VMware's business since the company's birth has been rooted in virtual machine hypervisor technology. The emerging world of containers, broadly referred to by some as "cloud-native computing," isn't seen by some as a competitive threat to VMware, though that's not the view taken by VMware executive Paul Fazzone.
Fazzone is the general manager of Cloud Native Apps at VMware and is tasked with helping to lead the company's strategy and business in the container market. VMware's strategy for cloud native includes product portfolio elements for both existing VMware vSphere customers as well as non-vSphere customers.
VMware's vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) was first previewed back in August 2015 and is currently at the 1.1 release.
"The right way to think about vSphere Integrated Containers is as a fairly seamless extension to the vSphere and vCenter operator experience that hundreds of thousands of customers around the world already use to deploy their virtual machine workloads," Fazzone told ServerWatch. "vSphere Integrated Containers allows those customers to have the same deployment and management capabilities, but for containerized workloads."
The continued updates for VIC, including the recent 1.1 update, are all about improving the operational aspects of the platform. Fazzone emphasized VMware has been steadily enhancing VICs usability and making sure container workload deployments can map to existing virtual machine processes.
"We have been in production with vSphere at our customers for a decade or more with some customers, and there is a tremendous amount of operational tooling and a massive ecosystem built around it," Fazzone said. "What we're doing with VIC is making it so that entire ecosystem automatically works for containers."
VMware's Photon Platform Evolving as Well
While VIC is about enabling existing vSphere operators to benefit from containers, VMware's Photon platform has a different target audience. Photon was originally announced by VMware back in August 2015 and reached the 1.0 milestone in June 2016.
While Photon originally started out as just a VMware-built container host called Photon OS, it has since been expanded to be a full cloud-native stack.
"The Photon Platform exposes a surface area that allows us to easily support and deploy multiple frameworks on one infrastructure solution," Fazzone said.
A core part of the Photon Platform is the Photon Controller, which Fazzone explains as being analogous to vCenter, but it is focused on cloud-native deployment and is 100 percent API driven. Photon Controller can use VMware's ESX for compute, or it can use Photon OS. Photon Controller can also use the NSX-T multi-hypervisor version of VMware's Software-Defined Networking platform.
"Containers are becoming more important to our customers," Fazzone said. "We haven't got caught up in the hype cycle; we have been focused on enterprise solutions that our customers can take into production."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.