Kubernetes Storage Made Easy

vSphere with Tanzu, the easy and integrated way to use Kubernetes in Enterprise environments, is getting a lot of traction currently. One of the main benefits of this solution is the transparent way to consume already existing storage resources.

So, this article describes the different possibilities and essential features that enable consuming persistent storage in your container applications based on Kubernetes.

Top Trends of Our Customers
Result of my presentation poll – interface workshop 02/22

The Tanzu Way

In fact, Tanzu arrives in different editions. Enterprise Plus is mandatory for your ESXi base cluster. In addition, an add-on, with currently three available Tanzu editions: Basic, Standard and Advanced, makes everything possible. Then you enable Tanzu Workload Management in vCenter.

Thus, some requirements exist, like a supported & configured networking and load balancing solution. Furthermore, a lot of different architectural possibilities and design decisions have to be resolved.

Anyway, you need storage resources to provide persistent storage for on one hand your supervisor cluster and on the other your workload clusters for your modern application landscape.

Tough Tanzu means you can operate virtual machines besides Kubernetes clusters with the same interface, resources, and transparency like you have done it for years. Finally, this is the way to your on-premise hybrid cloud environment.

vSphere Storage Resources

Basically, all types of shared storage in vSphere are also supported in Tanzu. On one hand, you got the NFS Shares (NAS), FC or iSCSI LUNs (SAN), the exotic vVOLs (SAN/NAS) and on the other the fully integrated way via. vSAN (HCI) with special features on top.

A mandatory part for usage of storage in Tanzu is the proper configuration of a Storage Policy. Depending on the type of storage, you can utilize various adjustable policy-based features like IOPs limits.

Of course, you can create countless different storage policies and create your own schema to provide an exact fulfillment of your requirements. Besides, people like to call it Gold, Silver, and Bronze depending on the performance and availability demands.

Provisioning Storage for Tanzu Guest Cluster

The consumption of storage in Kubernetes is straightforward through the abstraction and automatic conversion of storage policies to storage classes.

Storage classes are what you consume in Kubernetes to provide your persistent volumes through persistent volume claims.

Actually, vSphere provides an effortless way to group workload clusters into vSphere Namespaces. The vSphere admin has full governance and furnishes these namespaces with the appropriate resources for the developer.

Besides access policies through vSphere single sign on (SSO) you also attach your storage policies to the vSphere namespaces, and you are ready to rock.

Homelab: Fresh Namespace “test-01” with two policies attached (red-box)

Maximum Integration with vSAN

Maximum integration and availability through awesome features that come with vSphere and vSAN 7 U3!

vSAN is now capable of supplying NFS and SMB file services in an easy and automated way. These file services now are fully integrated in vSphere with Tanzu. They provide read write many volumes (RWX) for container services.

This is a giant leap forward to make the life cushier for the vSphere admin and the developer. Different containers can read and write into the same persistent volume (PV).

Moreover, vSAN stretched cluster / fault domain functionality works for Kubernetes environments and is partially supported. VMware’s R&D is working heavily in the background, designing and providing new features as soon as possible.

Homelab: Workload enabled vSAN Stretched Cluster with red annotations

Media, Resources, and Call to Action

Do you want to hear more? In September 2021, we launched our Podcast (German):

burn 4 IT

Thanks to the best colleagues in the world: Jan Philip Hoepfner, Daniel Rusche and many more from Medialine Group, to make that possible.

To sum up, Tanzu is one of our core topics, and we already got different episodes. More in planning and incoming. Every 14 days, a new episode guaranteed.

Find us on all major podcast platforms: Apple, Amazon, Google, …

Finally, we appreciate your feedback, comments, and your thumbs up on our various platforms.

Furthermore, see me and my great fellow workers speaking at our free interface workshop in April 2022. Dresden, Berlin, and Remote attendance possible :).

Link to Agenda and Registration

Get Ready for Next-Gen Networking

We all feel it. The IT world is developing at a rapid pace. Currently, the traditional application sphere is being reinvented. Web 3.0 incoming from many angles. Microservices, distributed systems, scaling, automation and a multi cloud universe heavily rely on networking.

Better, faster and stronger services emerge and make our life easier. New concepts are required and appear on the horizon.

So, I may present you the next iteration of datacenter infrastructure:

SoC (System on Chip) based smart network interface cards (NICs) = DPU

Continue reading “Get Ready for Next-Gen Networking”

Huge Momentum – An Overview of vSphere 7 U2

vSphere 7 U2 was released on the 9th of March 2021 and brought a bunch of nice features for various use cases.

