How VMware Has Modernized Its Main Lineup

eWEEK NEW-PRODUCT ANALYSIS: VMware adds new functionality with Kubernetes orchestration for containers and microservices that works across on-premises and cloud deployments alike.


Software companies modernize their wares on a regular—sometimes weekly or even daily—basis. That’s the whole idea behind agile development. So it’s a little unexpected to hear a company as sophisticated and forward-thinking as VMware announce in a special event that it’s “modernizing” much of its enterprise lineup because it’s generally being updated all the time.

Nonetheless, with all this in mind, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based enterprise software maker revealed March 10 that it has added the native Kubernetes data orchestrator as support to its Cloud Foundation software stack and surrounding products. It also has added Kubernetes to its new Tanzu tool portfolio as it continues its corporate migration into containers and cloud-native applications.

So this is how the main VMware product lineup is being modernized.

Tanzu is a new brand name VMware introduced at last year's VMworld Conference for its modern apps portfolio. It currently includes PKS, but in the future, it will also include other projects and products from Pivotal, which VMware bought from their common parent, Dell BMC, for $2.7 billion in 2019.

Kubernetes: The Common Denominator

VMware Enterprise PKS is a Kubernetes-based container solution with advanced networking, a private container registry and life cycle management. It was jointly developed by VMware and Pivotal; with Enterprise PKS users can provision, operate and manage Kubernetes clusters using Cloud Foundry BOSH and Pivotal Ops Manager.

VMware on March 10 officially unveiled all its Kubernetes assets and explained how it sees Kubernetes connecting legacy VMware environments with its new microservices-based applications.

“We look at Kubernetes as being this Goldilocks abstraction,” Craig McLuckie, VMware vice president of the Modern Apps and Platform business unit, told a conference call of reporters. “It’s high-enough level to hide the specifics of an infrastructure and low-enough level to be able to run pretty much anything.”

The Tanzu Lineup

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid: This is a Kubernetes runtime that will let customers manage remote container or vSphere environments in data centers, clouds or edge computing environments. Kubernetes Grid enables customers to operate multi-cluster Kubernetes environments in those data centers, public and private clouds, and edge environments.

Tanzu Mission Control: This functions as a single point of control in which users can manage Kubernetes clusters regardless of where they are running. Mission Control is for operating Kubernetes infrastructure and cloud-native applications across multiple teams and clouds. It also improves security and governance because it enables operators to run consistent policies across environments.

Tanzu Application Catalog: This utilizes IT VMware bought from Bitnami that offers a cache of prebuilt, scanned, tested and maintained Kubernetes application content. The Bitnami application catalog supports and has been certified for all major Kubernetes platforms. Application Catalog provides developers with a selection of open source software from the Bitnami catalog that can be customized and verified by VMware for use in production environments.

Tanzu Application Service: This comprises components VM bought from Pivotal, and it offers a list of application-development resources.

vSphere With Kubernetes

VMware unveiled Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu, its hybrid cloud software stack that allows consistent management for virtual machines and container-based applications. This enables developers to use the single platform to manage workloads built on virtual machines and newer, containerized apps alike.

“This amounts to the biggest re-architecture of vSphere in a decade,” VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger told reporters at the online video launch, which had replaced an in-person press event canceled due to concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not a question of 'Do I need to rebuild that [application] and put it into a container environment?' You do it when you have business value doing it,” Gelsinger said on the call. “We’re democratizing Kubernetes with the most powerful platform, the most powerful infrastructure community across multiple clouds.”

VMware Cloud Foundation, as one might imagine, runs on VMware infrastructure in on-premises data centers, but it also works across public clouds that include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace—even Alibaba.

Perspective From Dell Technologies

“Today’s announcement brings greater flexibility and choice to customers using Dell Technologies Cloud, built with VMware Cloud Foundation at the core,” Deepak Patil, senior vice president and general manager of Cloud Platforms and Solutions at Dell Technologies, said in a media advisory.

“As organizations look to solve for managing their private clouds seamlessly with multiple public clouds, we’re now able to extend our capabilities to both VMs and containers with a single hybrid cloud platform. This enables developers to rapidly innovate and embrace cloud-native applications at the pace that makes the most sense for their organization.”


The VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and Tanzu Mission Control are all available now. VMware Cloud Foundation 4, VMware vSphere 7, VMware vSAN 7, VMware vRealize Automation 8.1 and VMware vRealize Operations 8.1 (both on-premises and a cloud-based app) are all scheduled to become available May 1.

VMware vSphere 7 will be available in two configurations: vSphere with Kubernetes will be available in Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu to power container- and VM-based applications and in a configuration for VM-based applications in several editions, including vSphere Standard Edition, VMware said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...