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Authored by James Zabala, Principal Architect and Product Lead for Photon Platform

Today we’re excited to announce the release of Photon Platform v1.1! This is our fourth major release in 2016 and marks a major milestone in our concerted effort to build a true container-focused cloud platform. Download the bits on Github.

Photon Platform is an Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure Platform purpose-built for cloud-native applications. It enables IT to deliver on-demand tools and services developers need to build and run modern applications while retaining security, control and performance of the datacenter.

Photon Platform was originally announced at VMworld in 2015 and, in the spirit of VMware’s cloud-native initiatives, subsequently open sourced on November 16th, 2015. In that time we’ve made thousands of commits and written hundreds of thousands of lines of code.  Today, the v1.1 release brings an impressive list of new features, including networking and storage features powered by NSX and VSAN technologies, and our first release of Kubernetes as a Service on Photon Platform. Development teams can now rapidly build Kubernetes clusters on demand to accelerate application development. Likewise Photon Platform provides a rich HTML5 user interface for management of the overall infrastructure and robust multi-tenant functionality.

kubernetes-500-pod-app tenantresourcedashboard

You can read more about our philosophy in building Photon Platform in Jared Rosoff’s post about our VMworld Barcelona announcement.

Perhaps most exciting are some of the features coming down the pipe which I’ll share in the coming weeks as our v1.next version planning wraps up.

If you are inclined to help improve Photon Controller, whether by writing documentation or code, feel free to ping us on GitHub — we love collaborating!

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Authored by Jared Rosoff, Chief Technologist Cloud-Native Applications

Over the past few years our customers have been asking us how they can get the developer productivity and agility of the public cloud, but with the cost, security, and control of their private data center. Photon Platform, which we are announcing today at VMworld Barcelona, delivers on this promise. In this article we’ll dig into the background of why we built Photon Platform and how it delivers on this new need for cloud native workloads.

The need for developer services

As much as the public cloud heralded in a new cost model, shifting from capex to opex, the bigger change is actually in the way we construct software. Public cloud is as much a programming model as it is a cost model.

Developers today demand on-demand, API-drive access to the tools and services they need to write software. Teams are embracing devops toolchains, leveraging things like Chef, Puppet and Terraform to describe and automate deployments. These environments are highly dynamic, often getting provisioned, used, and then torn down over the course of an hour.

Developers are taking new levels of responsibility for the operation of their software. No longer do they push builds over a wall to an operations team. Instead they are responsible both for writing the software and for maintaining the running instances of the software. This means they need direct access to monitoring, management, and diagnostic tools that previously only the IT operations teams used.

The need for private cloud

Public cloud has defined and delivered this new developer experience. But for many organizations, there is a need to achieve this same operating model in their own data center.

For large applications, the cost of renting vs. buying makes the public cloud a poor option. Shifting from capex to opex is great when you have rapidly changing costs or lack predictability in your workloads. But when applications reach maturity and have predictable growth, continuing to pay the tax to rent your hardware gets expensive.

Many organizations have strict security and regulatory requirements that make public cloud prohibited. There are often strict controls on the location of data in order to comply with data sovereignty laws. Sometimes you need to build applications that interoperate with existing systems already in your data center. For these workloads, the latency of crossing from public cloud to your own data center makes this architecture infeasible.

Problems faced with private cloud

As we talked to more and more customers that were making this journey to deliver a public cloud experience in their private data center, several things became very apparent:

  1. vSphere is a different thing. It’s operational model is focused on enabling IT to directly manage workloads and infrastructure, rather than provide a set of service to developers.
  2. Other options are immature, complex, or incomplete. Whether looking at the open-source OpenStack ecosystem, or newer bare-metal container based solutions, IT professionals struggle to get these systems up and running and to keep them running. When they do, they often lack the features, flexibility and security needed to power mission critical enterprise workloads.

We need a new way.

Photon platform

Photon Platform is an Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure Platform which enables IT to deliver on-demand tools and services developers need to build and run modern applications while retaining security, control and performance of the datacenter. Purpose-built for cloud native applications with natively-integrated enterprise container infrastructure support, Photon Platform brings the scale, performance and features previously accessible only to hyper-scale web companies into the customer’s own datacenter. It leverages the industry leading hypervisor, networking, and storage technologies to bring the best-in-class performance, reliability and ease-of-use to cloud native workloads.

photon-platform-marketecture-image

Features

Kubernetes as a Service

Photon Platform enables you to deliver Kubernetes as a Service to multiple tenants from a single shared pool of hardware. Each tenant gets access to API, CLI and GUI tools which allow them to provision dedicated Kubernetes clusters on the fly. Users get a dedicated kubernetes cluster with strong isolation from other tenants. Photon Platform automates the provisioning and high availability of these clusters, automatically replacing failed nodes with no human intervention.

