Senior VP at Google Diane Greene speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 in San Francisco Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Senior VP at Google Diane Greene speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016 in San Francisco

VMware, Google, Pivotal Package Kubernetes for the Enterprise

Pivotal Container Service runs on vSphere and Google Cloud Platform

These days the open source application Kubernetes sets the standard for container orchestration. In areas such as node management, however, it falls a little short. As a remedy, Pivotal, the software company that was spun off from VMware in 2013, and Google, where Kubernetes was born, have been developing an open source application, Kubo, to bring BOSH -- the open source software primarily used to package, deploy, and manage cloud software -- to Kubernetes.

At the Cloud Foundry Summit in June, Pivotal's principle software engineer Konstantin Semenov said that development of Kubo was on track, but that it was in a "pretty alpha state."

"We are capable of deploying a Kubo cluster, and we have several routing options," he said, "but I think it won't reach a production state anywhere closer than the end of the year."

Things have evidently either stayed on schedule or gone ahead a little since then. On Tuesday at VMworld, Pivotal and VMware announced the launch of Pivotal Container Service (PKS), essentially a commercial release of Kubo targeted at enterprise users, touting it as a simple way to deploy and operate production-ready Kubernetes on VMware vSphere and Google Cloud Platform. It's expected to become available in the fourth quarter of this calendar year, which is in step -- if not a little ahead -- with Semenov's prediction on when Kubo will be production-ready.

"VMware has partnered with Pivotal and Google, industry leaders in the application development platform space, to deliver an enterprise-ready Kubernetes solution integrated with VMware's software-defined data center infrastructure," Sanjay Poonen, VMware's COO, said in a statement. "Pivotal Container Service is purpose-built to deliver Kubernetes that is easy to deploy and operate, ready for developer consumption, while addressing the operational needs of IT. This new solution is unique in its ability to enable developers and IT to work as one."

PKS will ship as a standalone product able to integrate with the Platform-as-a-Service Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware's software-defined data center infrastructure. The first release will offer Kubernetes via BOSH, VMware's network virtualization and security platform NSX, and a jointly developed version of Open Services Broker API. The latter, VMware said, will be continuously compatible with Google Container Engine (GKE), which will allow users to incorporate GCP services such as BigQuery, Spanner, and machine learning into applications while providing application portability between PKS and GKE.

The new offering will also feature cross-cloud security and network connectivity, including container network interface compatible services powered by NSX, and will be seamlessly integrated with VMware's hypervisor and management suite, vSphere, enabling customers to use VMware's unified SDDC infrastructure for containers and VMs.

"We see an open hybrid cloud ecosystem forming based on many technologists and providers coming together on Kubernetes, and Pivotal Container Service is a great way to run containers and Kubernetes on premises," said Sam Ramji, Google's product management VP. "It gives you native access to Google Cloud services, and it's on the same release cadence as Google Container Engine. With Pivotal Container Service plus Google Container Engine, you get constant compatibility, and your services, and workloads are deployed the same way, anywhere you need them."

According to VMware, Pivotal Container Service is being targeted at large to mid-sized enterprises and service providers. Pivotal and VMware will each sell the product directly through their channels. It will also be made available through VMware's Cloud Provider partner program and through Dell EMC, on VxRail Appliances and VxRack Systems.

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