VMware expands Tanzu Application Platform with new Tanzu Application Engine and enhanced multi-cloud options

VMware sees this as a ‘new Tanzu’ and views its enhancements as fundamental to their multi-cloud story going forward.

Purnima Padmanabhan, senior vice president and general manager, Modern Apps and Management Business Group, VMware

LAS VEGAS – As part of their surfeit of non-stop product announcements here at VMware Explore, VMware announced major expansions to the capabilities of their VMware Tanzu cloud-native application platform. They have expanded the services offerings by bringing VMware Aria services onto the Tanzu platform into what is now being called Tanzu Intelligence Services. They are also adding a new component, VMware Tanzu Application Engine, which is now in beta. It will let application teams request business requirements such as high availability, more secure connectivity, and scalability. Other platform enhancements include more multi-cloud Kubernetes options.

“We introduced the VMware Tanzu Application Platform last year, and now we are introducing something amazing,” said Sumit Dhawan, President of VMware, in the opening keynote. “The addition of Tanzu Application engine as part of the platform means less burden and complexity for developers. The expansion of Tanzu intelligence services shows how we have evolved and innovated rapidly.”

“With these announcements, we are talking about a broader expanded launch of the new Tanzu story,” said Purnima Padmanabhan, senior vice president and general manager, Modern Apps and Management Business Group, VMware. “Over 90% of the CIOs we talked to said that app strategy modernization and migration is their top priority because of its impact on agility.”

Padmanabhan gave strong emphasis to the dramatic variations between companies who were cutting edge in applications, compared to those still in the days when a release every quarter was considered to be highly nimble.

“The difference between laggards and leaders in app strategy releases is spectacularly large,” she said. “Laggards do 1-4 releases annually on average, versus leaders, who do 4,000 to 8,000 releases a year. This dramatic speed means that the leaders can respond to market conditions in an instant.  That ability to react to the market is much higher, especially given the challenges of doing this with many tools and many changes. It means that it’s a very high complexity issue to take advantage of the power of cloud. Fundamentally, we had to think about the problem differently, and not just create another vendor solution. We have to help teams integrate with the ecosystem to get power of all these clouds, and to get the speed and agility they need.”

So what does this require?

“You have to have a common data platform that gives a common source of truth, and on top, if you could anchor standards-based golden paths to production anchored by a real-time map of apps and operated by platform engineering, this would let many teams get to scale very rapidly,” Padmanabhan stated.

What Padmanaban termed the new Tanzu platform makes this possible.

“The new Tanzu platform does this by allowing you to accelerate app delivery by using a golden path to production, operating at scale with intent-driven run time and with the ability to optimize, have continuous governance and improvement in performance and security,” she said. “We expanded the definition of the core Tanzu application platform and now it includes portal and secure supply chains and application run-time , bringing networking and compute together to deliver a run time that automatically scales. That is our time-to-application platform.”

Innovations within the platform itself include combining new innovations for platform engineering and operations with the existing capabilities of Tanzu for Kubernetes Operations to help companies deliver a world-class internal platform. The Tanzu Application Engine will let application teams request business requirements like high availability, more secure connectivity, and scalability. Platform engineering will then be able to embed these requirements into a curated Application Space that automatically and continuously enforces them at runtime, even across different Kubernetes clusters and clouds.

“The Tech Preview of Application Engine brings the compute and networking pieces together and automates them,” Padmanaban said. “From a developer perspective, we have a new developer portal with Backstage support and a DIY plug-in. So not only do you have the curated version of Backstage but you can also customize it with your own plug ins. We have also extended support for .NET  Framework 6 and Spring Boot 3.”

Multi-cloud Kubernetes operations have been expanded through the addition of new lifecycle management for Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) as well as AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, and cluster cost visibility for Kubernetes FinOps powered by VMware Tanzu CloudHealth.

“This is a big piece that we have added,” Padmanaban indicated. “We had support for eKS and on-prem for lifecycle Kubernetes management before. Now we have also added AKS for Azure support, as well as support for any other Kubernetes in the wild.”

The new Tanzu Intelligence Services includes portions of the VMware Aria portfolio with the common data platform, although all of Aria remains available as a standalone offering. Tanzu Intelligence Services proactively optimizes cost, performance, and security of applications across clouds with integrated ML/AI capabilities.

“With Intelligence Services, on the cost side, you now have deeper savings with machine learning forecasting in Intelligent Assist, which is now in beta, and Kubernetes right-sizing,” Padmanaban said. “We are now bringing AI/ML based insights and contextual troubleshooting, with a conversational AI interface. Tanzu Guardrails is also now GA, providing continuous policy enforcement and landing zone creation in AWS and Azure.”