VMware teams up with Pivotal, Google Cloud on new container service

Pivotal Container Service (PKS) will enable customers with on-prem infrastructure to quickly deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer
(Image: VMware)

On the second day of VMworld, VMware is announcing it's partnering with Pivotal and Google on a new service that enables enterprise customers to quickly deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes on premise with vSphere.

The new service, called Pivotal Container Service (PKS), allows for simple network and security provisioning with VMware NSX. It also offers constant compatibility with Google Container Engine (GKE).

Read also: VMware expands multi-cloud offerings, adds new intent-based security product

PKS is a commercial release of the open source Project Kubo, a collaborative, joint engineering effort between Google and Pivotal that delivers a BOSH-managed Kubernetes environment. With PKS, customers get all of the software-defined infrastructure as code from VMware and the automation and orchestration from Pivotal's BOSH, with Kubernetes layered on top.

Typically, enterprise development teams could spend weeks or months attempting to deploy containers, with the work of provisioning network IP addresses and firewall rules impeding agility, said Chris Wolf, CTO of global field and industry at VMware.

"PKS gives developers full automation to do all of these things very quickly," Wolf said. "We give you that turnkey Kubernetes deployment, but also give developers the native API and native command line experience" of Kubernetes that they're looking for, he said.

With the constant compatibility guarantee, PKS should offer the same frequent updates available from GKE. The Kubernetes project has had releases every three months over the last year, and "users have really appreciated the velocity and innovation out of that," said Aparna Sinha, Google's product management lead for Kubernetes and Container Engine.

PKS also features a jointly developed version of Open Services Broker API. "It allows all different cloud abstractions to have shared data services and a shared service catalog between them," said James Watters, VP and GM of the Pivotal Cloud Platform.

VMware has in the past several years worked on making it simpler for customers to deploy and operationalize containers in the enterprise data center. There have been a few different scenarios that prompt customers to adopt containerized technology, said Paul Fazzone, VMware's GM of Cloud Native Apps.

"As organizations take a step back from traditional application development practices and try to reinvent themselves in terms of greenfield custom application development or the modernization of existing production applications, they're turning more and more to Pivotal to teach them and provide the tools to accomplish that," he said.

Additionally, organizations are turning to containerized technology to more efficiently operate and patch existing applications with a lot of overhead.

Customers are also refactoring mission-critical applications, Fazzone said. Once they're more comfortable with modern app development practices, they'll reevaluate high-value apps built in more traditional ways, "and crack them open, one component at a time, to modularize them and make them more cloud native."


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