VMware offers pure open-source Kubernetes, no chaser

Sometimes you want the real thing with no adornments. If that's you and Kubernetes, VMware is now offering Kubernetes, plain and simple.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Unless you've been hiding under a rock in the IT world, you know Kubernetes, the container orchestration program of choice, is hotter than hot. Everyone's using it, adding on to it, offering it as a service, the list goes on and on. But VMware wants you to know that, if all you want is Kubernetes without all the fancy trimmings, well, it can give you that, too, with VMware Essential PKS.

Also: What is the Kubernetes hybrid cloud and why it matters

PKS includes upstream Kubernetes; reference architectures to inform design decisions; and expert support to proactively guide you through upgrades or maintenance and help you troubleshoot it if you need a hand. That's all. That's it.

If that sounds familiar, well it should. Last November, VMware acquired Heptio. This company, which was founded by two Kubernetes creators, Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, used essentially this business model. Indeed, you could argue, that VMware Essential PKS is just a new coat of paint on Heptio's previous offerings.

VMware, which has every intention of being  the leading enabler of Kubernetes and cloud native programming, will now offer three different approaches to running Kubernetes in production. These are:

  • VMware Essential PKS is for companies with either the in-house expertise to design, deploy, and integrate those components or the intent to build-out that function or lean on an expert team, like VMware's Kubernetes Architects, to deploy their own Kubernetes-based architectures. These customers want to access upstream Kubernetes with VMware support as needed.
  • VMware Enterprise PKS is for organizations thart want a more turnkey approach to container management. That's especially if they're already using VMware. They recognize the value in a tightly packaged offer with pre-integrated and validated components -- providing enterprise-grade security, compliance and consistency. Those customers can choose VMware NSX-T for networking and Harbor for registry.
  • VMware Cloud PKS is for businesses that want to make Kubernetes clusters available to their teams without operating the platform themselves. Those clusters will need to be pre-configured and available to deploy and scale at a moment's notice. Those customers can be up and running in minutes with, a SaaS-based offer that ensures customers only pay for what they use. Cloud PKS is in beta.

So, no matter how your company plans to deploy Kubernetes, VMware wants to be there. VMware could have treated Kubernetes as a threat. After all, VMware made its billions on the older virtual machine (VM) technology. VMware isn't doing that. 

Also: VMware wanted Amazon dead TechRepublic

Instead, as Paul Fazzone, VMware's GM of Cloud Native Applications, blogged, "The message to our customers should be clear: regardless of where you are in your cloud native journey, VMware can help. More than 80 percent of containers run on virtual machines (VMs), and that percentage is only growing year over year. Of course, being VMware, we have vast experience with VMs, so we're uniquely positioned to get you up and running on Kubernetes."

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