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VMware Unveils New Kubernetes Master Services Competency, Project Pacific Program

VMware launches a new Cloud Native Master Services Competency and Project Pacific beta program in a move to push channel partners to double down on Kubernetes.

As VMware strives to become the Kubernetes kingpin, the virtualization superstar is pushing channel partners to follow with the launch on Tuesday of a new Cloud Native Master Services Competency as well as a beta program for vSphere’s Project Pacific.

“Channel partners shouldn’t wait on Kubernetes because this is a transformative technology that we’re seeing customers wanting more of,” said Chris Wolf, vice president and CTO, Global Field and Industry at VMware, in an interview with CRN. “There’s not a huge base of talent out there that you can hire [for Kubernetes] so it’s really important for partners to start building expertise organically. Customers are looking to our partners to start to offer high-level services for them. We’re launching this now because there’s no time like the present for partners to develop these skills.”

VMware’s new Cloud Native Master Service Competency will enable partners to architect a Kubernetes-based platform supported by complementary technologies from the cloud native ecosystem for continuous delivery of applications. The competency builds upon VMware’s Pivotal Container Service (PKS) Solution Competency to provide partners with the capabilities to offer VMware PKS to their customers.

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The Cloud Native Master Service Competency includes training around application deployment to a cluster, the containerization of applications, identifying proper pod security policy and admission control options, as well as implementation options for backup, cluster monitoring and logging. A prerequisite for the competency is needing to be a Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA).

VMware’s Master Services Competencies are a critical part of the company’s new partner program, VMware Partner Connect, set to launch in February. With now a total of six available to partners, the competencies recognize and validate services-capable partners while allowing solution providers to differentiate themselves.

Alicia Davis, practice manager for Cloud & DevOps at Cincinnati-Ohio-based RoundTower Technologies, a top VMware partner, said she plans to go “all-in” on the Cloud Native Master Service Competency.

“The Tanzu product and VMware’s Kubernetes push is what the market wants right now,” said Davis. “This [competencies] is another layer of advancing our technical capabilities and being able to really talk to our customers about the business value.”

The new competency was unveiled on Tuesday at VMWorld 2019 Europe along with the launch of a new beta program for Project Pacific, which aims to embed Kubernetes into vSphere. The goal is to transform vSphere into a Kubernetes-based portfolio for modern applications, helping customers succeed at each step of their cloud native journey.

Project Pacific is now available in early form to select customers and partners through the advanced beta program. There is an online application for partners to sign-up to be part of the beta program, according to Wolf.

“Project Pacific is native Kubernetes on our platform allowing customers to use their existing tools and processes to manage Kubernetes pods in clusters right alongside the virtual machines. That’s inclusive of Kubernetes pods on bare-metal,” said Wolf.

Wolf said Kubernetes is just one use case in Project Pacific. “Kubernetes is an important use case, but we have a broader vision here whereby having native Kubernetes APIs as the integration point for our stack, this makes it very easy for PaaS and SaaS offerings to be ported so they can be run locally on our stack as well. We see this as a broader vision beyond Kubernetes to really capture a broad range of apps and services going forward,” he said.

Project Pacific will enable vSphere administrators to leverage the tools they already know to deploy and manage Kubernetes and container infrastructure anywhere VMware vSphere runs including on-premises, in a hybrid cloud and on hyper-scalers. Developers will also be able to easily manage their application services and deployment using the Kubernetes tools they are familiar with.

Project Pacific will include fully integrated container networking, which simplifies Kubernetes implementation, deployment and management. It will also include integrated Cloud Native Storage that enables developers to provision any vSphere- supported storage on-demand in a fully-automated fashion.

Project Pacific is part of VMware’s broad Kubernetes strategy dubbed Tanzu, a portfolio of products and services designed to transform the way enterprises build, run and manage software on Kubernetes.

RoundTower’s Davis said VMware Tanzu hit the nail on the head of where the market is heading both technically and in terms of channel go-to-market.

“If you look at what [IT research firm] Gartner recommends from a reference architecture -- that’s Tanzu. From a channel perspective, I like following technical solutions, I’ll sell this all day long because I know we can back it up. It follows best practices,” said Davis. “It’s really going to drive competition in the market. It could be a good product to displace IBM-Red Hat who’s a strong competitor.”

VMware has been investing heavily in Kubernetes for well over a year. In December 2018, VMware acquired Kubernetes star Heptio for $550 million. The startup was created in 2016 by two of the original creators of Kubernetes, Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, who are both now part of VMware’s Kubernetes innovation engine. VMware is also slated to acquire DevOps specialist Pivotal Software, owner of the popular enterprise Kubernetes platform Pivotal Container Service (PSK).

“This year was Kubernetes for VMware. Next year, they’re already making their bets on security. They’re ahead of the curve,” said Davis. “It comes down to what the go-to-market strategy is for Tanzu and what the technical solution ends up being. If they nail those, they will dominate the market.”

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