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VMware beefs up Tanzu portfolio, adds OpenShift support

The Tanzu Application Platform will include support for Red Hat OpenShift, air-gapped installations and other capabilities to improve developer productivity and code security

VMware is making significant enhancements to its Tanzu Application Platform (TAP), in a bid to improve productivity and simplify DevSecOps processes for developers of containerised applications.

With Tanzu Application Platform 1.3, VMware is not only investing in open source technology such as Backstage, a tool for building developer portals, it is also helping developers to streamline pipelines with support for additional Kubernetes deployment platforms.

More notably, TAP 1.3 will include support for Red Hat OpenShift, which VMware officials said has been more focused on supporting operators in terms of delivering the runtime and manageability of Kubernetes clusters and policies.

“What’s been missing in the market, and from our experience with having built Pivotal Cloud Foundry, is a simplified developer experience,” said Ajay Patel, senior vice-president and general manager at VMware’s modern apps and management business group.

“What TAP provides is the Backstage-based graphical user interface with a set of accelerators and shared pipelines that can be customised and targeted for any Kubernetes platform.

“We’ve been really focused on that developer experience and secure software supply chain pieces that complement any Kubernetes deployment, whether it’s OpenShift, EKS [Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service], AKS [Azure Kubernetes Service] or even our own Tanzu Kubernetes runtime,” said Patel.

As for security, TAP 1.3 will support air gap installations for organisations that operate in highly regulated industries and disconnected environments. “The ‘Sec’ part of DevSecOps has become a central point for many of our customers, whether it’s Log4j or other risks that we see every day,” he said. “Vulnerability scanning and many of the enhancements around software bill of materials [SBOM] have been critical.”

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To that, VMware is adding support to the CycloneDX and SPDX standards for communicating SBOM information, as well as vulnerability scanning tools such as VMware Carbon Black scanner in addition to Snyk and Grype.

Alongside enhancements in TAP are updates to the Tanzu Application Service – previously Pivotal Cloud Foundry – which Patel said has had significant scale and continues to grow over 20% year-on-year in the number of workloads.

He added that VMware is lining up multi-year support for TAS as it becomes mainstream and will be adding a TAS adapter later this year to deliver Cloud Foundry’s cf push experience on top of the Tanzu platform built on Kubernetes. “This provides a consistent developer experience across both our TAS and TAP platforms,” said Patel.

Kubernetes runtime

On the Kubernetes runtime front, VMware’s new Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 2.0 is now tightly integrated with vSphere 8, following a multi-year effort to embed Kubernetes into the vSphere platform.

“We now have a modern runtime platform that gives you both VM [virtual machine] and container support with a unified management experience for both administrators and platform operators,” said Patel.

He added that VMware has also been driving cluster API [application programming interface] support and adding tools like Carvel to make it easy to drive application lifecycle management, giving organisations native Kubernetes capabilities in a modern VMware environment.

It is also providing runtime support for Kubernetes across multiple clouds, including Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, through its Tanzu Mission Control management tool.

Sid Nag, vice-president analyst at Gartner’s technology and service provider group, said it is unlikely that VMware will make a dent in the market with the latest enhancements in Tanzu.

“Their strategy is based on their acquisition of Pivotal, which never had any major traction,” he told Computer Weekly. “And the problem is that companies have already invested in similar capabilities from hyperscalers like Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, and for them to step away from those and move to Tanzu will be a challenge.”

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