Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Friday, November 16, 2018
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VMware Buys Kubernetes Startup Heptio 

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There has been much talk with the rise of application containers about the microservices technology replacing virtual machines. VMware made a move this week that may make that a moot point.

The company announced on Tuesday (Nov. 6) it is acquiring Heptio, a two-year-old startup founded by the creators of the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator that has emerged as the de facto standard for managing application containers.

Terms were not disclosed. VMware (NYSE: VMW) said it expects to complete the acquisition of Seattle-based Heptio by early the end of the year.

The acquisition is that latest by an established infrastructure vendor looking to expand its hybrid cloud capabilities as enterprises embrace multi-cloud deployments. Last week, IBM acquired open-source leader Red Hat for $34 billion.

Heptio was launched in October 2016 by Google veterans and Kubernetes project founders Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie to expand the cloud-native ecosystem. (Beda and McLuckie helped found that Cloud Native Computing Foundation.) That they and others have done.

“We are on the precipice of a major transformation—the de-coupling of applications from the environments where they are run,” McLuckie asserted in a blog post confirming the deal. The path to a full-blown cloud-native architecture was forged in software-defined datacenters pioneered by virtualization specialists like VMware, McLuckie added.

The partners said the deal would accelerate the already expanding enterprise adoption of Kubernetes while expanding the reach of VMware’s Kubernetes portfolio under its Pivotal Container Service (PKS) for on-premises and cloud deployments.

VMware and its Pivotal Software unit tout their Kubernetes portfolio as extending the open-source cluster orchestrator for running distributed applications across multiple clouds. “Heptio products and services will reinforce and extend VMware’s efforts with PKS to establish Kubernetes as the de facto standard for infrastructure across clouds upon closing,” said Paul Fazzone, VMware’s senior vice president and general manager of its Cloud Native Apps Business Unit.

Fazzone also highlighted Heptio’s Kubernetes subscription service that seeks to move beyond traditional managed services or distributions to custom tools and services to deploy “upstream” Kubernetes platforms. VMware is betting the subscription model will accelerate Kubernetes adoption and help scale deployments.

Building on that assumption, VMware also this week introduced a Kubernetes-based multi-cloud service that will run “alongside” VMware PKS for deploying Kubernetes clusters. The introduction addresses the two primary ways enterprises are using Kubernetes: internal deployments installed and managed in-house or, increasingly, using Kubernetes as a cloud service requiring only a log in to spin up clusters.

The Heptio subscription model along with its own multi-cloud service, addresses the latter option, Fazzone said. Cloud PKS is currently being offered as a beta service on Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN). VMware said it plans to expand availability to Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT) “in the near future.”

VMware and Google  (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced a partnership in July to develop a cloud plug-in for VMware’s vRealize orchestrator to enable provisioning of virtual machines and storage on Google Cloud.

 

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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