This post was co-authored by Cory Skimming, Senior Product Marketing Manger, and Shagun Tewari, Senior Manager, Product Marketing and Strategy.
The way we architect and build applications has changed over the last decade or so. Where monoliths (or single, large codebases) used to be the standard, modern applications are now built using a combination of new architecture patterns, operational models, and software delivery services. By shifting to a microservices architecture, teams can more easily update, replace, and innovate on small, modular codebases—driving faster business innovation while reducing risk, time to market, and total cost of ownership.
This modular microservices approach has spurred the use of containers as a lightweight, portable solution to the infrastructure needs garnered by these loosely coupled services. As such, containers have largely become the centerpiece of automation and DevOps in the enterprise. This gives teams the ability to capitalize on the flexibility and scalability offered by the use of containers, but it also means more moving parts and more perimeters to manage. Kubernetes has emerged as the gold standard for handling container orchestration.
The benefits of Kubernetes
According to The State of Kubernetes 2021 survey, 65 percent of organizations are now running Kubernetes in production. The same report found a whopping 98 percent of Kubernetes users have seen significant benefits from using it, including improvements in resource utilization, shorter software development cycles, and a reduction in their public cloud costs.
If we pair the benefits of running applications in Kubernetes with the ultimate goal of delivering better software to production, faster, and continuously, there is a pretty compelling business case to start using Kubernetes today. So, if we have our application code and our Kubernetes platform, are we good to go?
Not quite. No application is an island. Whether building custom applications or re-platforming existing business-critical applications, there is a whole ecosystem beyond your application code and deployment platform. From backing services to observability tools, the ISV and open source ecosystem provides critical components for getting your Kubernetes applications to production and keeping them operating smoothly and securely.
For the purposes of this post, we will classify the ecosystem broadly into two parts:
Technologies that support applications running on Kubernetes
Third-party business-critical applications that run on Kubernetes
Using ISV technologies to support applications running on Kubernetes
From development to production and beyond, there is a lot more to building and running an application than simply writing some code and tossing it over the fence to your Kubernetes platform. Some of the core questions you need to be asking include:
Where does my code live?
How am I connecting all these microservices?
What is backing my application/where does the application data live? What happens to the data if I kill a pod?
Is my code secure? Is my environment? What does security look like at the application level? Is security even my job as a developer? (Sorry, yes. It’s everyone’s job.)
I wrote some cool code; how will I get it to production?
Also, what the heck is going on with my application? And my environment?
These are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the point is that it takes many parts to make a whole, and this is particularly true when looking to run enterprise applications at scale. The CNCF Cloud Native Landscape, though undeniably overwhelming, provides an excellent framework for visualizing the tools and technologies beyond the platform that help solve for such questions. Furthermore, solutions that natively integrate or work with your Kubernetes distribution can help to speed up the development and delivery of your containerized workloads, provide essential pieces to build secure end-to-end software development supply chains, and simplify the operations of your applications wherever they might land.
The ecosystem supports the development, deployment, and operation of applications running on Kubernetes by giving teams access to the tools needed to
Help automate and speed your path to production – Tools like continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), source code management, analytics and dashboards, and source code scanners enable teams to collaborate, automate, and support secure DevOps practices.
Keep your applications and environments secure by default using a DevSecOps approach and the appropriate security solutions to manage your risk vectors – These solutions can include runtime security, identity and access management, container scanning, encryption, credential and key management, web applications firewalls, and more.
Easily connect and manage your microservices – That can involve using API networking and gateways, a service mesh, integration tools, etc.
Build in persistent storage and Kubernetes-native data solutions – This will ensure data doesn’t disappear when a pod does.
Quickly pinpoint issues and identify areas for optimization – Observability, analytics, logging, and APM-type tools provide visibility into what is going on at both the application and infrastructure levels.
The marketecture below is a high-level example of what this could look like in an environment where CI/CD and security tools are integrated as part of the path to production to build a simple DevSecOps pipeline for an application landing on VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.
Running third-party applications on Kubernetes
That’s all great, but what if you simply want to re-host or re-platform an existing business-critical application to take advantage of some of those benefits of running applications on Kubernetes?
Cloud native is not an all-or-nothing proposition that applies only to building custom applications. In fact, organizations are increasingly seeking the ability to run their existing applications and commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS) in a containerized, infrastructure-agnostic way. IDC expects there to be some 2 billion container instances installed by 2023, with approximately 35 percent of those 2 billion containerized workloads anticipated to be COTS applications, including content and collaboration software as well as business applications. This presents the opportunity for vendors and organizations alike to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability offered by containerization.
Discover Kubernetes-ready solutions on VMware Marketplace
So, how can you get started today? VMware Marketplace makes it easy for operations and development teams to discover and get started with Kubernetes-ready solutions that are validated to work with VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.
VMware Marketplace is a robust catalog with more than 2,000 ISV and open source solutions across more than 15 categories, published by an ecosystem containing more than 400 publishers. Beyond Kubernetes solutions, users can also quickly discover and deploy third-party and open source solutions for VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware vCloudDirector, vSphere, and VMware Cloud Foundation.
All solutions on the VMware Marketplace containing deployable assets (such as a Helm chart) are tested for interoperability with VMware Tanzu solutions—just look for the “Partner Ready for VMware Tanzu” badge on the listing. The validation allows you to use popular ecosystem solutions with peace of mind, knowing they will work natively with your VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid environment. Additionally, the new continuous and automated validation feature means you have guaranteed access to the latest version of an interoperable integration, at any given point in time. To learn more about how continuous validation works on VMware Marketplace, read this technical post from our engineering team.
Some popular Kubernetes-ready solutions available on VMware Marketplace today include:
To discover and access all validated Kubernetes-ready solutions on the VMware Marketplace, simply visit the Marketplace Catalog, sign in with your VMware credentials, and filter solutions by “Tanzu Kubernetes Grid” under the “Product Compatibility” filter.
Learn more about the VMware Marketplace by reading this announcement post; subsequent posts go into more detail. And be sure to follow @VMwareMarketplace on Twitter for the latest updates and catalog highlights. Questions? Contact the Marketplace team at VMwareMarketplace@vmware.com.