Running containers on vSphere – a brief overview about the options

Inspired by a tweet by Kendrick Coleman I decided to quickly summarize the current VMware and Pivotal provided options to running containers on vSphere.

  • vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC): running containers as VMs on vSphere
    • Virtual Container Host (VCH): nearly complete Docker API support, one container per Container Host VM (“Container VM”)
    • Docker Container Hosts (DCH): native Docker API support, multiple containers per Container Host VM
  • Pivotal Container Service (PKS): enterprise grade K8s distribution
  • Pivotal Application Service (PAS); formerly known as Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF): integrated Platform-as-a-Service offering based on Cloud Foundry
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack with Kubernetes (VIOK): running K8s on top of OpenStack
  • Photon OS: open source minimal Linux container host optimized for cloud-native applications for vSphere
  • Container Service Extension for vCloud Director: a vCloud Director add-on that manages the life cycle of Kubernetes clusters for tenants.

 

In addition to these integrated solutions, you can also build or bring your own solution and leverage projects such as:

  • Project Hatchway: persistent storage for Cloud Native Applications
  • NSX: software-defined networking and security for containers
  • Project Harbor: Enterprise-class Container Registry Server based on Docker Distribution
  • Project Admiral: Highly Scalable Container Management Platform
  • Weathervane: application-level performance benchmark designed to allow the investigation of performance tradeoffs in modern virtualized and cloud infrastructures

VMworld 2017 in Las Vegas and Barcelona – my photos

After a longer-than-expected trip back from VMworld Barcelona, I just want to share some of my photos from the recent VMworld events with all of you. I have several posts planned for the next couple of weeks, specifically around VMworld, the newly announced Pivotal Container Service (joint Kubernetes offering from VMware and Pivotal in partnership with Google) and much more. Stay tuned!

Barcelona:

Las Vegas:

vSphere Integrated Containers 1.1 has been released

Great news for all vSphere customers that are looking at ways to run Containers on vSphere. VMware’s product team just released vSphere Integrated Containers 1.1 on VMware.com.

A quick reminder: the VMware product vSphere Integrated Containers references the core Engine (open source project), the Registry (aka open source project Harbor) as well as the Management Portal (aka open source project Admiral). You can pick the individual open components from GitHub and run them on your own terms (see e.g. Harbor example from a recent Golang conference in China) or use the integrated & supported product delivered by VMware.

Key highlights from the Release Notes:

  • A unified OVA installer for all three components
  • Upgrade from version 1.0
  • Official support for vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A unified UI for vSphere Integrated Containers Registry and vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A plug-in for the HTML5 vSphere Client
  • Support for Docker Client 1.13 and Docker API version 1.25
  • Support for using Notary with vSphere Integrated Containers Registry
  • Support for additional Docker commands. For the list of Docker commands that this release supports, see Supported Docker Commands in Developing Container Applications with vSphere Integrated Containers. (Link)

 

You can also use vic-machine upgrade to upgrade the Virtual Container Hosts. From the Upgrade Guide:

When you upgrade a running VCH, the VCH goes temporarily offline, but container workloads continue as normal during the upgrade process. Upgrading a VCH does not affect any mapped container networks that you defined by setting the vic-machine create --container-network option. The following operations are not available during upgrade:

  • You cannot access container logs
  • You cannot attach to a container
  • NAT based port forwarding is unavailable

IMPORTANT: Upgrading a VCH does not upgrade any existing container VMs that the VCH manages. For container VMs to boot from the latest version of bootstrap.iso, container developers must recreate them.

With the release of vSAN 6.6 and vCenter 6.5d, you might want to test out VIC 1.1 in your test/lab environment and leverage it to build a great platform for your development teams. Speaking of compatibility:

 

There is also a new demo video that shows the product & the updated User Interfaces in more detail. Check out the video here:

Time to update the lab!

vSphere Integrated Containers 0.9 (OSS version) now available

Great news for everyone that wants to run Docker on vSphere. VMware released the Open Source version of vSphere Integrated Containers 0.9 which is now available via bintray here.

Please note: this is an interim pre-release and does not include support from VMware global support services (GSS). Support is OSS community level only.

Changes from the 0.8 version are documented here:

You can now go to https://vmware.github.io/vic-product/index.html#getting-started and see the documentation for the lastest official product version (in this case VIC Engine 0.8 as part of vSphere Integrated Containers 1.0) and the current OSS release (in this case VIC Engine 0.9).

Supported Docker Commands for 0.9 are listed in the documentation at https://vmware.github.io/vic-product/assets/files/html/latest/vic_app_dev/container_operations.html.

vSphere Integrated Containers Engine 0.7 has been released

vic-engine

Only few days ago, the vSphere Integrated Containers team released the newest version 0.7 on GitHub and Bintray. I just want to summarize a few resources for tests with this release here and document some gotchas that have already been raised. Remember: this code is still a beta release so don’t deploy it to production immediately. You can also read up on the announcement of VIC as part of vSphere 6.5 in the official press release from VMworld.

Here are the links:

During the installation, you can now specify a fixed IP address instead of DHCP for your Virtual Container Host (VCH) – this is one of the new features in the 0.7 release. Please make sure to use –dns-server with your vic-machine command to set the DNS server address in the VCH. Otherwise it will use the network gateway which results in some timeout errors during the installation. There is already an issue documented at https://github.com/vmware/vic/issues/3060.

If you deploy VIC in your environment and encounter any issues, please open a issue on GitHub (https://github.com/vmware/vic/issues). You can also reach out to myself via Twitter and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.