At the heart of the story VMware is telling its customers this year at its annual event in San Francisco is its commitment to a technology called Kubernetes which promises to make it easier, cheaper and faster for organisations to build, run, and manage applications.

VMware is one of those IT companies that operate down in the reeds of IT department, but every executive running a sales or marketing or HR department, for instance, relies its technology which powers the infrastructure on which their business applications run.

In really simple terms Kubernetes is an open-source solution that allows applications to run all across an enterprise’s technology infrastructure.

That is important because contemporary IT infrastructure tends to be distributed across public clouds like AWS and Google, as well as on a company’s own private clouds and even on its own dedicated hardware.

While it originally emerged from Google, these days Kubernetes is managed by Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Why does any of this matter from a business perspective? Given that 22 per cent of delegates to the VMWorld event admitted learning to speak Klingon we decided to find an Earthling from amongst the crowd who could describe Kubernetes in terms the rest of us can understand.

Step forward Hyoun Park, CEO and Principal Analyst at Amalgam Insights.

“From a practical perspective, Kubernetes solves a couple of problems. First, it allows applications to be developed and supported on a granular level, meaning that you can use all of the pieces that are associated with your application, and then reuse and shift and push parts towards the cloud or towards on-premise [systems] based on whether you’re going to be using those apps, features, and capabilities.”

In simple terms then, Kubernetes saves companies money by removing the often significant complexity involved in enabling applications to run in different technology environments.

But it is also a transformative technology because it accelerates the pace of application delivery in the business which is a key issue – and frustration- for executives outside of the IT department.

“It is really that agile business capability that is going to be an important one going forward,” said Park.

He also says that with the announcements this week, it is clear that VMware is becoming much more of a hybrid IT management solution.

“It looks like VMware is doing a good job of being multi-cloud because they don’t necessarily compete directly with the Amazons (AWS) and Microsofts (Azure) of the world when it comes to selling infrastructure as a service. And they don’t want to play favorites because they have their own layer of management in technology that they’re trying to sell.”

Key announcements

The key announcement at VMWorld this year was VMware Tanzu, basically the umbrella brand for a new portfolio of products and services to help organisations build, run and manage software on Kubernetes.

The announcement included a technology preview of what VMware is calling Project Pacific—which will allow its popular cloud computing virtualization platform vSphere to operate as a Kubernetes native platform in a future release.

It also announced VMware Tanzu Mission Control which is described as a single point of control from which customers will manage all their Kubernetes clusters regardless of where they run.

With the recently announced agreement to acquire Pivotal, VMware says it will deliver the most comprehensive enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based portfolio for modern applications.


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