AUSTIN, Texas — Today at the Dockercon 2017 conference, VMware announced that an integration between its NSX network virtualization software and Photon OS has been significantly enhanced. Photon OS is a lightweight distribution of Linux developed by VMware to host containers.
In addition, VMware is also embedding DHCP services along with support for overlapping IP addresses across subnets, floating IP addresses, and multiple routers within a deployment. VMware is also providing IT organizations with more granular control over Kubernetes clusters along with tighter integration with VMware vSAN storage software and network directories based on Microsoft Active Directory and LDAP.
Those capabilities collectively make it possible to automatically isolate container applications running on top of Kubernetes by employing micro-segmentation and virtual firewalls, said Fazzone.
“We’re automating container level networking,” says Fazzone.
Photon OS was originally developed by VMware to provide a Linux operating system for a wide variety of appliances the company makes available to customers to deploy tools such as VMware vCenter. To address the need to manage containers, VMware then developed a Photon controller. The controller and Photon OS are collectively packaged together to create the Photon Platform.
Fazzone said the Photon Platform enables IT organizations that have already invested in VMware virtual networking and storage technologies to support container applications. Instead of having to deploy additional networking and storage platforms, IT organizations need to be able to standardize on a common layer of networking and storage service for both legacy and emerging cloud-native applications, said Fazzone.
Via the Photon Platform, VMware is trying to navigate a major shift in the way products and technologies are now introduced into the enterprise. Thanks to the rise of DevOps processes, Fazzone said developers today exercise a lot more influence over platform choices. The Photon Platform is intended to help bridge the gap between IT operations teams that have standardized on VMware software and developers building cloud-native applications. That’s critical, said Fazzone, because in the absence of a platform such as Photon, IT organizations will find themselves duplicating network and storage services they already have in place.
Dennis Smith, an industry analyst with Gartner, said plugging that gap is critical if VMware wants to remain relevant in the enterprise.
“They’ve got about 18 months to show they can be part of the larger container community,” said Smith.
Today, most containers are deployed in either a public cloud or on top of a virtual machine (VM). In those environments, VMware provides VMware Integrated Containers (VIC) to make it possible to manage containers running on top of VMware VMs. A new 1.1 update to VIC announced today provides a new user interface for managing containers.
But as more IT organizations become familiar with containers, a much larger percentage of containers will wind up being deployed on bare metal servers to significantly increase server utilization. As containers essentially replace VMs on those systems, VMware is clearly trying to position itself as a provider of virtual network and storage fabric that can support any type of application regardless of whether it runs on a VM or a bare metal server.