vSphere 7 Cloud Infrastructure for Modern Applications Part 2:
VMware Cloud Foundation 4
VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 4 delivers vSphere with Kubernetes at cloud scale, bringing together developers and IT operations by providing a full stack Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) for Virtual Machines (VMs) and containers. By utilising software-defined infrastructure for compute, storage, network, and management IT operations can provide agility, flexibility, and security for modern applications. The automated provisioning and maintenance of Kubernetes clusters through vCenter Server means that developers can rapidly deploy new applications or micro-services with cloud agility, scale, and simplicity, while IT operations continue supporting the modern application framework by leveraging existing vSphere functionality and tooling.
VMware has always been an effective abstraction provider, VCF 4 with Tanzu Services View takes infrastructure abstraction to the next level. Within vSphere underlying infrastructure components are abstracted into a set of services exposed to APIs, allowing the developer to look down from the application layer to consume the hybrid infrastructure services. Meanwhile IT operations can build out policies and manage pods alongside VMs at scale using vSphere.
vSphere 7 with Kubernetes
Now and over the next 5 years we are seeing a shift in how applications are built and run. In 2019 Line of Business (LOB) IT, or shadow IT, spend exceeded Infrastructure and Operations IT spend for the first time*. Modern applications are distributed systems built across serverless functions or managed services, containers, and Virtual Machines (VMs), replacing typical monolithic VM application and database deployments. The VMware portfolio is expanding to meet the needs of customers building modern applications, with a portfolio of services from Pivotal, Wavefront, Cloud Health, bitnami, heptio, bitfusion, and more. In the container space VMware is strongly positioned to address modern application challenges for developers, business leaders, and infrastructure administrators.
Launched on March 10 2020, with expected April 2020 availability, vSphere 7 with Kubernetes is powering VMware Cloud Foundation 4. vSphere 7 with Kubernetes integration, the first product including capabilities announced as part of Project Pacific, provides real-time access to infrastructure in the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) through familiar Kubernetes APIs, delivering security and performance benefits even over bare-metal hardware. The Kubernetes integration enables the full SDDC stack to utilise the Hybrid Infrastructure Services from ESXi, vSAN, and NSX-T which provide the Storage Service, Registry Service, Network Service, and Container Service. Developers do not need to translate applications to infrastructure, instead leveraging existing APIs to provision micro-services, while infrastructure administrators use existing vCenter Server tooling to support Kubernetes workloads along side Virtual Machines.
You can read more about the workings of vSphere with Kubernetes in this Project Pacific Technical Overview for New Users by Ellen Mei. In addition Initial Placement of a vSphere Pod by Frank Denneman is another useful and recent article detailing the process behind the ESXi container runtime.
VMware Application Modernisation Portfolio with Tanzu
VMware Cloud Foundation services is the first manifestation of Project Pacific; now vSphere with Kubernetes, and provides consistent services managed by IT operations to developers, ultimately anywhere that is running the VMware Cloud platform.
In the past VMware were efficient at taking a number of Virtual Machines and running them across multiple hypervisors in a cluster, the challenge was consolidating multiple physical servers for cost saving, management, and efficiency gains. Today the challenge is that application deployments are groups of VMs, which presents a new challenge of consolidating distributed applications across multiple clouds. Project Pacific brings Kubernetes and Tanzu to the vSphere environment, making it operationally easier to get upstream Kubernetes running, but also to effortlessly inplace upgrade and maintain Kubernetes clusters. This functionality accelerates vSphere into a much more modern, API driven, self-service and fast provisioning interface backed by optimised ESXi for all workloads.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) is a Kubernetes runtime built into VMware Cloud Foundation Services; allowing installing and maintaining of multi-cluster Kubernetes environments across different infrastructure. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid also works for operational consistency across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE). This is different to public cloud managed Kubernetes services such as EKS, AKS, GKE, etc. as it integrates natively into the existing infrastructure; meeting the needs of organisations who require abstracted logging, events, governance policies, and admission policies. This capability is delivering not just Kubernetes but a set of management services to provision, deploy, upgrade and maintain Kubernetes clusters. By having this fine grain level of control over the underlying VMs or cloud environment customers are able to implement, monitor, or enforce their own security policies and governance.
Tanzu Mission Control provides operator consistency for deployment, configuration, security, and policy enforcement for Kubernetes across multiple clouds, simplifying the management of Kubernetes at scale. Tanzu Mission Control is a Software as a Service (SaaS) control plane offering allowing VMware administrators to standardise Identity Access Management (IAM), configuration and policy control, backup and recovery, ingress control, cost accounting, and more. The multi-cluster control plane supports the propagation of Kubernetes across vSphere, Pivotal Container Services (PKS), AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), all from a single point of control.
