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An introduction to VMware Tanzu Mission Control

You can now implement Tanzu Mission Control to manage and set policies on Kubernetes clusters across an entire environment -- on premises and in the cloud.

Kubernetes was VMware's buzzword at VMworld 2019, and Tanzu Mission Control is the new VMware product with the broadest view of Kubernetes. Tanzu Mission Control enables VMware admins to manage Kubernetes clusters no matter where they reside.

To run large numbers of Kubernetes clusters rather than managing individual clusters, you need a unifying management console. If those Kubernetes clusters are spread over multiple accounts with multiple cloud providers or on-premises platforms, you can use Tanzu Mission Control to unify your management.

Tanzu Mission Control enables an IT team to set policies around Kubernetes clusters but still enable self-service provisioning for developers, ensuring high visibility and control. VMware previewed Tanzu Mission Control at VMworld 2019, and the product is now available for customers.

What is VMware Tanzu?

If vRealize is the brand for VMware's legacy, virtualization-centered management products, Tanzu is the brand for its newer cloud-native management products. At this stage, Tanzu is all about Kubernetes, but over time, you can expect the Tanzu portfolio to branch out and encompass more cloud-native application development and management capabilities.

Tanzu's capabilities include:

  • multi-platform and multi-cloud Kubernetes management;
  • observability of Kubernetes clusters for performance and troubleshooting;
  • cluster creation and disposal for developer self-service; and
  • centralized, policy-based control for admins.

What Kubernetes does

Kubernetes solves the problem of taking containerized applications in testing and making those same container images run in production. Specifically, containers package applications and move them rapidly and reliably from development to production. Kubernetes helps admins and developers run many copies of a container for production workloads. The combination of containers and Kubernetes enables rapid application innovation and creates a more agile digital business.

Tanzu Mission Control is designed to provide a single pane of glass and control hundreds of Kubernetes clusters.

Google created Kubernetes as an open source project tailored to public cloud environments. Most public cloud providers have a small number of applications -- usually, a few dozen -- that they operate at a massive scale for millions of users. Large organizations using those public cloud platforms often have hundreds of applications they run at a medium scale for between hundreds and tens of thousands of users. A cloud provider might have dozens of developers for each application; enterprise customers might have an average of one or two applications per developer. The decisions that suit public cloud providers don't always suit medium- to large-size organizations, and Kubernetes helps bridge that gap.

Container security and Tanzu Mission Control

Kubernetes has become the de-facto standard for deploying container-based applications. It provides a standard way to run container-based applications no matter where they're deployed. All major public cloud platforms and many enterprise infrastructure vendors offer Kubernetes-based services that enable companies to deploy their containerized applications wherever it makes sense -- whether that's in the cloud or on premises.

However, containers offer relatively weak security isolation compared to other methods of application packaging and deployment, such as VMs. Kubernetes clusters are designed for cloud providers that require thousands of identical containers for a single application. The result is that an enterprise business might need to protect hundreds of production Kubernetes clusters. Because Kubernetes clusters can run anywhere and containers increase an organization's security needs, many large organizations find they require a central control, deployment and policy platform to manage their containerized, Kubernetes-run environments. Tanzu Mission Control is that platform.

Tanzu Mission Control is designed to provide a single pane of glass and control hundreds of Kubernetes clusters. It also enables admins and developers to create and destroy Kubernetes clusters as required. With the large number of Kubernetes clusters an enterprise business can require, consistent cluster access and build standards are essential, and policy-based management is a central tenet of Tanzu Mission Control. Mission Control gives admins security control, access to clusters, data protection and audit compliance.

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