VMware added support for Microsoft Azure, deeper integration of Kubernetes, and more security into its latest PKS 1.3 release. The platform is a hosted Kubernetes offering that taps work from sister company Pivotal.
Wendy Cartee, a senior director at VMware, noted that PKS now supports the Azure Cloud Provider Interface (CPI). Microsoft Azure had been missing from past PKS releases, which did include support for VMware vSphere, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Amazon EC2. Cartee said the timing of cloud support was based on “customer requests.” Those customers can now self-provision their Kubernetes deployments across four of the major cloud platforms.
The update also includes support for Kubernetes 1.12. That version of the container orchestration platform was released last fall and is one iteration behind the most current release that was launched in December. Vendors are typically behind one Kubernetes release cycle in their platform support due to testing requirements.
Cartee also cited a number of security updates to the latest PKS platform, which are likely top of mind for many organizations following the recent Kubernetes security flaw found last month. The CVE-2018-1002105 bug impacted all Kubernetes-based products and services, and gave hackers full administrative privileges on any compute node being run in a Kubernetes cluster. The flaw garnered a 9.8 (critical) score out of 10 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).
On the heels of that flaw, Cartee said VMware added a greater emphasis on container security and easing upgrades. She explained that this is helped by PKS’ use of Bosh as a way to manage Kubernetes deployments.
“Through Bosh, our customers were able to upgrade their Kubernetes clusters quickly with rolling upgrades,” Cartee said, explaining how it worked with customers to upgrade the security stance of their deployments. “PKS customers received their update automatically, protecting them before the CVE was generally known about.”
Bosh was originally developed by VMware to make it simpler to deploy a distributed system. Google and Pivotal have since developed a new platform as an extension of Bosh that can be used to deploy Kubernetes.
PKS 1.3 also includes a new “smoke test” for Kubernetes clusters that allows a user to check the impact of an upgrade before actually upgrading a running cluster. It does this by creating an ephemeral Kubernetes cluster after each PKS upgrade but before applying those upgrades to a running cluster. This ensures that the test cluster can be provisioned and basic Kubernetes functions validated before applying those upgrades to a running cluster.
VMware CEO Patrick Gelsinger told attendees at the recent Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference that the company was “seeing [a] good uptick” in adoption of PKS.
PKS was initially announced 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 company likened PKS to what Red Hat has with its OpenShift platform.
PKS was one of the earlier enterprise-ready Kubernetes services, but several other vendors have since launched similar products. These include platforms from Red Hat, Cisco, IBM, and Google.
“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, more recently noted 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.”