VMware vSphere goes Kubernetes native

As much as businesses might want to update IT and proceed cloud, it’s still a stubborn actuality that 95 percent of IT spending remains firmly on-premises. That’s changing, and fast, but CIOs have fought to upgrade their information technology to the cloud age.

In a bid to ease that struggle, VMware today announced Project Pacific, a re-architecture of its vSphere server virtualization platform which turns vSphere into a Kubernetes native system. What exactly does that mean? In technical terms it means that today’s 70 million vSphere workloads immediately become Kubernetes workloads. Maybe more importantly, it means the 500,000 organizations that operate vSphere suddenly have the skills necessary to run Kubernetes. Overnight.

Or, in a nutshell, it means that a heck of a lot of enterprises suddenly got a lot more cloud savvy without even trying. Let us dig .

After the enterprise won’t come to the cloud…

Public cloud adoption has been swelling 10 percent a year for many years, and Forrester expects that a 20 to 25 percent compound annual growth rate through 2022. While those numbers are impressive, they’d be even better if a plethora of factors didn’t impede the best of cloud goals, based on VMware vice president Bundle Colbert. As he suggested in an interview,”it is a ton of work to get to the cloud” for some workloads. “Each program needs to be refactored or rewritten,” he continued,”with fresh surgeries tools figured out,” and more.

Where does this leave ventures? Well, that depends on their appetite. For too many, the very first solution would be to do so. The benefit of this strategy is lower cost: You keep the lights on but you do not have to innovate. The second choice is to handle the refactoring effort, which may introduce significant expense. Given the upside, and the requirement to be aggressive with cloudy peers, enterprises often elect to go this route.

Input VMware’s Project Pacific, which the company pitches as a middle course. Project Pacific, says Colbert, enables enterprises to”get some of the benefits of cloud, containers, etc., but with of the work.” In reality, he worries, it entails”just slightly more work than they’re placing in today to keep the lights on.”

In some ways, Project Pacific is comparable in tactical intent to VMware Cloud on AWS, Colbert says. In that world, clients can move workloads unmodified to AWS using exactly the identical ops toolsexactly the same teams, etc.”Obviously, the program can not magically scale or anything, as its structure hasn’t changed,” he notes. “But it will get some cloud benefits like more dynamic infrastructure, pay-as-you-go, accessibility to cloud regions, accessibility to higher-level cloud services, and more.”

Fine. Project Pacific hews closely to the exact same playbook as VMware Cloud on AWS, suggesting VMware is running against a master program. But what exactly is Project Pacific? And what does it mean for business IT?

… then bring the cloud to the enterprise

As VMware senior director Jared Rosoff described in a blog post,

Project Pacific is a re-architecture of vSphere with Kubernetes because its heart control plane. To a programmer, Project Pacific looks like a Kubernetes audience where they can use Kubernetes declarative syntax to handle cloud resources such as virtual machines, disks, and networks. To the IT admin, Project Pacific looks like vSphere — but with the new ability to control a whole application rather than always dealing with the individual VMs which make it up.

Otherwise stated, Project Pacific transforms vSphere into a Kubernetes native system, which in turn means that vSphere inherits the Kubernetes ecosystem. All that amazing community involvement for Kubernetes? Suddenly vSphere becomes a participant, or at least a happy beneficiary. As Kubernetes enables multiple containers to be handled as a single application, Project Pacific allows multiple VMs to be managed at the program level.

What this means is that the 500,000 businesses that currently run vSphere do not need individual stacks for cloud native apps (Kubernetes) and for virtualized apps (vSphere). They’re one and the same. Because of this, enterprises which were searching for ways to train their operations teams for Kubernetes no more have to. If they knew how to use vSphere, suddenly they know how to use Kubernetes.

Colbert explains:”The idea is that you can take a program that’s unmodified and containerize it leveraging all these cool Kubernetes benefits, yet it still runs at a comfortable environment with existing tooling.” Together with the VM sitting in a container picture, an enterprise can suddenly leverage Kubernetes’ declarative syntax, thereby simplifying configuration administration.

It’s also a matter of improved security, as Colbert emphasizes. An enterprise can keep this program with its other apps: a single location for all types of programs, and one place to do CVE scanning on it automatically, thereby driving better security. You can sign the container picture to cryptographically prove that nobody has shifted it, and you can enforce a policy that only signed pictures are able to operate in your environment, again driving better security posture.

In short, though the VM-based app itself is unmodified, it will get all kinds of container and container ecosystem benefits. Or, as Colbert outlines,”The idea is that we’re able to move a client’s whole fleet of apps forward, giving those programs some cloud and some container benefits, for basically zero or very low price.”

Related video: What’s Kubernetes?
In this 90-second video, learn about Kubernetes, the open-source system for automating containerized applications, from among the technology’s inventors, Joe Beda, formerly founder and CTO at Heptio and now principal engineer in VMware.

Cloud at the CIO’s pace

In this way, VMware is enabling clients to selectively pick and choose which programs will find the”full-cloud press.” Those programs that truly differentiate the business, they can concentrate on. Those who don’t, well, they still have to inherit a certain degree of”cloudiness” through Project Pacific.

“It is about meeting customers where they are,” says Colbert. “And trying to be sure technology isn’t a limiter on business decisions”

Enterprises are likely to change platforms. They always have, and they always will. What VMware provides here is the ability to do this at a measured pace without needing to maintain several infrastructures.

As Colbert puts it, the real remedy to cloud on-premises is things such as VMware Cloud on Dell or AWS Outposts, and also the true cloud on cloud is matters such as AWS or Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. But the interim step arguably appears something like Project Pacific, in which Kubernetes becomes the stage of platforms and containers and VMs live side by side.