Pivotal Partners with VMware, Google on Kubernetes

The latest provider of managed implementation of Kubernetes clusters for deploying container applications is also a provider of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment based on software developed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Announced at the VMworld 2017 conference today was the Pivotal Container Service (PCS) from Pivotal Software. PCS is based on a distribution of Kubernetes that includes support for both Kubos, an implementation of BOSH software developed by CFF that makes it easier to manage clusters optimized for Kubernetes, and a variety of offerings from Pivotal sister company VMware, including VMware NSX network virtualization software and, in the future, vRealize IT automation software.

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At the same time, Pivotal announced that PCS will be integrated with a variety of Kubernetes-based Google public cloud services and that both Pivotal and VMware have joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which oversees the development of Kubernetes.

Designed to be deployed on-premises or in a public cloud, PCS is being positioned as a complementary service to the distribution of the Cloud Foundry PaaS that Pivotal currently provides. James Watters, senior vice president of products for Pivotal, says there are many application workloads that don’t lend themselves to being deployed on a PaaS. That requirement is creating an opportunity to provide a containers as a service (CaaS) to service those workloads alongside an existing PaaS environment optimized for building applications in Java.

Because of the different use cases being served, it doesn’t make sense to combine Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry into a single platform, Watters says. Developers working in a Kubernetes environment want to be able to access application programming interfaces directly, and they don’t want to wait for updates from a vendor that has delivered an abstraction in the form of a PaaS on top of Kubernetes.

Sam Ramji, vice president of product management for developer platforms at Google, says the time has come to put an end to the war between PaaS and CaaS in favor of promoting more harmony. Both platforms will be required to host a variety of classes of application workloads. The best thing about Kubernetes, he says, is that it fosters the rise of hybrid cloud computing environments spanning implementations of Kubernetes running on-premises and in a public cloud, including the ability to move and clone containers between PCS and the Google public cloud. As part of that effort, Ramji says the TensorFlow machine-learning software pioneered by Google also soon will be deployed on Kubernetes.

One of the first IT infrastructure vendors to make PCS available is Pivotal sister company Dell EMC. Chad Sakac, president of the Dell EMC Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, says that while Dell EMC will support any container platform deployed on top of VMware, the company will lead with PCS for running containerize applications. Kubernetes, for all intents and purposes, has become the dominant container orchestration engine, says Sakac.

Competition across the Kubernetes space is already fierce despite the limited use of the platform in production environments. That level of competition would suggest that IT vendors have already come to the conclusion that Kubernetes is about to become the Next Big Thing in enterprise IT.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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