Mostly Cloudy: Containers won. Now what?


(Pixabay Photo)

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This Week in VMware: All-in on Kubernetes

Over the weekend I dove into the strategy behind VMware’s embrace of Kubernetes, and this week at VMworld the company rolled out several new products that make it clear: containers have reached the enterprise technology mainstream. That’s probably not a surprise to most readers of this cloud-nerd newsletter, but milestones are worth noting, and VMware sent a pretty clear signal this week that it will usher its data center customers into the cloud via containers.

Containers allow DevOps teams to be much more flexible in how they deploy applications across multiple environments. Kubernetes gives them a way to scale and manage those containerized applications, making multicloud deployments possible. That’s a perfect combination for a generation of CIOs who are moving workloads into the cloud on their own terms.

There are an awful lot of people who believe containers and Kubernetes are merely a distraction on the road to serverless computing, and this Twitter thread from Chris Munns of (notable VMware partner) Amazon Web Services neatly lays out that case:

It’s a compelling argument, but at the moment, it appears that large, older enterprise tech operations looking to modernize their infrastructure are upgrading with containers. These companies, bent on “digital transformation,” are making the move because competitors with modern technology are drinking their milkshakes.

VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger (left) and Joe Beda, principal engineer and Kubernetes co-creator, introduce the company’s new Kubernetes strategy at VMworld 2019 (VMware Photo)

So will new ventures built around serverless computing make the containerized world look stodgy? We won’t know for a few years. But VMware is a good barometer for the moderate IT customer, which likes to let other people blaze the trails first before betting their company on an emerging technology.

Here’s a summary of highlights from VMworld:

VMware Embarks on Its Crown Jewel’s Biggest Rearchitecture in a Decade (DataCenter Knowledge)

The headline kind of says it all. The flagship vSphere hypervisor will be rebuilt with Kubernetes at its heart over the next few years, which CEO Pat Gelsinger called “maybe the most significant rearchitecting of vSphere and vCenter certainly in the last decade.”

VMware's Kubernetes portfolio Tanzu 'a really big deal' (ZDnet)

Tanzu (the “woody part of a tree arising from the trunk and usually dividing,” in Swahili) is what VMware plans to call the cloud-native set of applications developed by recent acquisitions Pivotal, Heptio, and its existing teams. The first Tanzu app is called Mission Control, and it helps companies manage Kubernetes clusters across both on premises data centers and cloud providers.

VMware CEO Gelsinger Interrupts VMworld Demo, Announces CTO Swap (CRN)

Ray O’Farrell, VMware’s chief technology officer for the past five years, will become the new head of VMware’s cloud computing strategy, Gelsinger announced in a sure-that-was-totally-spontaneous way Tuesday. Greg Lavender, who was head of Cloud Architecture prior to this week, will become the new CTO.

Can VMware become a leading cybersecurity vendor? (CSO)

Lost in all the container hubbub was the other $2 billion acquisition VMware made last week, snapping up cloud security company Carbon Black. Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jon Oltsik argues that VMware has done a poor job to date selling its security credentials, and that Carbon Black could help move the needle.

And Now, A Word…

Thanks for subscribing to Mostly Cloudy! Just a reminder that this is the last week of free access to this roundup of everything you need to know about cloud computing.

This world always heats up as the weather cools off, and over the next few months Thomas Kurian’s reign at Google Cloud will take full effect, the Department of Defense will ask Ivanka Trump which cloud provider it’s allowed to use, and cloud leader AWS will host yet another re:Invent.

Stick around.

Around the Cloud

After the Capital One Breach, Should Big Business Fear the Public Cloud? (Fortune)

No. The answer is no.

AT&T’s CEO of Communications, John Donovan, to retire in October (Techcrunch)

John Donovan (AT&T Photo)

Telcos are not exactly known for pushing the cutting edges of infrastructure technology, but AT&T’s John Donovan was a little different. One of the pioneers behind software-defined networking, Donovan plans to retire this fall after more than a decade with the networking and mobile carrier giant.

Cisco CIO Says Shift to Cloud Will Cut Energy Use, Costs (The Wall Street Journal)

This headline would be unremarkable other than the fact that the company involved makes the bulk of its money selling gear to data center operators. But Cisco’s deliberations underscore a huge selling point for cloud computing: operating modern data centers is really hard, and for most companies, it’s not a pursuit that sets their business apart from the competition.

HPE jumps as it raises full-year guidance (CNBC)

HPE revenue declined seven percent and analysts were stoked, which tells you all you need to know about HPE at this point in its history. The excitement came from raised earnings guidance for the fiscal year, which is good, but the cloud continues to have a pronounced impact on traditional data center hardware providers.

Oracle is trying once again to get itself put back into the running for JEDI (Business Insider)

So, at this point, we think Oracle is just trying to wring a few more quarters out of its existing Department of Defense contracts with all these tilting-at-windmills protests, right? Meanwhile, the Financial Times went way, way out on a limb in declaring that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s “review” of the bidding process is “raising concerns that it is a political ploy aimed at reassuring the White House.”

Many throats to choke: For better or worse, multiple clouds are here to stay (Silicon Angle)

I’m getting really tired of violent references in headlines about business and technology concepts for some reason. Still, the old adage about buyers and vendors seems to be changing as technologies like Kubernetes make the notion of operating production environments across multiple clouds a real possibility.

Infographic: What Cloud Vendors Do Tech Professionals Use? (International Business Times)

No real surprises here: AWS and Microsoft are the cloud leaders by a large margin, although a sizable portion of respondents indicated interest in Google Cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS. And while it’s not that surprising that Alibaba has struggled to make inroads in a market dominated by U.S. vendors, it’s growing at a 66 percent clip.

Amazon’s Cloud-Computing Empire Faces Threat From Edge of the Network (Bloomberg)

I missed this last week, a week that included multiple trips to a cat hospital (Susie is fine), but it’s still worth noting. Microsoft has placed a lot of bets on edge computing as the future of the cloud, and it’s quite possible that another major player outside the Big Three could emerge as latency concerns push computing closer and closer to the end user.

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