Management for both VMware and Pivotal has been complimentary about PKS, though mostly about how it has helped to sell other products.
VMware management said it has been linking the PKS service to its NSX networking portfolio. CEO Pat Gelsinger explained during the company’s recent analyst call tied to VMware’s first fiscal quarter results that “for us the near-term PKS biggest impact is the networking piece.”
VMware’s NSX networking portfolio was a significant business driver for the company during its most recent quarter.
Pivotal CEO Rob Mee cited a similar cross-selling benefit of the PKS platform.
“We’re seeing a lot of adoption from existing customers,” Mee said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of Pivotal’s fiscal first quarter 2018 earnings call. “A lot of our existing customers are investing in PKS. They have workloads that they want to run – they aren’t necessarily a great fit for our [Application Service] offering. And so, they’re really glad that Pivotal is bringing a Kubernetes offering to market and it runs on the same platform as PAS.”
Mee added that a lot of that interest is also being driven by its partner, “particularly among VMware customers looking to add container management to their private clouds.”
“The VMware connection there is very helpful because we are activating their large sales force to help us go to market there,” Mee said.
Neither company broke out specific sales numbers for PKS.
Both VMware and Pivotal are Dell Technologies’ brands.
“Our checks have not revealed any particular interest so far and it remains to be seen whether this will meaningfully affect [VMware’s] container positioning in the long run,” said Gregg Moskowitz, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen & Company.
Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT, said that while VMware and Pivotal pitched PKS as an easier way to deploy and manage Kubernetes,“whether or not customers agree remains to be seen.”
PKS was initially announced last August at VMworld 2017. It was launched as a commercial version of the open source Project Kubo and designed to allow customers to deploy and manage Kubernetes on-premises. The product is targeted at enterprises and service providers to support production-ready Kubernetes on VMware vSphere and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Pivotal’s Mee likened PKS to what Red Hat has with its OpenShift platform.
King explained the PKS platform tackles challenges enterprises are seeing in terms of migrating the open source Kubernetes project into a controllable production environment.
“What we’re seeing with PKS is a truly collaborative effort that blends the strengths of its partners into a solution that should be of interest to many of their respective enterprise customers,” King said.
A recent customer survey conducted by cloud security platform provider Sysdig found that 82 percent of Kubernetes deployments were of the upstream open source version. By comparison, the study found that 14 percent of deployments were using a managed version like Red Hat’s OpenShift or Rancher Labs’ managed version.
Bill Shelton, vice president of product management at VMware, described PKS as being based “on more traditional VMware delivery models.” That would be in contrast to the VMware Kubernetes Engine (VKE) platform the company launched earlier this week. VKE is a fully managed service offered through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. This allows customers to consume Kubernetes without the need to get their hands dirty with the deployment and operation of Kubernetes clusters.
Rhett Dillingham, vice president and senior analyst for cloud services at Moor Insights & Strategy, said Pivotal is better served to promote its Application Service (PAS) over PKS.
“Pivotal is fundamentally in the business of delivering cloud-enabled digital transformation to enterprise by training organizations in speeding up app development using cloud-native development practices,” Dillingham wrote in an email. “The orchestration platform customers choose to consume that value on is secondary, but since Pivotal is the clear leader of the Cloud Foundry project but not Kubernetes, its preference for maximizing its differentiation will be to focus customers on its PAS offering over PKS.”
As for the latest PKS updates, King noted that some of the more prominent ones included the expansion of availability zones and the deeper integration with VMware’s management tools. These include the vRealize Log Insight and Harbor secured container registry.
Wendy Cartee, senior director of product marketing at VMware, explained that the multiple availability zones allows for container worker nodes to be distributed across different hosting locations. Cartee also said the vRealize Log Insight update pairs with the inclusion of VMware’s Wavefront cloud monitoring tool to “deliver increased Kubernetes and container monitoring in a seamless way for our users.”
Dillingham cited the addition of no downtime updates as also being significant.
“Avoiding cluster control system downtime – even during declared maintenance windows – is important for avoiding business impact from any period when developers cannot deploy their applications,” Dillingham noted.
Another PKS updates is support for Kubernetes 1.10, which was released nearly three months ago. No word yet on when support will be added for the Kubernetes 1.11 update announced this week.
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