VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 of VxRail 7.0 is a major architectural upgrade to the platform - the biggest innovation included in this version is VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu, providing native integration of Kubernetes directly into the vSphere Hypervisor (previously known as Project Pacific). This integration delivers a new set of VMware Cloud Foundation Services, including VMware Tanzu Runtime Services and Hybrid Infrastructure Services, that provide the bases for the cloud infrastructure and container ecosystems to accelerate developer productivity.
With VMware Cloud Foundation 4, virtual infrastructure admins get unified visibility of virtual machines (VMs), containers, and Kubernetes clusters directly in vCenter Server, which is also the standard management console for VxRail, they are very familiar with. Containers and Kubernetes are managed alongside VMs from the same console and the concept of Kubernetes namespace is integrated into vSphere, becoming the unit of management. Resource objects, such as VMs and containers can be grouped into logical applications via namespaces, simplifying the management of cloud-native workloads at scale. Admins can set policies, quota and role-based to a namespace, allowing developers to access the namespace within the pre-defined boundaries.
On the other hand, developers can create both Supervisor Clusters and Guest Clusters. Supervisor Clusters run Kubernetes natively on ESXi for better container performance and integration, while Guest Clusters that run Kubernetes in Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) clusters on VMs. Similarly to VMware admins, who can manage Kubernetes environment in vSphere using their native management tools (i.e. vCenter), developers can consume cloud resources such as Kubernetes clusters, disks and networks using Kubernetes CLI and API tools they are familiar with (see Figure 7).
Let’s summarize key benefits of VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu functionality introduced in version 4 of the platform:
VMware vSAN as a core component of VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail includes CSI driver that enables developers to provision persistent storage for Kubernetes on vSphere on-demand in an automated fashion. VMware admins can manage container volumes through the Cloud Native Storage UI within VMware vCenter as if they were VM volumes. Developers and IT administrators can have a consistent view of container volumes and troubleshoot at the same level.
Cloud Native Storage through the CSI driver on vSAN is natively integrated into vCenter and provides comprehensive data management for both stateless and stateful applications. Customers using cloud native storage can create containerized stateful applications capable of surviving container restarts and outages. Stateful containers leverage storage exposed by vSphere that can be provisioned using Kubernetes primitives such as persistent volume, persistent volume claim, and storage class for dynamic provisioning.
With NSX-T, another key component of VMware Cloud Foundation stack, there is no need for end users to know the underlying network architecture. Networking can be easily managed with Kubernetes clusters – deployment, upgrade and scaling out. NSX-T can automatically create load balancers, routers, switches to be used by Tanzu. It also provides end-to-end security by firewalls, namespace isolation, etc.
To learn more about the VMware Tanzu portfolio, please check Appendix E: VMware SDDC common component details.