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by Steven Wong, Cloud Native Community Engagement Team

Over the past few years, Kubernetes has become one of the largest and fastest-growing areas in open source software. A trend seen with open source projects is that as community participation increases, a project organizes itself into a hierarchy of smaller, focused groups. In the Kubernetes project, community activity is organized into Special Interest Groups, or SIGs. We have created a VMware-related SIG to host the Kubernetes cloud provider integration code for VMware vSphere and to discuss other aspects of integrating Kubernetes with VMware infrastructure.

SIGs distribute decision making to groups, provide governance to the project, and create an ecosystem where developers and other community members can meet regularly to openly collaborate over interests within Kubernetes. Community members have access to meetings notes, mailing list discussions, designs, and decisions – with the option to actively participate – all online. Some SIGs are focused on a vertical component, such as storage; others address broader topics, such as architecture, or deployment environments, such as AWS, Azure, GCP, and OpenStack. The master list of Kubernetes SIGs can be found here.

Going back as far as 2016, there was a proposal in the community for a VMware-related SIG. Early in 2018, Robbie Jerrom, a VMware cloud-native apps specialist out of Europe, restarted the discussion advocating a SIG to host the Kubernetes cloud provider integration code for VMware vSphere and related matters. We worked through the community SIG creation checklist and on March 29, 2018, held the inaugural meeting.

Why a VMware SIG?

Users coming from a background of virtual machines are sometimes in search of guidance regarding the different context of dynamic management of containers, networking, and storage. A forum for sharing questions, knowledge, and user needs can help users and developers be more successful at deploying and operating Kubernetes.

This SIG seeks to gather the community (developers, operators, users, and user groups such as VMUG) of those using Kubernetes on VMware infrastructure. The charter of the group is to bring together members of the Kubernetes community to maintain, support, and run Kubernetes on VMware platforms.

What the VMware SIG is about, and not about

The VMware SIG is an ideal starting point for new users to share best practices, insights, and updates on community activity. It is also a place to discuss:

  • The integration of Kubernetes and VMware infrastructure, whether from the perspective of an engineer or user requirements
  • Deployments both on premises and in public clouds

The VMware SIG is not for discussing bugs or feature requests outside the scope of Kubernetes or VMware cloud provider public GitHub issues. For example, the VMware SIG should not be used to discuss or resolve support requests related to VMware products. It should also not be used to discuss topics that other, more specialized SIGs own (to avoid overlap).

The Kubernetes cloud provider integration code for vSphere

One of the initial focus areas of the VMware SIG will be implementing a re-architected Kubernetes cloud provider integration code for vSphere. The SIG also intends to work with sub-projects outside the scope of the cloud provider. The goal is to represent the perspective of those deploying Kubernetes with VMware software across the breadth of the Kubernetes project.

Kubernetes utilizes a modular plug-in architecture to support running it on multiple platforms. The component called a cloud provider encapsulates differences across platforms.

Because the original implementation bundled the cloud provider’s code into a Kubernetes release, implementing a cloud provider or fixing a bug in an existing cloud provider was tightly coupled with the Kubernetes release process.

The cloud provider interface specification encapsulates ingress, load balancer, persistent storage volume, cluster, node, and availability zone management. An effort is underway to re-architect the interface to allow development and releases independent of the main Kubernetes project. Many aspects of this migration have been resolved, but others, including the volume controller, are still in flux.

How to get involved

SIG participation is open to contributors (ideas, code, documentation), users (experiences, requests), and anyone else who is interested.

Online meetings are held on Zoom every other Thursday from 11 AM PT (18:00 UTC) to 12 PM PT (19:00 UTC). The master Kubernetes community calendar can be found here: kubernetes.io/community/

Kubernetes SIGs use Google Groups as the basis for membership and mailing lists.

Clicking the “Join group” button at groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/kubernetes-sig-vmware will put you on the mailing list and add an invitation for the SIG meeting to your Google calendar.

In alignment with Kubernetes community culture, the SIG also offers a Slack channel for group-related discussion as well as questions and answers.

You can get invited to join Kubernetes on Slack at slack.k8s.io/ and then join the VMware SIG channel, #sig-vmware.

While the VMware SIG is currently co-chaired by Fabio Rapposelli and Steve Wong (VMware employees), we are actively seeking SIG leadership from the broader user and contributor community. If you have experience running Kubernetes on VMware platforms and are interested in helping lead the SIG, please join the SIG and let the group know. More information on a chair’s role can be found here.