VMware Project Pacific beta makes vSphere Kubernetes-native

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VMware has unveiled a beta programme for Project Pacific, its initiative to transform its venerable vSphere software into a Kubernetes-native application platform.

The move is part of a wider strategy from VMware to stay relevant to its customers as they embark on their own cloud-native journeys.

Project Pacific was first disclosed at VMworld US in August, but an early private beta has now been made available to select customers at VMworld Europe this week. VMware said it plans to expand access to the Project Pacific beta programme at a later date.

Customers interested in Project Pacific can request access here to the beta programme.

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The move amounts to a wholescale re-architecting of vSphere to use Kubernetes as its control plane for deploying and managing software in containers. The aim is to allow organisations to move to development and operation of modern applications on vSphere while continuing to take advantage of their existing investments in technology, tools and skillsets.

For a developer, Project Pacific should look like a Kubernetes cluster where they can use Kubernetes declarative syntax to manage cloud resources, according to VMware.

However, from an IT admin’s viewpoint, Project Pacific should continue to look like the same old vSphere, but with the added ability to manage an entire application instead of just the individual virtual machines that are used to host it.  

Part of the way it achieves this is through vSphere Native Pods, a runtime built into vSphere that converges virtual machine and container runtime functionality. It means that vSphere can handle virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, and pods natively.

VMware vice president and CTO of Cloud Platform Kit Colbert said in a video about Project Pacific that the company is making these changes because applications have changed.

“Apps today are more heterogeneous and complex. An app is no longer composed of one or two VMs, but is now a more complex combination of VMs, containers, application services, and more.”

This causes problems for both developers and IT operators, according to Colbert, because developers can’t use the tools they want and IT can’t properly secure or manage the applications in their entirety.

“But vSphere has already solved these challenges for traditional apps, so the question is, how can we evolve vSphere so it can do the same for modern applications as well?”

Project Pacific is part of a wider initiative called VMware Tanzu which includes management tools to enable to organisations deploy and manage Kubernetes and container-based application infrastructure anywhere, including on-premises and the cloud.

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