AUSTIN, Texas - Today at the Dockercon 2017 conference, VMware announced that an integration between its NSX network virtualization software and Photon OS has been significantly improved. Photon OS is a lightweight Linux distribution developed by VMware to house containers.Paul Fazzone, general manager of native cloud applications at VMware, said that NSX can now be used to create virtual networks on a pod level within a group of Kubernetes that runs on top of Photon OS.
In addition, VMware also incorporates DHCP services along with support for overlapping IP addresses across subnets, floating IP addresses and multiple routers within a deployment. VMware is also providing IT organizations with more granular control over Kubernetes clusters along with tighter integration with VMware vSAN storage software and Microsoft Active Directory and LDAP-based network directories.These capabilities collectively make it possible to automatically isolate container applications that run on top of Kubernetes using micro-segmentation and virtual firewalls, Fazzone said."We are automating networking at the container level," says Fazzone.
PhotonPhoton OS was originally developed by VMware to provide a Linux operating system for a wide variety of applications that the company makes available to customers to deploy tools such as VMware vCenter. To address the need to manage the containers, VMware developed a Photon driver. The controller and Photon OS are collectively packaged together to create the photon platform.Fazzone said the Photon platform enables IT organizations that have already invested in virtual networks and VMware storage technologies to support container applications. Rather than having to deploy additional storage platforms and networks, IT organizations must be able to standardize on a common layer of networks and storage services for both legacy and emerging cloud applications, Fazzone said.
Through the photon platform, VMware is trying to navigate a major shift in the way products and technologies are introduced into the enterprise. Thanks to increased DevOps processes, Fazzone said that developers today exert much more influence over platform options. The Photon Platform is designed to help bridge the gap between IT operations teams that have standardized on VMware software and native cloud application developers. That's critical, Fazzone said, because in the absence of a platform like Photon, IT organizations will find themselves duplicating network and storage services they already have in place.
Dennis Smith, a Gartner industry analyst, said closing that gap is critical if VMware wants to remain relevant to the company."They have about 18 months to prove they can be part of the larger container community," Smith said.Today, most containers are deployed in a public cloud or on top of a virtual machine (VM). In these environments, VMware provides VMware Integrated Containers (VIC) so that it is possible to manage the containers running on top of VMware VMs.
A new update from 1.1 to VIC announced today provides a new user interface for container management.But as more IT organizations become familiar with the containers, a much larger percentage of containers will end up being deployed on bare metal servers to significantly increase server utilization. Because containers essentially replace virtual machines on those systems, VMware is clearly trying to position itself as a virtual network provider and storage fabric that can support any type of application regardless of whether it runs on a virtual machine or a metal server naked.