Infrastructure as a Service

Photon Platform delivers core IaaS capabilities including VMs, Networks, and Persistent Disks on-demand to developers. Resources are provisioned quickly and reliably, supporting the needs of devops tools that programmatically allocate resources at scale.

Modern Developer Experience

Photon Platform exposes services to developers through REST API, CLI or HTML5 based GUI. This makes it easy to integrate Photon Platform’s capabilities into developer tools and workflows including CI/CD, deployment automation, or configuration management tools.

Scale-out architecture

Photon Platform uses a unique scale-out, multi-master control plane. Photon controller implements a quorum based consensus model that ensures that as long as >50% of controller nodes are available, the control plane still operates with full capabilities. A standard deployment is 3x Photon Controller nodes, but you may deploy more nodes to increase the capacity of the control plane or to enable more sophisticated high availability models. Control plane data and and processing is spread across photon controller nodes. Photon controller has no external dependencies; you don’t need to run any databases, message queues, or other systems to keep the control plane running.

Conclusion

We’re very excited to introduce Photon Platform to the VMware family of products. We believe this new architecture enables modern IT organizations to deliver a best-in-class developer experience to their development teams with the cost, security and control advantages of the private cloud.

To learn more about Photon Platform, check the product page at http://www.vmware.com/products/photon-platform.html

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Authored by Ryan Kelly, Staff Systems Engineer, Cloud Management

The 1.0 release of Photon Controller is now available on GitHub. Along with some bug fixes In this major release we see a sexy new UI. Photon Platform development is moving fast and this milestone just goes to show the commitment VMware has to deliver this new Container technology to the world.

Photon Controller is the foundation for Photon Platform. It provides a multi-tenant infrastructure for running your favorite cloud native frameworks.

If your not already familiar with Photon Controller packaging it is deployed as part of a downloadable OVA.

Once the OVA is deployed you run through the wizard based install, no changes in the install UI from previous beta, hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Once deployed you can go to the URL of the Photon Controller Manager and we see a sleek and responsive new UI.

Notice the navigation is now on top.

A look at the tenants view and we can see that the UI is cleaner, more intuative and easier overall to navigate.

Also in the tenant view it is much easier to launch a new VM.

A look at the Image view.

The Flavors view.

Summary

Overall I really admire the design and goals of this project, elegantly simple with a laser focus on solving a particular use case. The development and product teams remind me of the early days of vSphere. Looking forward to getting more time with this version and publishing more articles as I get more familiar with some of the use cases.

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Authored by Eamon Ryan, Staff Solutions Architect

I wanted to be sure to get my first post out early to promote the session I am co-presenting at VMworld US 2016 this year in Las Vegas – the session details are:

Pivotal and VMware: The Lowdown on the High Up – CNA7806
Thursday, Sep 01, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

You ask, “What have you done for me lately?”
Last year a number of integrations between Pivotal and VMware were showcased, but what indeed have we done for you lately? New products and advancements from VMware, Pivotal, and EMC have brought opportunities for fantastic joint solutions and use cases to be developed, growing capabilities beyond what was possible before, bringing enhanced speed, agility, and simplicity to developers and operations users alike, with unified governance and management.

I will be co-presenting alongside Alka Gupta – Senior Global Technical Alliance Manager at VMware, so come on by and learn about all the ins and outs of what Pivotal and VMware are doing jointly lately!

Learning outcomes:
• The 10,000-foot view of Pivotal and VMware as it stands today
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware Photon Platform (software bundle and native hybrid cloud)
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry and VMware NSX, vSAN, VMware vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Code Stream
• Pivotal Cloud Foundry use cases for federation enterprise hybrid cloud
• How you can benefit and where your environment best fits in
• Real-world customer case studies showcasing the learnings and business advantages experienced along the way.

For more deep-dive sessions on specifics, check these two other sessions out:

Cheers!
Éamon Ryan

 

 

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cfsummit2016We are a proud gold sponsor at this year’s Cloud Foundry Summit and we look forward to interacting with the Cloud Foundry community next week.

Please stop by our booth (#201), we’d love to hear how you are using Cloud Foundry to create applications that are transforming your business and for us to give you a first hand look at the enterprise cloud-native stack Pivotal and VMware announced last month.

On Wednesday @ 9:45am, don’t miss our 5 minute lightening talk by our very own Mark Peek, Principal Engineer for CNA and member of The Cloud Foundry Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board.

