If you’re an active reader of this blog, you probably have more than just a surface understanding of the growth of cloud native architectures, DevOps, containers and the benefits of Kubernetes. However, with VMworld 2021 upon us, we frequently hear requests from long-time VMware customers and users who are just starting out their Kubernetes journey, looking to understand the various flavors of VMware Tanzu and Kasten by Veeam’s support for data protection on the various Tanzu platforms and offerings.
A (Very) Short History Lesson in Virtualization, Containers and Kubernetes
It’s well-known that VMware has been a leading pioneer in server virtualization since the release of VMware Workstation 1.0 back in May of 1999, and the bare metal ESX hypervisor in March 2001. Server virtualization quickly became the de facto model for scalable applications in on-premises data centers, and the backbone for cloud computing.
Around 2011 or so, a company emerged by the name of Docker that made a technology from 2008 called LXC, short for “Linux Containers,” mainstream. Containers are a way of packaging up applications in a similar way as a virtual machine packages computing resources, but without the need of a host operating system such as Windows or Linux. This allows a “containerized” application to be much more lightweight, secure and easily scalable, as you only need to include the important bits of the application and none of the host OS. The growth of Docker’s popularity and the use of containers started a fundamental shift in the way applications are developed, deployed and scaled.
Why the Shift?
Containerized workloads offer significant benefits to customers of all sizes, as an Analysis by VMware indicates. These benefits increase business velocity while reducing the cost of operations -- a significant advantage for businesses on their digital transformation journey.
As containers became more ubiquitous within development operations, container orchestration and management became necessary. A project started by Google called “Kubernetes,” Greek for "helmsman," eventually became the winner in the race for container management systems around 2018, and thereafter became the backbone for services such as Amazon’s EKS and Microsoft Azure’s AKS container management systems.
Enter VMware Tanzu
VMware dove head-first into the Kubernetes space through a series of acquisitions (Pivotal, Heptio, Bitnami), which became the foundation of a Kubernetes-focused portfolio of products with the moniker “Tanzu.”
(VMware Tanzu Portfolio - Source vmware.com)
In 2019, VMware introduced a re-architecture of VMware vSphere with Kubernetes as its control plane -- and so began the journey to manage cloud resources such as virtual machines, disks and networks. As a result, managing containerized applications instead of individual VMs was possible, accelerating the development of modern apps. Leveraging Kubernetes-native APIs to access resources such as compute, networking and storage helped IT teams rapidly provision and provide resources for development and scalable operations.
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and vSphere with Tanzu
Where things get a bit murky for those dipping their toes into the Tanzu pool is where to draw a distinction between the two major “flavors” of Tanzu that are available today. To understand the fundamental differences, think of the different editions of Tanzu Kubernetes running on versus in a vSphere environment:
- Tanzu “On” vSphere: VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, or simply TKG, and TKG-multicloud (TKGm) are upstream Kubernetes distributions with binaries that are tested, signed, and supported by VMware. Because TKG runs as standard Linux based VMs, TKG/TKGm fall into the category of running on vSphere platforms. The node VMs run alongside traditional VMs for a more flexible environment that hasn’t been totally dedicated to Kubernetes. TKG/TKGm is supported on vSphere 6.7u3 and newer. Other distributions of Kubernetes that run on vSphere and fall into this category are Red Hat OpenShift, Suse Rancher and Amazon EKS Anywhere.
(Tanzu Kubernetes Grid – Multicloud Deployment Options – Source VMware.com)
- Tanzu “In” vSphere: vSphere with Tanzu (or sometimes referred to as Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service) creates a Kubernetes control plane directly in the hypervisor layer, making it tightly coupled into the vSphere UI itself, including vCenter SSO, the Content Library, vSphere networking, vSphere storage, vSphere HA and DRS and vSphere security. Ultimately, this lets you create, operate and manage Tanzu Kubernetes clusters natively and seamlessly in vSphere. The latest version vSphere with Tanzu is only supported on vSphere 7.0u2 and newer.
(Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service Architecture and Components – Source VMware.com)
Where Kasten K10 Lands on Tanzu
Though this shift to a more DevOps view of application management is compelling, it’s important to understand the impact of Kubernetes on backup and recovery. Some of the features that make Kubernetes a powerful application deployment environment can also create new challenges when it comes to managing and protecting your data.
Implementing Kubernetes-native backup for your applications is critical to protect your data in the event of an accident, system failure, or even a deliberate attack. With a proper native backup strategy in place, you’ll feel more confident when utilizing the powerful, yet complex Kubernetes platform.
Kasten K10 by Veeam is fully validated and supported on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and other upstream Kubernetes distributions that run “on” vSphere. Kasten K10 has native vSphere integrations for persistent volume data protection with the vSphere CSI provider. Kasten has worked closely with VMware to tightly integrate its Kubernetes-native data management capabilities with VMware's Cloud Native Storage (CNS) constructs and First Class Disks (FCDs), to optimize backups with capabilities such as Change Block Tracking (CBT).
