VMware shows off Heptio with Essentials Kubernetes package

Heptio Contour

VMware has expanded its Kubernetes portfolio with Essentials PKS, a simple Kubernetes distribution bundled with reference architectures, and support offerings.

The product is geared towards enterprise users wanting to “build production-grade, cloud-native platforms” with open source software and a need to stay independent from major cloud vendors.

Essentials PKS is the third Kubernetes product VMware has come up with. Before the new launch, its K8s portfolio consisted of Enterprise PKS and Cloud PKS. Cloud PKS is an as-yet-still-in-beta Kubernetes-as-a-service offering, which lets users create fully managed clusters on public clouds via the VMware Cloud services platform.

Meanwhile VMware PKS adds BOSH for lifecycle management, NSX-T for networking and Harbor for registry to the regular Kubernetes distribution. This should help companies to get started with the orchestrator, if they want to run the thing themselves, but welcome validated components for the sake of security and compliance.

VMware Essentials PKS now aims at companies that have experts to hand, or at least plan on gaining expertise, by offering – alongside a CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution, with signed binaries and all – reference architectures as well as support during upgrades, maintenance work, or during troubleshooting. Since it’s pretty much a standard Kubernetes distribution, it can be deployed on all the regular platforms and VMware claims that customers will always get the latest stable upstream release without too much waiting.

According to the product’s FAQs, Essentials PKS also shows ways of using open source projects Sonobuoy (conformance testing and cluster configuration), Contour (multi-cluster ingress control) and Velero (migration and recovery), probably via the reference architectures mentioned.

All of those tools stem from Heptio, a company VMware acquired in November 2018 and the home of Kubernetes co-creators Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, which makes the product one of the first to openly profit from the buy.
Heptio is known for trying to make Kubernetes more accessible – even Beda and McLuckie admit Kubernetes is complex to say the least. However, who’d be better suited to offer enterprise support, and architecture coaching, so while VMware’s Paul Fazzone’s new mission statement of establishing the company as “the leading enabler of Kubernetes and cloud native operation” might sound far fetched, they at least have the tools to get there.