VMware makes it easier to get started on Tanzu as part of app modernization initiative

Newly announced app modernization initiatives include the free VMware Tanzu Community Edition, the free VMware Tanzu Mission Control Starter, as well as the second phase of the Tanzu Application Platform Beta, and new NVIDIA GPU support for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.

Dormain Drewitz onstage at VMworld

On Tuesday, as VMworld 2021 began, the company announced its initiatives to digitize and modernize apps. The highlight here was enhancements to its VMware Tanzu portfolio to enable management and operation of apps at scale and provide developers with the autonomy to build and deploy apps on any cloud.

“What we’re focusing on announcement-wise from the app modernization perspective is making it easier for folks to get started with Tanzu in a couple of different ways,” said Dormain Drewitz, who leads Product Marketing and Content Strategy for VMware Tanzu. “We’re also making it easier for developers to build on Kubernetes, which is kind of a fast follow-on story to what we announced at our SpringOne event at the beginning of September.”

Drewitz said VMware is announcing VMware Tanzu Community Edition, a freely available, easy to manage community-supported Kubernetes platform for learners and users.

“Making it easier to get started with Tanzu is really rooted in the fact that we need to make it easier for folks to get started with Kubernetes,” Drewitz said. “Kubernetes is kind of at the core and foundation of much of what Tanzu brings to the table. And what we’ve seen in the last two State of Kubernetes reports that we’ve done is that a lack of experience and expertise with Kubernetes is the number one barrier and challenge to adopting it as a platform for running cloud-native applications. If they’re exposed to kind of having to pull everything together across the entire Kubernetes ecosystem, the cloud native computing landscape is vast and it really has a steep learning curve.”

Tanzu Community Edition is VMware’s answer to this dilemma.

“This is the same open source software that’s at the core of the Tanzu commercial additions, and it’s going to be available at no cost for folks to be able to get started quickly,” Drewitz said. “They can get it installed and configured in minutes on their workstation or in their favorite cloud… This is not trialware. It’s something that can be used indefinitely. It gives folks time to get comfortable, but it has pulled together and curated all the pieces that go into Tanzu Basic, Tanzu Standard and some of the pieces even of Tanzu Advanced.”

A related announcement is a free tier of VMware Tanzu Mission Control. Tanzu Mission Control Starter is a multi-cloud, multi-cluster Kubernetes management solution available as a SaaS service, that provides global visibility and policy control over Kubernetes clusters— whether on-premises or in any public clouds.

“This no-cost version of Tanzu Mission Control called Tanzu Mission Control Starter will be coming soon,” Drewitz said. “When you bring these two together, Tanzu Community Edition and Tanzu Mission Control Starter, it’s really about giving people that no-cost entry point to get started, whether it’s just for their own kind of learning, or they’re really just trying to get started in that that frictionless way and then advance along a journey with us.”

Another key announcement is the second phase of Tanzu Application Platform Beta introduced at SpringOne, to deliver the full end-to-end developer and operator experience.

“The Tanzu application platform beta kicked off at SpringOne at the beginning of September,” Drewitz said. “We’re going to be building on this with phase two of the beta, which adds in more of the capabilities and vision that was laid out at SpringOne. It’s really about making it easier for developers to build applications on Kubernetes instead of having to write lines and lines and lines in order to configure their applications.

“What we’re adding in this stage of the beta are things like IDE plugins that  get right into that developer workflow where they are working,” Drewitz said. “We are also adding in supply chain choreography. This is an essential part of a platform that helps take code, all the way through those stages and steps until it’s ready to be deployed in production. That’s something that is configurable and modular but we provide a useful starting point and then those app/ops teams are able to then go in and customize avenues to bring their own opinions to what that supply chain needs to include.”

Other enhancements to the beta include improved security features for signing, scanning and storing images along the path to production, service bindings that let operators specify how endpoints and credentials from data services are exposed to workloads in a portable and Kubernetes-native way, a source controller that lets app developers create or update workloads from local source code, and a Convention Service framework for platform operators to configure policies of deployed workloads for best practices.

“We’re excited to have phase two of this development coming on fast, just a month after we announced the initial beta,” Drewitz noted.

Finally, VMware is delivering a much-requested VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, NVIDIA GPU support for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, supported in VMware vSphere, AWS, and Azure environments.

“We’ve taken one of the most requested features for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and we’re making that available, and that’s GPU support,” Drewitz said. “GPU support is really essential for building those AI workloads where folks are making use of kind of the different processing capabilities and GPU. We’re also partnering with NVIDIA in order to certify if you’re using VMware vSphere with Tanzu, and that is then certified to make use of those NVIDIA components underneath. So this then allows developers to be able to build those AI workloads on Kubernetes.  We also are making that GPU support available in AWS and Azure as well.”