Everyone attending VMworld last week no doubt saw the slogan “Make Your Mark” predominantly displayed everywhere. Whether it was in the Moscone Center, the San Francisco airport or the highways and byways leading to downtown San Francisco, VMware sought to make an impression on attendees. Having now left VMworld 2019, perhaps the most indelible mark that VMware left on me and other attendees was its intentions to make Kubernetes a centerpiece in its future offerings.
Pivotal Software Acquisition Tips Its Kubernetes Hand
In some ways, VMware tipped its hand that it planned to prominently showcase Kubernetes at VMworld in the days leading up to the show. On the Thursday before VMworld began, VMware announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pivotal Software. The press release noted this acquisition “positions VMware to deliver the most comprehensive, enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based portfolio for modern applications.”
In meetings with VMware executives, they shared that when Pivotal Software made the flip to focus on Kubernetes, they felt that Pivotal had to be part of the VMware family. As more enterprises of all size seek to bring applications to market more quickly that run on containers, they need a platform like Kubernetes to build, run, and manage them.
It also seems that VMware’s acquisition of Pivotal Software was driven, in part, by a need for VMware to remain a strategic partner in enterprise accounts. Enterprises adopted Kubernetes more quickly than many expected. Enterprises want a common platform for application development regardless of which cloud they use. Kubernetes provides enterprises this flexibility to develop apps in whatever cloud they want using the same underlying platform.
Carbon Black Secures VMware’s Future with Kubernetes
At the same time it announced its Pivotal acquisition, VMware also announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Carbon Black. Though not as clearly connected to Kubernetes as the Pivotal Software acquisition, the Carbon Black acquisition indicated that VMware intends to make security a priority and not an afterthought as it rolls Kubernetes out to the enterprise. Bringing Carbon Black into its fold immediately gives it that opportunity to secure the enterprise cloud.
VMware vSphere: Meet Kubernetes
VMware then built on those acquisitions leading up to VMworld by announcing during the show its new Tanzu Portfolio. The Tanzu Portfolio will include products and services that transform the way enterprise build, run and manage software on Kubernetes.
VMware then made what was its most notable announcement during VMworld by sharing that it planned to focus on transforming VMware vSphere into a Kubernetes native platform in a future release. Enterprise could then manage that new Kubernetes-inspired vSphere environment along with other Kubernetes clusters regardless of where they run with VMware’s Tanzu Mission Control.
Kubernetes the Center Piece of VMware’s Future
Anyone wondering what the future of the enterprise cloud infrastructure will look like in the years to come need wonder no more. In a nutshell:
- Applications will be built in the cloud.
- They will be run in containers.
- Kubernetes will orchestrate this environment.
- Security will be integrated, not an add-on.
- The underlying cloud will become a ubiquitous resource on which Kubernetes will reside.
VMware wants to be at the center of this emerging data center stack, providing the virtual infrastructure to support it. Based on its acquisitions leading up to VMworld and the announcements VMware made at the show, VMware is primed to deliver on this vision. Of course, as is the case with any vision this broad, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This remains the test for VMware.
VMware has placed Kubernetes as the centerpiece of its vision for the future. To realize that vision, it must first complete its acquisition of Pivotal Software and Carbon Black and bring them into the fold. Once done, it must then also execute upon its Tanzu initiative and bring VMware Vision and Kubernetes together as one in a future release. How soon it will complete these tasks and how well the pieces work together will determine if VMware’s vision today becomes a reality tomorrow.