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VMware expands SaaS portfolio with non-confusing third container offering on AWS

VMware’s announced a new container play called “VMware Kubernetes Engine” (VKE) that will be offered as SaaS on AWS and soon on Azure too.

The product offers vanilla Kubernetes, but automates provisioning, management and maintenance. It does that because VMware’s concluded that many developers want to adopt Kubernetes, but have little interest in provisioning the infrastructure, little skill at doing so optimally and no appetite to hire people to do either chore.

VMware also believes that while Kubernetes services are good at automating the Kubernetes master nodes that serve as its control plane, the myriad worker nodes have been left to fend for themselves.

VKE will therefore spin up a K8s “SmartCluster”on AWS and configure it optimally and securely. The service will then watch K8s work, scale it up, down, sideways or into another dimension to meet demand, all while getting workloads onto just the right EC2 instance to deliver top performance and doing so mindful of budgets. You can pop one SmartCluster in one AWS region and another in a second region and share policies across both!

VMware has form with this stuff: after server virtualization exploded and users found themselves with server sprawl, the company let its users rein things in with management tools. VKE is aimed at doing the same for Kubernetes.

For now, VKE is an AWS-only beta but VMware has pledged to bring it to Azure, too and make it generally available by the end of 2018. Doing so is hoped to give the service a point of difference when compared to K8s services more closely tied to other clouds [cough - Google - cough].

How does VKE sit alongside VMware’s other two container plays, Pivotal Cloud Service (PKS) and vSphere integrated containers (VIC).

The company’s pitching VKE as a pure consumption model, while PKS can serve builders and renters and VIC is for those wedded to vSphere. So no overlap and no confusion, right? Right?

VMware's container services

VMware's container services. Click to enlarge

There ought not to be, but not because the container portfolio is clear. Instead this is a clear sign of VMware expanding its SaaS offerings by applying its core expertise to new, cloudy, challenges it thinks more of you will soon face. And if doing so gives it a chance to tickle Wall Street’s liking for subscription revenue tied to the cloud, all the better. ®

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