UPDATED 11:00 EDT / FEBRUARY 26 2019


VMware launches Essential PKS for modular software container deployments

VMware Inc. today launched a new, stripped-down version of its Pivotal Container Service or PKS, which is used by companies to easily create software containers running on virtual machines.

The new version, called VMware Essential PKS, is designed for companies that want to take a more modular approach to deploying software containers.

The original VMware PKS service, launched last year, is essentially a commercial version of the open-source Kubo project that was developed by Google and Pivotal in 2017, enabling developers to run Kubernetes inside VMs at large scale in production scenarios. One of the main advantages of PKS is that it enables users to create containers quickly and easily instead of having to provision physical servers for them in a data center. Another key benefit for VMware customers is that it allows them to run containerized applications on-premises.

Companies use software containers to deploy services because they provide myriad operational benefits, including the ability to move computing workloads and applications among on-premises computers and the cloud without having to rewrite the software for each environment. Kubernetes is the most popular tool used to manage those containers, so it makes sense to combine the two within any managed offering.

VMware Enterprise PKS is the full version of the company’s container service, integrated with validated components that provide enterprise-grade security, compliance and consistency. Those components include VMware’s NSX-T for networking and VMware Harbor for registry, which make it simpler to deploy and operate.

The new VMware Essential PKS service does away with those integrated components for customers that want more of a “bare bones” infrastructure that can be customized more easily, Paul Fazzone, VMware’s general manager of cloud-native apps, explained in a blog post.

In an interview with SiliconANGLE, Scott Buchanan, VMware’s senior director of product marketing for cloud-native apps, explained that Essential PKS is designed for customers that have the internal expertise necessary to customize their Kubernetes deployments.

“Kubernetes is just one element of a container management platform,” Buchanan said. “A customer will need to select, integrate and deploy other components in concert with Kubernetes, including networking, monitoring and more.”

Essential PKS was developed using technology VMware acquired when it bought Heptio Inc. last November. Heptio was an infrastructure automation company that specialized in helping companies set up and maintain large-scale container environments powered by Kubernetes. It also developed a collection of open-source tools to complement the orchestration software, including a container-optimized load balancer called Gimbal, and Sonobuoy, a diagnostics tool for monitoring deployments.

Heptio’s technology helped VMware to strip down PKS to its bare essentials, Buchanan said.

“VMware Essential PKS captures Heptio’s approach to the cloud native market, helping customers build on upstream Kubernetes,” he said. “It includes best use of several open-source technologies that came across in the acquisition and are now being led by VMware, such as Contour, Sonobuoy and Velero.”

PKS Essential should be an important release for VMware as it bids to move toward how enterprises want to execute modern compute loads, Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc., told SiliconANGLE.

“CxOs want to see good integration with the existing tooling and admin provided by VMware,” Mueller said. “They also want to see more recommendations on which loads to deploy on what infrastructure, and what for.”

Photo: MichaelGaida/Pixabay

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