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ICYMI: A Recap of 2021 in VMware Open Source Blogs

If 2020 presented a host of unforeseen challenges, 2021 showcased more organizational and individual growth and adaptability than ever before. And in the world of open source, growth and adaptability were consistent themes throughout the year. From project’s making their way into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox to our open source experts dropping knowledge on how to make open source more inclusive, it’s clear that 2021 has brought lots of positive development. Let’s recap the blogs that resonated most within our open source community and provide a peek into the trends shaping open source in the future. 

Project News

2021 was a busy year for VMware’s open source projects. Here are just a few of the highlights: 

Project Antrea’s big year

Antrea reached many milestones in 2021, including the release of  v1.0. With this release, Antrea added both new features to enhance Kubernetes-native networking and granularity and consistency in policy enforcement. Key features of v1.0 include cluster-wide security policies and policy tiering, control of the Egress Node and SNAT IP of Pod Egress Traffic, observability and diagnostics, and so much more. 

Not too long after the 1.0 release, Antrea was accepted into the CNCF Sandbox in the hope that it will increase the visibility of the project, help bring new contributors on board, and promote synergy with other projects hosted by the CNCF. It’s safe to say that 2021 was the year Antrea hit it’s growth spurt! We look forward to seeing how the project team continues to build off of this momentum. 

Herald’s journey of innovation

Herald is an open source Bluetooth protocol, intended to improve the accuracy and efficacy of contact tracing. It was originally conceived to help address the immediate needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the project’s maintainers envisioned other uses for the technology, including medical equipment exposure tracing and food supply safety. Since its release on Github in late 2020, Herald was accepted into the Linux Foundation – Public Health (LFPH) and is now a globally accessible open source project adopted by regional and national entities. Today, Herald can be found on 7 million phones, providing the scientific community with reference data for broad-based studies on epidemiological risk models.

Each year, the OpenUK awards recognize and celebrate U.K. leadership in the field of Open Technology. In November, VMware Platform Architect and Herald Maintainer Adam Fowler realized the fruits of his and the team’s labor when he received news that Project Herald was awarded OpenUK’s top software project. Hear, hear for Herald! 

Versatile Data Kit: the new kid on the GitHub block

Versatile Data Kit is a data engineering framework that enables data engineers to develop, troubleshoot, run, and manage data processing workloads (called “Data Jobs”). This framework, in production for more than three years in VMware’s internal Data Analytics platform, helps VMware data engineers, analysts, and scientists manage hundreds of terabytes of data. In October, the team made this framework available on GitHub as Versatile Data Kit. This project  helps to optimize the work of data engineers at every step of the engineering cycle, from defining the business problem to efficiently managing and monitoring multiple applications. With Versatile Data Kit available in open source, we look forward to the new insights and fresh ideas to come.

Thought Leadership in Open Source

Thought leadership can help organize people towards a common goal — and this includes open source thought leaders! Our VMware experts are no strangers to sharing their wide breadth of knowledge in the open source space in the hopes that individuals interested in getting involved realize the endless possibilities within the community. Here are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom shared by some of our leaders: 

Carlisia’s tips to foolproof your career

This year, Carlisia Thompson, Senior Member of Technical Staff at VMware, spoke about how open source can accelerate your career and make it more resilient at the Women Transforming Technology Conference. She explained how factors such as skill obsolescence, career mobility, and employability can impact someone’s career trajectory. But with open source, individuals can choose what they want to work on based on their interests, skill sets, and level of expertise. Some large projects also provide formal mentoring or shadow programs for those looking to work on a new skill with expert guidance. By participating in open source projects, you can build a publicly accessible resume, demonstrate initiative, and strengthen your interpersonal and collaboration skills — all makings of a fantastic job candidate. 

Dawn’s thoughts on the evolution of OSPOs

Dawn Foster, Director of Open Source Community Strategy, led a panel discussion at this year’s OSPOCon talking through the evolution of Open Source Program Offices. The conversation focused on the results of the 2021 TODO Group Open Source Program Management Survey, as well as asking each of the panelists their thoughts on the ever-changing landscape of open source. During the discussion, it was noted that many survey respondents belong to companies of 50 people or less. Stemming from this survey result, Dawn and the panelists concluded that they should take a closer look to figure out how they, as a community, can help smaller companies execute open source initiatives. The group also discussed the need for making it as easy as possible for companies to participate and reasons why an organization would want to get involved in open source. By having discussions like this, we can further advance the state of open source program management across the industry. 

Communication is key

Have you ever come across an acronym that you didn’t understand? To you, “LGTM” may just read as a jumble of characters. To others, they know it as shorthand for “looks good to me.” The difference? One may leave you feeling confused and isolated while the other is crystal clear. 

At All Things Open 2021, Nigel Brown, VMware Open Source Community Manager, delivered a lively talk entitled “LGTM,” articulating a surprising barrier he’s identified in working in open source, despite ubiquitous efforts to make the industry inclusive: language. Nigel noted that the jargon used in the industry makes it increasingly difficult for everyone to contribute, as some people don’t understand what the acronyms mean. Nigel encouraged attendees to be more intentional with their language, provided resources for learners, and focused on inviting current community members to spend more time mentoring. 

It’s impossible to separate community from communication. From meetups and chat rooms to README files, demo instructions, code of conduct, etc., all of these elements inform and teach potential users and contributors about the project. That’s why it’s critical to make every facet of your open source language clear and inclusive. You can find more information on how to eliminate language barriers in open source in our blogs Do I Make Myself Clear? and Do I Make Myself Clear? Pt. 2

Technically Speaking

2021 also proved to be a year for projects to flex their technical muscles. Here are three that we’d like to spotlight: 

Cluster API

When Enyinna Ochulor joined the VMware team, his primary goal was to take a more active role in the Kubernetes community. This goal has led him to Cluster API,  a project that introduces Kubernetes orchestration with the use of declarative style API akin to the Kubernetes API. The cloud agnostic nature of Cluster API makes it an appealing solution for projects based on just about any cloud foundation. As a result of his acquaintance with Cluster API, Enyinna compiled the key takeaways of its documentation — you can shorten your time to endorphins by reading the steps outlined in Kubernetes Cluster API Developer Setup


Authentication is an important part of modern app development that should be done by the book and not put off until later. However, it can easily become complex and overwhelming. Enter Pinniped, a VMware-originated open source project that can help and simplify authentication. It allows cluster administrators to easily plug in various identity providers and gives users a consistent “log-in-once” authentication experience across all Kubernetes clusters. To find out how Pinniped can be used to switch and configure authentication sources and how to get involved with the community, read Kubernetes Authentication Made Simple with Pinniped


In software development, it is understood that you should build test cases and documentation for your software. Ktest is a framework used to help standardize how to run tests, and allows for bisecting them against the Linux kernel. John Hawley explains how to run tests via a serial port, what a target system requires for ktest, and much more in his blog post Ktest with VMware Guest

More Innovation to Come in 2022!

Thanks for taking a walk down our open source memory lane. Stay tuned for more on the Open Source Blog and follow us on Twitter for more updates into the world of open source contributing. 


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