This week, VMware Cloud Formation 4.0, Tanzu, and vSphere 7 were thrust into the limelight with their release. Tanzu is a big deal as we discussed in our piece: VMware Tanzu Grasps for Next-gen Relevance. Along with the new features one would normally expect with new vSphere versions, such as improved vSAN performance, this update is different. VMware is embracing Kubernetes container infrastructure as a first-class citizen. For the enterprise market, the company is essentially saying to build on Kubernetes and VMware will help you managed in your data center or in whatever cloud you choose.
While there are other parts of this release, let us be clear, Tanzu is the big one. It is a bit strange seeing Pat Gelsinger talk about Tanzu as the Swahili name for the woody part of the tree that usually splits off into branches. It feels a bit like the mid-to-late 1990s after the Lion King was released and there were a bunch of guys in the US who had never left their home towns yet were passionate about Swahili. I digress, maybe those are now the IT buyers VMware is targeting. Tanzu is VMware’s Kubernetes platform. Essentially, if you are an enterprise and want to build atop containers, and you do not want to go into the world of roll-your-own open source, VMware will help you run and manage your Kubernetes ecosystem.
If you are a STH reader and want to get into Tanzu, your VMware rep will be reaching out and there are VMUG sessions that will get more into the details. We are going to talk high-level here. Tanzu has different components that will allow you to manage the lifecycle of containers across different environments.
VMware is taking a page from the Docker Hub playbook and has an application catalog. The company will manage a set of container images that organizations can use to build their applications and components off. If you are seeing this as an early iteration of a Kubernetes app store for enterprise, that is essentially what it is with the ability to build and publish atop of it.
With VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and Mission Control, VMware can help organizations deploy and manage Kubernetes container operations across not just their private VMware clusters, but also using public cloud services.
Underpinning this launch is also VMware vSphere 7 and Cloud Foundation 4. vSphere 7 will bring containers running on VMware ESXi hosts as first-class citizens. There are other changes with vSphere 7 such as improved GPU support for AI and ML.
As part of the Tanzu initiative, VMware Cloud Foundation 4 brings even more functionality such as new performance gains in vSAN 7. NSX-T, VMware’s SDN play is an important component to managing these container operations across the different infrastructure in its service mesh.
Initially, vSphere 7 with Kubernetes will be available solely through VMware Cloud Foundation so this is a big deal if you want to run containers.
Now that VMware and Dell are tightly aligned, Dell also is putting out a wide range of solutions. Perhaps the most impactful will be the subscription pricing model it is offering the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform starting at $70/ node per day. It is also offering the new Tanzu platform with its hardware using its Dell Technologies On-Demand Consumption Model. Other vendors are following suit as well.
VMware desperately needed a Kubernetes story as it was quickly losing relevance beyond its existing zealous customer base. This launch is the first step towards that and the goal of keeping large enterprises on the VMware platform. As the world was moving to containers, VMware had a significant risk to its business but Tanzu seems to be a solid approach for helping the company’s customers live in a hybrid VM and container world.