(Kasten K10 Infrastructure Profile Configuration – source docs.kasten.io)
So what changes with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service from a data protection technology perspective? Traditional vCenter API and CSI interaction doesn’t work quite the same with the tightly integrated control plane. New APIs for data protection are being worked on to allow third-party Kubernetes-native data protection apps such as Kasten K10 to be able to call vSphere native snapshots and directly access the underlying disk resources required for proper data protection. We also see a growing and diverse set of data services and applications in this Kubernetes-native environment that need protection at a logical level.
Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements, and come visit us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2021 to hear as the companies continue to build on our rich partnership and accelerate the innovation in this exciting space!
Getting Kasten K10 on Tanzu with VMware Marketplace
VMware Marketplace is the one stop shop for third-party and open-source solutions that interoperate with VMware platforms. For customers, the Marketplace offers a way to enhance and accelerate the cloud adoption journey.
With a catalog of over 2,100 validated and secure solutions, the Marketplace empowers application developers, DevOps managers, IT admins, security admins with a robust ecosystem of solutions that spans across a variety of solution areas and form factors. Partners leverage VMware Marketplace to demonstrate solution compatibility, educate and engage with prospective customers.
Until now, the Marketplace has enabled solution discovery and deployment of ecosystem solutions such as Kasten K10. Soon, VMware will enable customers to also purchase solutions via the Marketplace by launching commercial transactability at VMworld 2021. This enhancement of Marketplace capabilities underscores VMware’s commitment to supporting partners and customers through the new enterprise marketplace-driven software economy. Kasten K10 can be found on the VMware Marketplace at marketplace.cloud.vmware.com.
VMworld 2021 Sessions
Don’t forget to register for the following sessions at VMworld 2021!
Untangle the Kubernetes and Data Conundrum with Veeam [MCL2833S]
New platforms, models and applications are the standard today. In this session, Veeam will take the fear out of protecting VMware workloads on premises, in the cloud and running Kubernetes while preserving complete mobility of your data. Whether you need to migrate an application to the cloud, provide better availability on premises, or protect Kubernetes applications in VMware vSphere, Veeam has you covered for any workload -- even business-critical ones.
Michael Cade, Senior Technologist, Kasten by Veeam
Quell Cloud Chaos: Data Protection for Any VMware Cloud Solution with Veeam [MCL2832S]
In a multi-cloud world, not one cloud offering suits every workload. How do you ensure your data can be backed up and recovered for every workload, even across disparate cloud offerings? Veeam delivers modern data protection across any VMware offering, including the cloud and on premises. This session will tour how cloud technologies can be consumed through the VMware technology ecosystem.
Anthony Spiteri, Senior Global Technologist, Product Strategy, Veeam
David Hill, Global Technologist, Veeam Software
Integrating Backup Into Your GitOps CI/CD Pipeline [CODE2809]
The ability to deploy code and version code has been a de facto requirement, and a reason we have CI/CD pipelines for our application development. But with Kubernetes, in particular, we are seeing a closer tie between code and data. Code being deployed can affect and change your data, and for that reason, we need to consider protecting data as part of our Continuous Development pipelines. In this session, we will focus on how we can incorporate backup actions into your pipeline to ensure that any code changes will start by creating a restore point, be it a snapshot or an export to another external repository. We will then demo a failure scenario into the environment pipeline, to simulate how a configmap can manipulate data to cause data loss. Then we need a way to bring the data back!
Michael Cade, Senior Technologist, Kasten by Veeam
Designing for Disaster: Design vSphere for Disaster Recovery with Veeam [MCL2834S]
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. From full site and storage array failures to natural disasters you can or can’t predict, or even malicious actors inside your environment, your business is at risk. Whatever the case, you need a plan. But all disaster recovery plans are not created equal. How do you ensure your VMware vSphere infrastructure is designed to ensure recovery? Join Veeam to learn how to avoid these dastardly deeds and ensure all workloads can be quickly recovered.
Melissa Palmer, Senior Technologist, Veeam
The Rise of B2B Marketplaces and the Role of VMware Marketplace [VI1460]
B2B tech marketplaces are a disruptive trend. According to industry estimates, a substantial portion of software spend over the next three years will be via online tech marketplaces. Enterprises are increasingly looking for an easy discovery, trial, buy and deploy motion. VMware Marketplace offers more than 2,000 third-party and open-source solutions to VMware customers that can be deployed on a variety of VMware environments. For customers, this offers a superior self-serve experience with access to continuously validated and securely delivered ecosystem solutions. For our partners, VMware Marketplace provides access to a global customer base. Join us in this panel as we speak to a few VMware partners to understand the importance of a robust solutions ecosystem, and how their solutions on the VMware Marketplace help solve key customer issues.
Questions? Contact the Marketplace team at VMwareMarketplace@vmware.com.
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Adam Bergh focuses on Cloud Native Technical Partnerships and Architectures for Kasten by Veeam. Having been on the forefront on every major shift in data center storage and communications, from analog interconnectivity to cloud computing, he is known as a subject matter expert in enterprise storage technologies, hybrid cloud solutions, and data availability. Adam is a frequent speaker at global industry events delivering the value and vision of truly integrated solutions that solve real world problems.