud Foundry Buildpack community. (This model has evolved to be Kubernetes-native; projects like kpack power this new workflow.)
  • Harbor is the container registry.
  • Fluentd collects logs, metrics, and events from apps and the platform. From there, you can route telemetry data to your preferred APM tools.
  • The Cloud Foundry cli and Cloud Controller API sit atop these other components, and deliver the best-in-class developer experience.
  • Istio and Envoy power the routing tier, perform load balancing, and help secure communication between components.

All of these components have vibrant communities driving new capabilities at a rapid pace. Our aim is to bundle new innovations from the ecosystem into a single product so that you can focus on delivering great apps that make your business stand out and eave the rest to us!

There’s another practical benefit to the new tech stack: quick and simple deployment. VMware Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes is a lightweight install. That opens up intriguing possibilities for companies that want to run apps closer to end users, including at the edge.

Join us on the road ahead

The developer productivity embodied in cf push has long been destined to mesh with the popularity of Kubernetes and other infrastructure projects. The beta* release of Tanzu Application Service for Kubernetes is an important milestone, but there’s more work to be done. Now’s the time to download the bits and help shape the future of developer velocity on Kubernetes!

*Note that there is no commitment or obligation that beta features will become generally available.

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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