Cloud Native And Container with VMware

Trust me, I am coming from Infrastructure background. I worked on Wintel area for years and have been worked in virtualisation area for some more years. Actually, I didn’t touch linux until I met ESX 4.0 which is the first ESXi generation I work with. Definitely you would find it’s not an early version at all, some of you may have been playing around with version 3.0 or 3.5 and some even perhaps GSX. So why I would like to blog about Cloud Native Applications and Containers stuffs? Is it because this is founded by VMware? Definitely not. But I would like to share with you why I think this is important for me and how my mindset changed after I looked into this area.

Background

I think I had tried to pick up Container stuffs years ago actually when Docker was out and became so hot in the market. I started to learn this from a pure infrastructure people viewpoint. I was not amused by it as i think Virtual Machine was far better than a Container which is Linux based only stuff and not scalable and secure. And then I dropped it for a while.

Yet, few months ago, I’ve had another change to pick up again the Container stuffs again as I was assigned to look into Cloud Native Application and DevOps area. Although it was not my focus at all before, I did tried spending my effort in picking those up to support my team. And this time… it is way too different and my brain got totally refreshed. I exaggerated nothing and I think the difference comes as I had used a totally different angle to re-engage the four confluences: Containers, DevOps, CNA and Micro-services. It was definitely my fault to judge from technical and technology comparisons, but I started my learning again as I see how these stuffs are complementing each others just for one single purpose which is to “Make Works working”.

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After recalibrating my mindset, I see how making sense the four confluences are and I see how easy the latest VMware Open Source Projects helps in enabling these technologies on VMware Platforms.

Photon Platform and vSphere Integrated Container

While there are a number of Open Source Projects, the two above are more important ones for making your VMware Environment now Container Compatible. With such, you don’t need to revamp your environment or setup another Docker based environment at all, instead you can just deploy those over your ESXi and then your environment just got Supercharged instantly. Although both solutions are Container Supported, they are not identical and are designed for serving two different use cases.

vSphere Integrated Container (VIC)

This is a solution suitable for you if you are just starting looking into Container Technology. It is when you may not be so confident in managing and operating native Containers in your environment, VIC will be very handy for you. VIC provides Docker Api for consumption, such that after you deploy a Virtual Container Host thru’ VIC, you can give out the Docker API URI to the developers for using. They can pull, run and push docker images into the Virtual Container Host just like any Docker Host. The good thing is, operators and administrators can manage and operate the Docker Host and Containers just like a VM as the Virtual Container Host will thread out a new VM for running the Container Process when a new Docker process is being requested.

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Photon Platform

And photon platform is instead for more mature users such that you may need to provide a Multi-tenant Container Host infrastructure. Perhaps, you need to let your user deploying Container Host on demand, or let them having their own kubernetes, docker swarm or mesos running on top of a common platform. This is the case when you should consider Photon Platform. As this makes a lot of sense when one has to support Microservices development. When you are developing Microservices, it is possible for many different services running different technology and thus Container Orchestrators. By the way for a Photon Platform, container processes are not being threaded out as VM like VIC anymore, but they would be directly running on the Container Hosts, i.e. Photon OS.

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Thus, I believe the use cases direct which way you should pick. But anyway, these two tools have been already GA and fully tested for production. The tools have lower the pre-requisities and hurdle for you to pick up Containers related technologies and are free. So stop stopping, let’s try it out in your environment too.

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