VMware, Google, Pivotal Collaborate on Kubernetes Container Service

Open-source Project Kubo is now getting full enterprise support, bringing Cloud Foundry's BOSH lifecycle management capabilities to the Kubernetes container orchestration platform.


The Pivotal Container Service (PKS) was announced today at the VMworld 2017 conference, providing an enterprise-grade Kubernetes container orchestration capability that can be deployed on VMware vSphere and Google Container Engine (GKE). PKS was developed as a joint engineering effort between Pivotal, VMware and Google and builds on top of the open-source Project Kubo that was first announced in March 2017.

Kubo is a contraction of the name Kubernetes on BOSH and was originally started as a joint effort between Google and Pivotal. BOSH is Pivotal Cloud Foundry's core deployment and lifecycle management open-source tool, while Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system originally developed by Google.

"What is being announced today is that Google, VMware and Pivotal have collaborated to develop PKS, which is a managed Kubernetes offering utilizing Kubo," Aparna Sinha Product Management Lead for Kubernetes and Container Engine at Google told eWEEK. "PKS can run on VMware vSphere and it is also constantly updated and kept in sync with the Google Container Engine."

Paul Fazzone, General Manager of Cloud Native Apps at VMware added that PKS includes the latest Kubernetes release running on top of BOSH, as well as the VMware NSX network virtualization technology. The PKS effort will also benefit from existing VMware container efforts.

"We have done a lot of work integrating container technology over the last few years with our vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) program," Fazzone told eWEEK. "A lot of those integration points will be used to make PKS easy to deploy and hook into many of our operations, management and visibility products throughout the rest of the VMware portfolio."

VMware first previewed vSphere Integrated Containers during its VMworld USA 2015 event as a way to run Docker containers on top of vSphere. At the VMworld 2016 Europe event, VMware announced that it would be supporting Kubernetes for its Photon platform, which provides a native approach to running containers without the need for vSphere. Fazzone noted that Photon is an open-source effort and as such PKS and VIC will now be VMware's primary approach to offering commercially supported Kubernetes.


BOSH as part of PKS is not just an installer of Kubernetes, rather it's a platform that can be used to help manage and orchestrate Kubernetes.

"The issue that BOSH solves is not about how to deploy a set of virtual machines once, but rather how do you keep a set of virtual machines and virtual resources in a guaranteed state over time," Josh McKenty Pivotal's vice president of Global Ecosystem Engineering told eWEEK.

McKenty said that BOSH has become a popular way for organizations to orchestrate complex distributed systems at the virtual machine level. He added that the pain point that the Project Kubo effort between Pivotal and Google aimed to relieve was about the challenges of managing Kubernetes upgrades and maintenance.

"Using BOSH to manage Kubernetes, delivers the same benefits that we have been able to deliver to the Cloud Foundry ecosystem, including zero downtime and easy upgrades," McKenty said.

Cloud Foundry is an open-source Platform-as-a-Service technology that was originally developed by VMware and then spun out as a separate company that become Pivotal in 2012. Development of the platform is now managed under the governance of the Linux Foundation's Cloud Foundry Foundation. Though BOSH was created as an integral element of Cloud Foundry, it is now also a standalone tool, which is how is it can be deployed in support of PKS.

"PKS is a standalone separate product, though it is very compatible with Cloud Foundry," McKenty said. "The same BOSH deployment experience that an organization would use for Cloud Foundry is also used for PKS and the same distribution mechanism we have with the Pivotal website for package updates will be available for PKS as well."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.