VMware talk about Kubernetes, edge computing, and the ever so difficult question of when to modernise

VMware have led discussions around virtualisation for many years, but as containers take the world by storm, the company is evolving to support them. We speak to VMware about its upcoming Kubernetes offering, Project Pacific, as well as the future of application development and IT infrastructure.

VMware has come a very long way since it first wowed developers and IT teams with the functionality of its defining product, vSphere. As the pioneer of operating system virtualisation server consolidation, the company built its reputation on making life easier for developers, while saving large companies some serious cash. While vSphere, and virtual machines in general, continue to serve as core parts of many enterprise development environments around the world, the company has evolved with the industry and has catered for and inspired industry trends of the digitally transformed business, including the switch to public, hybrid, and multi-cloud.

A big part of this shift, in recent times, has been a fundamental change in how developers are writing and orchestrating applications. While VMware has provided the platform of choice for creating and managing VMs, containers have been increasingly taken the world of enterprise IT by storm. Of course, one of the organisations leading this charge is Kubernetes, with its container orchestration platform. Both private and public entities are increasingly falling in love with the idea of managing their applications as containers using Kubernetes, as the medium provides a raft of advantages, including a more lightweight nature, faster deployment times, and increased ease of scalability.

VMware has been supporting Kubernetes for some time with the availability of the Pivotal Container Service (PKS) on VMware Cloud, and has been signalling at an increased focus on the open-source platform through its acquisitions of Heptio and indeed, Pivotal. Although things really kicked up a notch at its VMworld event in San Francisco, where the company announced ‘Project Pacific', which essentially fuses vSphere with Kubernetes. This has been positioned as the biggest update to vSphere in a very long time, and the company is backing it to have somewhat of a transformative effect on the industry and indeed VMware itself.

At VMware's European event in Barcelona (VMworld Europe), we sat down with VMware solutions marketing director Rory Choudhuri, to talk about why there is so much demand for Project Pacific and how the offering will position the containers vs VMs debate. In conjunction, Choudhuri also discusses the massively difficult question enterprises face today around when to update legacy applications and infrastructure and go all-in on modernisation. Finally, we talked to Choudhuri about where the industry is moving next, including both serverless architectures and distributed computing/edge.

VMware elaborated a little bit on it's 'Project Pacific' offering, which will allow VMs to run alongside containers in vSphere. There seems to be a fair amount of hype and customer interest for this project to the point where you've found it tough keeping up with demand, why do you think this is the case? 

I think the reason there is so much customer interest is that it's answering a genuine need. The fact is, more and more organisations are writing applications for their own internal use, and the way those applications are written is changing. Fundamentally, that means developers need a new environment on which to write. If they don't get it from IT, they'll go external, and a shadow IT situation will arise, as developers seek answers to issues by themselves.

However, shadow IT never happens if a developer has an adequate environment in which to work and that's what we're looking to accomplish with Pacific. I would actually argue that the interest in the project is not hype, because we're not actually trying to hype it. We're just going in this direction because we've seen a market shift and we have the expertise - as well as a privileged position within the infrastructure of an organisation - to be able to provide the platform on which firms can respond to that shift.

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