VMware Unveils Tanzu Mission Control for Kubernetes Cluster Control

Of all the products that VMware Inc. announced at VMworld this year the one that caught my eye is Tanzu Mission Control (TMC), which is part of the Tanzu portfolio. TMC's goal is to manage Kubernetes (K8s) clusters regardless if they reside on vSphere, VMware Pivotal Container Service (PKS), OpenShift, public clouds, managed services, packaged distributions or even K8s clusters that you put together yourself. It will allow you to provision new K8s clusters and will be policy-driven for user access, quotas, backup, security, and so on for individual K8s clusters or groups of K8s clusters.

Although the details on TMC are still sparse, it looks like TMC will be a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based control plane and will treat your K8s clusters like a new layer of abstraction. TMC will give you lifecycle management and control, role-based access control, and the ability to inspect the health of your K8s clusters.

You'll be able to manage the entire lifecycle of your K8s clusters: From instantiation to decommissioning, TMC will allow single-click provisioning, upgrade and maintenance for cloud-hosted K8s clusters; as well as policy-driven security and configuration management of K8s clusters. Compliancy inspection via Sonobouy, which came with VMware's acquisition of Heptio, while another lifecycle feature that came from Heptio is K8s backup and restore, which is driven by Velero, which was known as ARK under Heptio.

Day-to-day management features include unified access management, which allows you to manage permissions and user access to clusters from TMC. TMC will be able to monitor the health of K8s clusters, as well as identify common issues that they may be having. One of the biggest problems that TMC will address is having visibility into usage and management of the resources that users are allowed to access.

The scope of what TMC is trying to accomplish is truly mind-boggling when you consider the number of projects that can make up a K8s cluster. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) landscape map tracks 1,192 different projects that have a market cap of more than $10 Trillion USD  and funding of over $60 billion USD (Figure 1).

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1. The CNCF landscape map.

Trying to manage and control all multiple K8s clusters regardless of where they reside will be a challenging undertaking, but if VMware can manage to rope in and manage them with a universal management plane, such as TMC, they could make TMC as ubiquitous in future datacenters as vSphere is today.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 30 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 20 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He currently works as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware in Staff and Senior level positions. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on X @vDoppler.


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