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VMware announces VKE for a multicloud world

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Expanding its SaaS portfolio, VMware has announced the public beta of VMware Kubernetes Engine.
VMware Kubernetes Engine is an enterprise-grade Kubernetes-as-a-Service offering that provides easy to use, “secure by default”, and cost-effective Kubernetes. VKE will launch first on AWS.  In the future, VMware will also support VKE on Azure and additional cloud environments as part of the company’s multi-cloud strategy.
VMware said that it has created an abstraction called VMware Smart Cluster. The Smart Cluster is a collection of policies that capture the desired state of a fully compliant Kubernetes cluster. The Smart Cluster implementation takes the policies and continuously evaluates the security, health, and size of the Kubernetes clusters and remediates any deviations.
Building on the Smart Cluster, the company has created a set of strongly typed Smart Clusters to choose from.
VKE currently has two Smart Cluster types, Developer and Production, that factor the over 50 different configuration decisions that need to be made to achieve security and availability best practices for Kubernetes and AWS into a simple choice, given your service-level objectives.

The various decisions regarding master nodes, etcd, and worker node composition, network and storage configuration are managed by VKE given your service-level objectives.

The company sees three basic models going forward regarding abstractions of the Kubernetes cluster:
1) Abstract nothing.
2) Abstract the control plane only, pull the control plane (master nodes and etcd) behind the curtain and leave the customer to manage the hundreds of worker nodes.
3) Abstract everything, pull both the control plane and the worker nodes behind the curtain.

VMware said that the company is operating under the assumption the highest ratio of customer value to cost is in the ‘abstract everything’ model and therefore have set our bar at turning the entire Kubernetes cluster into a policy-defined, dial-tone service.

Most importantly, the underlying goal of the simplifications brought by VKE is to enable adoption of Kubernetes without additional, highly specialized staff.

Here are some of the implementation details in VKE in support of multi-cloud:
• VMware Kubernetes Engine itself runs on AWS and supports the creation of clusters on native EC2 instances. At General Availability, the company plans to be in three AWS regions–US-East1, US-West2 and EU-West1. VKE provides a single endpoint for the service which spans all supported regions.

• The VKE Connections feature offers a native integration with AWS’ VPC peering capability for customers who want to access their existing AWS workloads and AWS services using private network connectivity.

To sum it up, VKE manages security for the customers by making sure that all components are fully patched with a Kubernetes environment hardened for production, encrypting communications, and providing network isolation.

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