VMware rolls out Tanzu portfolio for app modernization

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VMware on Tuesday announced the first products available as part of Tanzu, VMware’s portfolio for building and managing modern applications. The company also announced significant updates to VMware Cloud Foundation and vSphere, as it seeks to become “the ubiquitous, central infrastructure to enable our customers’ digital transformation,” as CEO Pat Gelsinger said to reporters. 

First unveiled last year at VMworld, the Tanzu portfolio is designed to deliver enterprise-grade Kubernetes at scale. Its availability, Gelsinger said, “is a very critical moment in the progression of VMware. 

“We’ve been on a great journey to become the multi-cloud infrastructure provider of choice,” he said. Now, VMware is extending its reach, he said, by enabling application modernization and modern application deployment.

The aim, Gelsinger said, is “driving that next phase of our customers’ tools, enterprise development capabilities to make software and software development a core competence of every business on the planet.”

The first offerings in the Tanzu portfolio include the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, a Kubernetes runtime that helps customers install and run a multi-cluster Kubernetes environment on any infrastructure. It’s designed to run Kubernetes consistently across any environment, from the data center to the cloud and the edge.  

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“We are all in on Kubernetes,” Craig McLuckie, VP of VMware’s modern apps and platform business unite, said to reporters. “We see this as being an incredibly powerful, unifying force in the industry. It provides an elegant way to span the best vSphere has to offer with our portfolio of technologies, whether those are VCF based [or VMware managed cloud]. It allows us to deliver a consistent set of experiences, directly up to the public cloud and all the way to the network edge.”

As previewed last year, the portfolio also includes Tanzu Mission Control, a centralized management platform for operating and securing Kubernetes infrastructure and applications, across teams and clouds. It allows you to support the provisioning of the clusters into a variety of different environments. It also allows for the support and centralization of core capabilities like identity and access management, security and configuration management, compliance and data protection.

“Mission Control is going to emerge as increasingly important part of the story for our enterprise customers,” McLuckie said.  

Lastly, the new portfolio includes the Tanzu Application Catalog, which delivers a customizable selection of open source software from the Bitnami catalog. The software is “meticulously curated,” McLuckie said, while VMware ensures the software is secured, tested and maintained for use in production environments. This gives developers the benefit of using pre-packaged apps and components while ensuring operators are in compliance with security and transparency requirements. The catalog was previewed as Project Galleon in August of last year.

Meanwhile, VMware announced the Tanzu portfolio will include the Pivotal Application Service (PAS), rebranded as the Tanzu Application Service. The rebranding follows the close of VMware’s $2.7 billion Pivotal acquisition at the end of last year. Since then, VMware says it has moved quickly to integrate the Pivotal team, technology and products into the company. 

VMware is also rebranding its Wavefront product to Tanzu Observability by Wavefront and the aligned NSX Service Mesh as Tanzu Service Mesh, built on VMware NSX.

In addition to rolling out the Tanzu portfolio, VMware also introduced vSphere 7, the biggest evolution of the hypervisor and virtualization management platform in a decade. The revamped product was previewed last year as “Project Pacific.” VMware effectively “re-architected it to integrate it with Kubernetes,” according to Kit Colbert, VP of VMware’s cloud platform business unit. 

“When we talk about all those modern applications, those require a modern infrastructure,” Colbert said, explaining the motivation for “fundamentally modernizing” vSphere. He called the latest version a “really versatile platform” that can support both new and existing applications, as well as both operations teams and developers.

With the new VMware Cloud Foundation services, developers can easily access differentiated services to quickly build applications and operate them on top of vSphere. Those services include Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, as well services around storage, network and registry. They’re all exposed via Kubernetes. 

In addition, the new vSphere release includes a series of other updated capabilities related to lifecycle management, intrinsic security and application acceleration. 

With VMware Cloud Foundation 4, VMware is offering hybrid cloud infrastructure with consistent management for both VM-based and container-based applications. It includes the new vSphere 7, as well as the new vSAN 7 for storage virtualization, including file services and cloud native storage. Cloud Foundation 4 also includes the new vRealize 8.1 with more automated operations, as well as NSX-T for full-stack networking and security services.

As VMware appeals to enterprises building with Kubernetes, it faces a handful of major competitors, Gelsinger said. Those include IBM’s Red Hat; native environments from cloud vendors like Google, Microsoft and Amazon; Rancher and a few other startups. 

VMware’s position is we’re enterprise-grade, at scale, a proven brand, the platform of choice in the private cloud,” he said. “Being able to add to that is a powerful position. Deeply integrated with solutions with our cloud offerings — with Amazon, now with Azure, Google, IBM, Alibaba, thousands of other partners. That ubiquity is a very powerful ability for us to layer this in.”

The VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and  Tanzu Mission Control are all available now. VMware Cloud Foundation 4, vSphere 7 and vSAN 7 are all expected to become available by May 1. 

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