Managing Kubernetes – Part 3: Empowering our Customers to Build, Run and Manage Kubernetes at Scale

In the previous two blog posts, we talked about the current state of Kubernetes and about where we are heading. In this post we are going to look how to empower the people that need to manage the Kubernetes resources.

Ultimately, all infrastructure resources (whether compute, network, storage or additional infrastructure services) need to be managed. More and more customers are moving towards the operating model of cloud computing to manage and deliver these resources. Private, hybrid and public clouds provide both the location of these infrastructure resources and the mechanism to deliver them “as-a-service”.

With that in mind, Kubernetes is just another infrastructure resource that needs to be managed. It is a runtime environment that enables developers to run their applications, that run in a container, easily and at scale. Kubernetes is an application framework that provides the underlying infrastructure. It is another abstraction layer that simplifies the consumption of infrastructure resources.

The resources in the IT organisation that are responsible for infrastructure resources typically also become responsible for the delivery of Kubernetes environments as an additional infrastructure option for their consumers. They need to be able to accommodate the need for running application workloads in containers using Kubernetes.

There are, however, multiple ways to provide Kubernetes to the consumer:

 

  • Do-It-Yourself: The infrastructure and operations teams will have to build Kubernetes open-source version with manual or scripted tasks to get Kubernetes up and running.
  • Part of a platform solution: Kubernetes is delivered by an automated solution stack provided by vendors. This typically runs on top of (or is integrated with) Infrastructure-as-a-Service. A turn-key solution for delivering Kubernetes.
  • Kubernetes-As-a-Service: With the consumption of public cloud also came the delivery of various solutions as-a-service. Kubernetes is no different, with service providers and hyperscalers, such as AWS, Microsoft and Google, delivering Kubernetes-as-a-Service options.

 

From a Cloud Management perspective Kubernetes is just another thing that needs to be managed and delivered as a service to the consumer. From a private / hybrid cloud perspective, we need a cloud management platform that can handle Kubernetes workloads in the same way as virtual machines workloads.

Traditionally virtual machines were the building block for applications managed using Cloud Management solutions. With containers gaining popularity, and with that the rise of Kubernetes, integration with containers and Kubernetes has become one of the biggest asks from our customers.

Customers need the ability to provision, operate and manage Kubernetes workloads in the same way as virtual machines. And it is not only about standing up Kubernetes and deploying applications in containers on top of it. It’s also about governance, security and cost management. Customers need the same operational in control across every layer of the underlying infrastructure, including Kubernetes.

After all the Kubernetes stack is the sum of all parts. It is the responsibility of cloud operators, the providers of the underlying resources, to deliver and be in control.

Empowering IT to Build, Run and Manage Kubernetes

VMware has been working across its entire cloud portfolio to meet these customer needs. In addition to creating dedicated solutions for Kubernetes through the Tanzu product portfolio, VMware has also evolved its vRealize and CloudHealth management solutions to be able to address Kubernetes operational challenges.

Critical areas within the cloud management portfolio, such as cost, operations, cloud governance and automation, now include Kubernetes as a core integration. Consequently, Kubernetes environments simply become additional endpoints under management, extending visibility, governance and control across all cloud solutions.

As discussed in “Managing Kubernetes Part 2”, Kubernetes management depends on who within the IT organisation is managing the environments, and what perspective they have on the capabilities that need to be provided.

There are three main areas where VMware adds value to the infrastructure and application stack. All to empower cloud operators, applications owners, platform teams and developers.

 

  • Infrastructure Layer: VMware has evolved the vSphere platform with native Kubernetes integrations. This simplifies the life of administrators by having the Kubernetes core functionality out-of-the-box. Additionally, VMware has released a product to maintain consistent, compliant and conformant Kubernetes clusters: Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.
  • Cloud Management Layer: All resources need to be managed. That is where the cloud management stack provides control across those resource. VMware vRealize and CloudHealth product portfolio provide capabilities to manage Kubernetes from a cost, security, compliance perspective.
  • Application Operations Layer: Facilitating Kubernetes to consumers of the platform is a key functionality. VMware created Tanzu Mission Control for application operations teams to remain in control over Kubernetes clusters in the private, hybrid and public cloud. Next to that Tanzu Observability provides operational insight on an application, Kubernetes and infrastructure level. Providing visibility to Kubernetes operators and developers.

 

VMware is investing heavily in its software portfolio to build new, and extend existing, solutions for Kubernetes. Enabling our customers when it comes to building, running and managing Kubernetes at scale within their IT organisation whenever that is in the private, hybrid or public cloud.

 

Previous blog post in this serie :

Managing Kubernetes – Part 1: Where We Are Today

Managing Kubernetes – Part 2: Where Are We Going

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