Soon after the release I could upgrade my lab vCenter 7 U1 to U2. Easy through the VAMI: https://vcenter.fqdn:5480. Then I deployed a couple of nested ESXi 7 U2 hosts and came in touch with the new surface.

If you beak the update down, improvements for vCenter, ESXi and vSAN emerge.

Now let’s start with an overview and proceed to my top features and their content.

Continue reading “Huge Momentum – An Overview of vSphere 7 U2”

Hands on Kubernetes with VMware Tanzu

Rapid change is among us. We are flooded with new concepts and technologies. This article will dive into the new possibilities to host cloud native workloads in the vSphere environment. Actually, VMware released a new suite of products in April 2020 named Tanzu.

Finally, I finished designing and implementing my new home-lab environment based on VMware vSphere.

Thus, I could deploy and test many new VMware products and features like vSphere 7 U2, vSAN, vRealize Automation 8.3 and vRealize Orchestrator 8.3. Meanwhile, I feel in love with infrastructure as code. So, I created and edited several JSON & YAML files to get my infrastructure up and running.

In this week the time came to build up a nested environment that is capable to run vSphere with Kubernetes.

Thanks to vSphere 7 U2 Tanzu is now supported with three different load balancing setups: NSX-T the most expensive, HA proxy which is free and new in U2, NSX advanced load balancer essentials free as well. Without load balancing neither Container nor Kubernetes will work properly.

My choice for lab was HA proxy because my nested environment was built stable & lightweight on vSphere 7 U1.

Continue reading “Hands on Kubernetes with VMware Tanzu”

AMD Is Epic Again

This article is a follow up to my last regarding that topic in 2018.

Hence, it offers an update on the wrestling match between AMD and INTEL and some insights regarding VMware.

In addition, I will dive deeper into the current AMD Epyc architecture “Rome” and plot the major improvements and benefits for the workloads.

Continue reading “AMD Is Epic Again”

Last Call For VMworld 2020

This year everything is different, we all have to adapt, improve and overcome the various new challenges. So this year’s VMworld adjusted too. The event starts tomorrow and won’t be hosted on premises in the USA and Europe but exclusively online – featuring world-class tech experts from 29.09. until 01.10.2020.

Let’s focus on the benefits:

  • It has a free part and thus is available for a broader audience
  • No exhausting travel
  • Easier to extract content and create notes

Over 100k people already registered, this is huge.

Continue reading “Last Call For VMworld 2020”

VMware vSphere 7 – Improvements and Architecture Wrap-up

Finally, five years after the release of vSphere 6 in 2015, the time has come for the next level of the first class enterprise hypervisor ESXi and it’s management environment VCenter Server. After several announcements, the new version 7.0 GA was released, public downloadable, at beginning of April 2020. Meanwhile there was a lot of time to stage the first upgrades and evaluate the new features. Read on and check out my insights…

Continue reading “VMware vSphere 7 – Improvements and Architecture Wrap-up”

VMWare vSAN Series – Key Features

In reference to my prior article vSAN – High Available Solution this article will give a glimpse overview of what is possibe with vSAN.

My favorite features:

Easy to install and manage. this kernel based solution requires that you have a vSphere environment already in place. Or you go the greenfield approach.

Scaleability – assign/remove single disks to/from diskgroups – go up to 64 hosts / cluster.

SPBM (Storage Policy Based Management) in place has a rich set of options assigneable to indiviual sets of VMs. Defines a redundancy with up to n+3. Furthermore, on top of it a strechted cluster is possible. A configurable IOPs limit keeps away the noisy neighbor.

In addition, Performance – literally – allflash comes with the smallest license. 

Compression/Deduplication/Encryption is sometimes required and can be activated on vSAN datastore layer.

NVME – the super fast PCIe based technology is supported. Therefore simply use this kind of SSD for Read/Write caching. 

Moreover, utilize x86 standard any vendor server hardware, no complex SAN is required for high availability. Compute, Storage and even Network … all in the box. 

Small=Big – start with an allflash two node direct design. No expensive 10Gbit+ switches have to be attached.

Certainly, integrates in Multicloud and Automation – AWS features the vSphere stack.

In conclusion, this architecture is the answer to various kinds of requirements like availability, performance, manageability, security, recoverability, compliance. However well it depends.

I appreciate your top feature in the comments!

Next:

Subsequently, I will write about the “long walk” again. Attendance Mammutmarsch  Berlin – 25.05.2019, 24h – 100km, confirmed.

After one pass and one fail (Mammutmarsch/Megamarsch Munich) the sails have been  set for another exhausting “why in the hell do I do it again” event xD.

I Wish you all the best!