Google sponsored project Borg to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in 2016. Consequently, Kubernetes became one of the most thriving open-source projects in the history of IT. After the usual movement through the hype cycle of Container Orchestration technologies, K8 is now mature and ready for enterprise grade production environments.
Moreover, many platforms like VMware with Tanzu, Red Hat and OpenShift or AKS by Azure, exist. These cloud providers offer their flavored K8s products, that fit into their ecosystem and heavily rely on automation and security.
Now, companies that adopted the K8s stack and started operating microservices arrive at new challenges. For example, managing multi tenancy and multiple cluster environments.
So, Tanzu Mission Control (TMC) is a relatively new product which offers diverse functions to supervise these environments in a single pane of glass. It reached General Availability on June 4, 2021. … and I already stressed that out, but more about hands-on soon.
vSphere with Tanzu, the easy and integrated way to use Kubernetes in Enterprise environments, is getting a lot of traction currently. One of the main benefits of this solution is the transparent way to consume already existing storage resources.
So, this article describes the different possibilities and essential features that enable consuming persistent storage in your container applications based on Kubernetes.
The Tanzu Way
In fact, Tanzu arrives in different editions. Enterprise Plus is mandatory for your ESXi base cluster. In addition, an add-on, with currently three available Tanzu editions: Basic, Standard and Advanced, makes everything possible. Then you enable Tanzu Workload Management in vCenter.
Thus, some requirements exist, like a supported & configured networking and load balancing solution. Furthermore, a lot of different architectural possibilities and design decisions have to be resolved.
Anyway, you need storage resources to provide persistent storage for on one hand your supervisor cluster and on the other your workload clusters for your modern application landscape.
Tough Tanzu means you can operate virtual machines besides Kubernetes clusters with the same interface, resources, and transparency like you have done it for years. Finally, this is the way to your on-premise hybrid cloud environment.
vSphere Storage Resources
Basically, all types of shared storage in vSphere are also supported in Tanzu. On one hand, you got the NFS Shares (NAS), FC or iSCSI LUNs (SAN), the exotic vVOLs (SAN/NAS) and on the other the fully integrated way via. vSAN (HCI) with special features on top.
A mandatory part for usage of storage in Tanzu is the proper configuration of a Storage Policy. Depending on the type of storage, you can utilize various adjustable policy-based features like IOPs limits.
Of course, you can create countless different storage policies and create your own schema to provide an exact fulfillment of your requirements. Besides, people like to call it Gold, Silver, and Bronze depending on the performance and availability demands.
Provisioning Storage for Tanzu Guest Cluster
The consumption of storage in Kubernetes is straightforward through the abstraction and automatic conversion of storage policies to storage classes.
Storage classes are what you consume in Kubernetes to provide your persistent volumes through persistent volume claims.
Actually, vSphere provides an effortless way to group workload clusters into vSphere Namespaces. The vSphere admin has full governance and furnishes these namespaces with the appropriate resources for the developer.
Besides access policies through vSphere single sign on (SSO) you also attach your storage policies to the vSphere namespaces, and you are ready to rock.
Maximum Integration with vSAN
Maximum integration and availability through awesome features that come with vSphere and vSAN 7 U3!
vSAN is now capable of supplying NFS and SMB file services in an easy and automated way. These file services now are fully integrated in vSphere with Tanzu. They provide read write many volumes (RWX) for container services.
This is a giant leap forward to make the life cushier for the vSphere admin and the developer. Different containers can read and write into the same persistent volume (PV).
Moreover, vSAN stretched cluster / fault domain functionality works for Kubernetes environments and is partially supported. VMware’s R&D is working heavily in the background, designing and providing new features as soon as possible.
Media, Resources, and Call to Action
Do you want to hear more? In September 2021, we launched our Podcast (German):
We all feel it. The IT world is developing at a rapid pace. Currently, the traditional application sphere is being reinvented. Web 3.0 incoming from many angles. Microservices, distributed systems, scaling, automation and a multi cloud universe heavily rely on networking.
Better, faster and stronger services emerge and make our life easier. New concepts are required and appear on the horizon.
So, I may present you the next iteration of datacenter infrastructure:
SoC (System on Chip) based smart network interface cards (NICs) =DPU
VMworld is one of the biggest Enterprise-IT events in the world. This year, unfortunately again like last year, an online only event. It will take place from 5th to 7th October and will be packed with over 1000 sessions covering both traditional and innovative topics on what is important in the IT sphere.
vSphere 7 U2 was released on the 9th of March 2021 and brought a bunch of nice features for various use cases.
Soon after the release I could upgrade my lab vCenter 7 U1 to U2. Easy through the VAMI: https://vcenter.fqdn:5480. Then I deployed a couple of nested ESXi 7 U2 hosts and came in touch with the new surface.
If you beak the update down, improvements for vCenter, ESXi and vSAN emerge.
Now let’s start with an overview and proceed to my top features and their content.
Rapid change is among us. We are flooded with new concepts and technologies. This article will dive into the new possibilities to host cloud native workloads in the vSphere environment. Actually, VMware released a new suite of products in April 2020 named Tanzu.
Finally, I finished designing and implementing my new home-lab environment based on VMware vSphere.
Thus, I could deploy and test many new VMware products and features like vSphere 7 U2, vSAN, vRealize Automation 8.3 and vRealize Orchestrator 8.3. Meanwhile, I feel in love with infrastructure as code. So, I created and edited several JSON & YAML files to get my infrastructure up and running.
In this week the time came to build up a nested environment that is capable to run vSphere with Kubernetes.
Thanks to vSphere 7 U2 Tanzu is now supported with three different load balancing setups: NSX-T the most expensive, HA proxy which is free and new in U2, NSX advanced load balancer essentials free as well. Without load balancing neither Container nor Kubernetes will work properly.
My choice for lab was HA proxy because my nested environment was built stable & lightweight on vSphere 7 U1.
After a very rough and transforming year of 2020, I am very thrilled to announce that my efforts have been rewarded with the title of vExpert 2021.
Twice a year you have the possibility to apply for this title. So to receive this honor, you have to prove that you are eligible. Furthermore, I had to decide which path to apply for.
Therefore, I had the choice between the customer, partner and evangelist path. Despite my new employer: interface systems GmbH has the highest tier and is a principal partner in data center virtualization, I choose the evangelist path. This was the logical choice because I was working, during the application for vExpert, just four months for this company.
Meanwhile, I am very settled with this company and already confidently advised numerous customers, was speaker on several workshops, contributed in the VMTN forum, blogged and absolved trainings and certifications. A new and exciting world I arrived in.
Furthermore, I could refresh my implementation expert certification in December 2020 (VCIX-DCV). Now I have all the prerequisites to overmaster the last challenge of becoming one of 300 VMware Design Experts. Just a project with sufficient complexity has to be found :-).
My next articles will be either about new technologies in the VMware realm like TANZU or my other favorite topic: sports. I am currently “getting wintered” like Ross Edgley would say. That means I am training harshly despite the adverse weather. Currently, I am reaching my new height of VO2Max 62!