The new product joins VMware’s other two Kubernetes offerings: Enterprise PKS, the container orchestration technology it co-developed with Pivotal and Google, and its hosted on-premises Cloud PKS software.
In a blog posted today by Paul Fazzone, VMware’s general manager for cloud native apps, described Essential PKS as made up of upstream Kubernetes, reference architectures to inform design decisions, and professional support to guide customers through upgrades and troubleshooting.
Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC, noted that Essential PKS is “basically just a renaming of the Heptio product.” But it requires a large service component to deploy it, which benefits from VMware’s experience and size, he added.
Some customers may want two versions of PKS or all three, said Wendy Cartee, senior director of product marketing for cloud native apps at VMware, in an interview. “Our portfolio offers a comprehensive set of choices for customers who want to consume Kubernetes in different ways,” she said.
Partly because of that flexibility, she said VMware offers superior Kubernetes capabilities over competitors. VMware bought Heptio for an undisclosed amount last November. More recently, IBM bought Red Hat in November for $34 billion. Red Hat offers an OpenShift platform, which includes the Kubernetes-based Tectonic platform of CoreOS.
With Heptio and other products, “our team isn’t shy in stating our objective — to establish VMware as the leading enabler or Kubernetes and cloud native operation,” Fazzone wrote.
Cloud PKS, announced last June, is still in beta. Enterprise PKS, and in about a month Essential PKS, can be purchased on a one- or three-year subscription. Cartee noted that Essential PKS technology has been successfully used by Heptio customers for some time.
VMware Essential PKS “should be viewed as the Heptio acquisition shining through,” Fazzone added. He promised that many more open source contributions and product innovations are coming.
Chen said Essential PKS is for customers that want a customizable platform and might have their own development process, perhaps even a platform-as-a-service they have built. “I think it’s really meant to cover a different kind of customer, usually large companies, with teams that have lots of cloud native experience and know exactly what they want to build.”
A subscription for Essential PKS will likely be cheaper than Enterprise PKS, but Essential will require “an extensive services engagement to make it work,” which could vary widely depending on the customer and their objectives, Chen added.