See you there and stay connected!
@cloudnativeapps
vmware.github.io

 

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VMware’s cloud-native apps team, along with the VMware Management Suites team, will attend the Google Cloud Platform user conference this week (March 23-24) at Pier 48 in San Francisco. Be sure to stop by the VMware booth in the Partner Zone where we will be demo-ing Photon Platform with Kubernetes, among other solutions and technologies.

Get all the details about VMware’s presence at the event here. We hope to see you at the show!

 

 

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With VMworld in Barcelona wrapped up, the Cloud-Native Apps team would like to say “Thank You” to everyone that attended our sessions, visited the booth, played Prince of Persia and shared with us their enthusiasm and feedback around our announcements.

If you were unable to attend VMworld, here is a quick recap. On the main stage at VMworld, Ray O’Farrell and Kit Colbert unveiled two new products, vSphere Integrated Containers and VMware Photon Platform.

In addition to the many Cloud-Native sessions and demos, we set up a gaming lounge and used vSphere Integrated Containers to run Docker with MSDOS running the original DOS version of Prince of Persia. A fun learning experience was had by all.

Our announcements at VMworld are just the beginning, stay connected @cloudnativeapps to get the latest on product news, betas and open source code availability.

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While we’ve been cranking away on Docker Machine integrations, BDE extensions for Mesos and Kubernetes, and application blueprints, our colleagues over in vSphere have been hard at work collaborating with another of our technology partners, CoreOS. At Cloud-Native, we’ve been excited to work with CoreOS – lightweight operating systems are an important part of building distributed applications with containers, and this latest announcement helps make vSphere the best place to run next-gen apps.

Read more about it over at the vSphere blog, or on our own Knowledge Base.

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Happy new year everyone!  VMware’s Cloud-Native Apps team kicked off the new year by hosting a half-day meeting today with a group of industry leaders with the goal of defining a common, totally open application blueprint definition.  We had about 30 technologists representing many different companies: Amazon, Cisco/Noiro, Cloudsoft, CoreOS, Docker, Gigaspaces, Google, HashiCorp, Mesosphere, Microsoft, OpDemand/Deis, Pivotal, Telematica, and VMware.  It was great to see so much industry participation here!

Big group, small room…

So what exactly were we discussing?  Blueprints.  “Blueprint” is certainly an overloaded term and indeed we spent the better part of the first half of the meeting discussing exactly what we meant by it.  Thankfully we were all largely in agreement.  We want to focus on applications first and foremost and thus the blueprint definition needs to take an application perspective.  Modern applications are distributed and are comprised of many different components.  The blueprint specifies all the components of an app, how they’re stitched together, network and storage requirements, other service dependencies, and more.  It was widely agreed that the blueprints should support many app delivery formats: Docker, Linux container, VM, bare metal, and more.  This way we can provide customers the choice to deploy with whatever technology suits their applications best.  Further we all agreed that these blueprint definitions should be infrastructure agnostic.  This means that the same blueprint can be used to provision an app on a developer’s laptop, in a staging environment, in an on-premises virtualized datacenter, and in a public cloud.  The blueprint designer should be able to define the blueprint such that the requirements within it are properly mapped to whatever infrastructure is chosen.  In this way, blueprints can drive the application lifecycle from dev to CI/CD to production, enabling greater business velocity.  The group wanted to go even further, proposing that a single blueprint should be deployable by many different tools from different vendors.

It was very encouraging to see that there was general agreement on what we think a blueprint should look like.  The next challenge is  to do something about it.  Given the size of the group and the number of individuals and companies involved, many felt that getting something done might prove challenging,  so we decided to move quickly with specific deliverables both time- and scope-boxed.  The first deliverable is to define a set of use cases that we want this blueprint definition to solve.  Use cases are critical to keeping this effort grounded in reality so that what’s produced will be valuable to customers (after all, that’s what this is really about!).  So within the next week we’ll be putting together a use cases doc that is at most three pages and has two use cases clearly defined and agreed upon by the team.  Once we have that doc (which we’ll post here and would love your thoughts and feedback), we’ll get to work creating a prototype implementation.  The plan there is just to set up a github repo, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.  And yes, it’s all going to be open — open standard and open source.  This means we’ll be looking for your input every step of the way.

While there are still many details to figure out and many contentious points of design to work through, I’m very excited by the progress we’ve made in this first meeting and the fact that pretty much all of the participants see eye-to-eye on the basics of what we think a blueprint should be.  The goal here is to create a better experience for customers by getting all the players in the industry to agree on a standard.  I think we’ve taken an important first step towards that goal today.  Certainly a great way to start 2015!