Kathy Gibson reports from VMworld in Barcelona – Underpinning the new strategy of one cloud, any application and any device are the foundations of build, run, deliver and secure.
When it comes to building solutions, IT organisations are having to run their traditional applications while building new, cloud-native applications.
VMware executive Ray O-Farrell points out that the cloud-native application is one that leverages elastic cloud infrastructure to provision instances of itself, scaling up and down; and detecting and working around failures.
“So developers are using new technologies like micro-services, Linux containers and open source components,” he says. “But this brings new challenges for securing and managing applications.”
Kit Colbert, vice-president and chief technology officer: cloud-native apps, points out that containers have been around for decades, although they have seen a surge in use over the last couple of years as continuous development techniques take off.
What is driving the interest today is the developers  particularly for Docker. They are seeing tremendous productivity gains in leveraging Docker containers.
“But some of these developments are now getting to production, and this brings challenges to the production team. But the productivity gains are so good that companies have to look for them.”
Colbert stresses that containers are valuable in driving business agility because they allow IT to quickly develop, test and produce applications.
In typical environments, however, containers could be within virtual machines and invisible to IT which leads to management and security challenges.
To help solve this problem, vSphere Integrated Containers help IT to extend security, visibility and management to containers.
VMware vSphere Integrated Containers build upon the existing support for VMware Photon OS on the VMware vCloud Air platform by adding support for VMware vSphere Integrated Containers on VMware vCloud Air.
With this support, VMware will enable IT teams to support any application, including containerised applications, on a common infrastructure running on VMware vCloud Air.
This support can accelerate container initiatives by enabling IT teams to take advantage of their existing investments in VMware infrastructure, people, processes and management tools, while enabling developers to leverage a variety of container orchestration solutions from ecosystem partners.
O’Farell points out that the security is better with vSphere Integrated Containers by wrapping each container in its own layer of security that protects other containers from being affected by issues.
Efficiency is increased, with the Photon OS that allows IT to provide the right level of virtualisation for specific containers.
A different approach is using the Photon platform, a new infrastructure that is focused on DevOps, that can support multi-tenancy, security and isolation.
Colbert describes the VMware Photon platform: it is the Photon Controller that is a distributed multl-tenant control place; and the Photon Machine that is essentially a “microvisor”.
Photon allows developers to manage clusters of containers and virtual machines rather than having to manage them all in isolation. This allows them to quickly deploy applications, he says.
The Photon Controller will be available in open source within the next couple of weeks; while the Photon Machine will be available on a subscription model.
The Photon platform is targeted at only cloud-native application development, while the vSphere Integrated Containers address both traditional and cloud-native applications.
“Between them the IT organisation has the ability to manage and secure both tradition al cloud-native applications,” O’Farrell says.