VMware have announced availability of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, Tanzu Mission Control, and Tanzu Application Catalog (open source software catalog powered by Bitnami), providing a unified platform to build, run, and manage modern applications.
VMware Cloud Foundation Additional Updates
VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 4 is expected in April 2020, and includes fully updated software building blocks for the private cloud, including vCenter, ESXi, and vSAN 7.0, plus the addition of NSX-T.
VCF with NSX-T is made up of workload domain constructs, and by default every architecture starts with a management domain, which hosts vCenter, private NSX managers, and the edge cluster. There are a couple of changes in VCF 4 that reduce the footprint of the management domain; NSX-T is being fully utilised for the first time, the NSX Edge cluster can be deployed at day X, NSX Manager and controllers are now integrated, and the Platform Services Controller (PSC) is also now using the embedded model with vCenter. Additionally we have the capability to use Application Virtual Networks (AVM) using BGP peering on deployment, or again as a day X action. Another side note is that Log Insight has been changed from a default deployment requirement, to an optional day X action.
Workload domains are built out to server vSphere with Kubernetes and expose the network services for developers to use. Workload domains can be built on new or existing NSX-T managers; offering the choice of a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship for NSX-T instances with VCF 4. This provides customers with the option of separating out NSX-T instances, whilst simultaneously protecting the management domain. Day X automation then can be used to place edge deployments in the appropriate cluster:
SDDC Manager and Lifecycle Manager (LCM) provide automated provisioning and upgrades. Lifecycle Manager enhances ease of upgrade and patching by providing automated lifecycle management; with update notifications, review and schedule options, and monitoring and reporting. In addition LCM can manage all inter-dependencies of versioning at a cluster level, from vSphere right through to the Kubernetes runtime. SDDC Manager is orchestrating and automating the provisioning of vSphere with Kubernetes workload domains, and crucially enabling the LCM functionality for maintaining upgrades for the entire software stack, and eliminating typical day 2 challenges for developers.
Multi-Instance Management: multiple VCF instances can now be federated to provide a global view of workload domains without the installation of any additional components. Administrators can click-through to any VCF data centre to centrally view patching, upgrades, maintenance, and remediation operations.
New Security Enhancements: native Workspace ONE Identity Access integration for vRealize suite and NSX-T using AD or LDAP identity sources. Admin and Operator roles for API and UI, with the operator role providing all privileges minus password management, user management, and backup and restore. Token based authentication is also now enforced across all APIs.
You can find out more about the VMware Cloud Foundation 4 update at What’s New in VMware Cloud Foundation 4 and Delivering Kubernetes at Cloud Scale with VMware Cloud Foundation 4.
VMware vRealize Cloud Management Integration
The vRealize Cloud Management product suite has been comprehensively updated to include vSphere 7 with Kubernetes support. vRealize Operations (vROps) 8.1 is now available for the first time as a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering with an enhanced feature-set. Some of the key new functionality enables self-driving operations across multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud and data centre environments.
vROps 8.1 and Cloud now fully support integrations with GCP, native VMware Cloud on AWS as a cloud account (including additional vSAN, NSX-T, and Cloud Services Portal information with billing), enhanced portfolio of AWS objects, Cloud Health, and vSphere Kubernetes constructs. With the latter crucially enabling Kubernetes cluster on-boarding, discovery, continuous performance optimisation, capacity and cost optimisation, monitoring and troubleshooting, and configuration and compliance management. Furthermore, new dashboards and topology views of workload management can be leveraged to display all Kubernetes objects visible from vCenter, for a complete end-to-end view of the infrastructure.
vRealize Operations 8.1 and Cloud integration for vSphere with Kubernetes:
- Automatically discover new constructs of supervisor cluster, namespaces, pods, and Tanzu Kubernetes clusters.
- New dashboards and summary pages for performance, capacity, utilisation, and configuration management of Kubernetes constructs, with full topology views from Kubernetes substrate to physical infrastructure.
- Capacity forecasting detects utilisation and potential bottlenecks for supervisor clusters and pods, and shows time remaining projections for CPU, memory, and diskspace.
- Out of the box reporting functionality for workload management, inventory, configuration, and capacity, with configurable alerting to operationalise the workload platform and provide complete visibility and control.
- Container management pack extends visibility to monitor and visualise multiple Kubernetes clusters, map and co-relate virtual infrastructure to Kubernetes infrastructure, setup alerts and monitoring, and provide support for PKS.
You can find out more about what’s new in the vRealize suite at Delivering Modern Infrastructure for Modern Apps with vRealize Suite.
*LOB spend 51% to infrastructure operations spend 49% – source IDC WW Semiannual IT Spending Guide: Line of Business, 09 April 2018 (HW, SW and services; excludes Telecom)