VMware launches vSphere 7 and Tanzu container management tools

VMware has announced the launch of a number of new Kubernetes-focused products, including the latest version of its vSphere platform.

Most of the new products fall under the company’s Tanzu portfolio, unveiled at last year’s VMworld.

Tanzu represents VMware’s efforts to integrate Kubernetes container management - which the company is betting big on as the next significant step in enterprise applications - with its existing VM management tools.

Three new Tanzu products are being introduced; first up, Tanzu Mission Control, a tool previewed as part of last year’s announcement which is designed to help enterprises manage multiple Kubernetes clusters across a range of environments, while centralising key functions like security, configuration management and data protection. It also allows businesses to hook VMware’s other management and monitoring tools (such as its Wavefront and CloudHealth products) into its Kubernetes workloads.

Following on from this is VMware’s new Tanzu Application Catalogue, which represents a way for customers to integrate open source components and tools from Bitnami's catalogue into their applications in a safe and secure way, by providing a curated repository of open source products that have been verified as stable and vulnerability-free.

For organisations at the start of their container projects, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is being introduced as a ubiquitous container runtime, combining open source Kubernetes tooling, container images and registry and lifecycle management. Described by VMware as an evolution of its strategy with Enterprise PKS (which will remain as a separate offering), the aim is to make it easier to quickly start using Kubernetes in a consistent way across multiple environments, alongside existing VMware deployments.

Speaking of which, a new version of VMware’s flagship vSphere suite is also being introduced, and it includes a range of Kubernetes-friendly features. Previously teased as Project Pacific, vSphere 7 has been ‘fundamentally modernised’, according to VMware, and re-architected to put Kubernetes management at its heart.

VMs are not being forgotten about, of course - the goal is to enable VMware admins to easily run containers and VMs concurrently. vSphere 7 has also been optimised for simplified lifecycle management, allowing enterprises to manage hundreds or thousands of instances in less time, with fewer tools, including introducing REST and JSON-based APIs for automating lifecycle management tasks.

vSphere 7 also introduces greater security through remote attestation, where a trusted host is used to verify the integrity of other hosts within the network. Elsewhere, vMotion has been improved to allow for easier migration of large VMs with minimal disruption and the Distributed Resource Scheduler now runs every minute as opposed to every five minutes.

GPU virtualisation is now on offer too, thanks to the company’s recent acquisition Bitfusion, which is being touted as a particular benefit for those looking to run workloads using machine learning.

The aforementioned tools are also being rolled into VMware Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu, which includes vSAN 7 for managing virtualised storage.

“Kubernetes is still hard,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said. “We're democratising Kubernetes into the industry, with the most powerful platform, the most powerful infrastructure community across multiple clouds; This for us is an important day, not just for us, but for our customers, and for the industry.”

VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, Tanzu Mission Control and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid are available now, while VMware Cloud Foundation 4 and VMware vSphere 7 are scheduled to be available by the start of May.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.