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VMware’s just given its best allies the tool to spread its Tanzu container creed

4000 service provider clouds are based on vSphere — now they’re all capable of running Kubernetes too

VMware has shipped Tanzu Basic for service providers, making it possible to run Kubernetes on over 4000 clouds, and thereby given itself a better chance at having its containerised stack succeed.

When Virtzilla talks about its cloud presence, it focuses on its deals with hyperscalers like AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, and Alibaba.

But the company’s cloud strategy has long had a critical second strand, in the form of the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP) and its 4000-plus members that run VMware-powered clouds. Some VCPP members are whales like IBM and NTT, or significant clouds like OVH. But plenty more are the kind of smaller players that medium-sized businesses see as peers and gravitate towards. And even though they may run just a few racks, they’re trusted advisors to their clients.

Tanzu Basic offers a Kubernetes runtime, a container registry, and the networking and security tools necessary to run containers, all within vSphere and in a form that doesn’t frighten a vSphere administrator — or the team at a small cloud provider.

That offer is now available to VMware’s fleet of service providers and lets them run multi-tenant Kubernetes in their clouds.

VMware knows the VCPP members well. It knows how to educate them about Kubernetes, and how to teach them to sell it.

So before long those partners will be in the field talking to the literally hundreds of thousands of customers they serve, telling them that if they’ve become Kube-curious it’s not hard for them to start trying it out in their VMware-powered clouds.

And because those clouds are just vSphere with some extra multi-tenancy goodness, it’s not enormously challenging for on-premises Kubernetes experiments to take some tentative steps into a service provider cloud.

Thus, VMware both gives its users a good reason to keep using vSphere, and gives developers a reason to adopt a VMware-centric view of containers.

And those are VMware’s two key challenges right now. The company knows that the combination of IBM and Red Hat OpenShift are formidable competition, and that greenfield apps will probably go straight to public clouds. Now VMware can put the strength of its service provider partners to work fighting those threats. ®

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