Partners: VMware's 'Bold' Kubernetes Acquisition Creates Container Platform Leader


VMware's planned acquisition of Kubernetes star Heptio has channel partners excited about the company's future as the leading enterprise platform for containers.

David Klee, founder and chief architect at Heraflux Technologies, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based solution provider and VMware partner, said VMware will be a force to be reckoned with alongside Heptio and its AWS partnership that includes Amazon's Relational Database Service (RDS).

"If they can incorporate Heptio and Kubernetes, you can now basically push containers from on-premise out to the cloud and back, depending on what you need. I feel like that's where VMware is going and it is an incredibly unique play for VMware," said Klee. "If you can extend Amazon services and orchestration management with the largest on-premise virtualization install base in the world – that changes the game. All these pieces like Heptio are falling in place together very slowly. VMware is reinventing itself by becoming the on-premise extension of the major cloud players."

[Related: VMware and Dell EMC Tighten VxRail, VxBlock Integration For Hybrid Cloud 'Easy Button']

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The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization leader on Tuesday signed an agreement to acquire the Kubernetes startup which was founded in 2016 by Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie. Beda and McLuckie are two of the original creators of Kubernetes technology while the pair was working at Google.

"Acquiring Beda, McLuckie and the Heptio team is a big pickup for VMware, and a win for the channel and our customers," Dan McCormick, executive vice president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based VMware partner and 2018 CRN Triple Crown winner.

McCormick said the acquisition is a "bold move" for VMware. "If the market is going to create 500 million applications that traverse on-premise and multi-cloud in the next four to five years, the Heptio acquisition will be a critical element in bringing those applications to the enterprise," McCormick said. "It underscores the magnitude of the shift to hybrid and multi-cloud in the industry."

Heptio has quickly become a leader in the open Kubernetes ecosystem by offering products and expertise aimed at helping organizations deploy and operationalize Kubernetes. VMware PKS is the company's enterprise-grade Kubernetes solution enabling customers to deploy, run and manage Kubernetes for production. The Kubernetes service was built in partnership with Google and Pivotal Software, which like VMware is part of the Dell Technologies family of businesses.

"Heptio products and services will reinforce and extend VMware's efforts with PKS to establish Kubernetes as the de facto standard for infrastructure across clouds upon closing," said Paul Fazzone, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Native Apps Business Unit, VMware, in a statement.

VMware COO Sanjay Poonen on Tuesday tweeted that the Heptio's acquisition shows the company's increased commitment to be the enterprise platform for containers.

Boom! Excited to announce the acquisition of @Heptio, welcome the creators of #Kubernetes to @VMware. We are making an increased commitment to be THE enterprise platform for Containers, surpassing all othera, just like we were for VMs, building on #PKS, at #VMworld...

— Sanjay Poonen (@spoonen) November 6, 2018

Heraflux's Klee said VMware is giving channel partners a standard platform to work with. "Bottom line, VMware needed an orchestration tool that will work no matter where they go. Kubernetes is the standard there, so it makes perfect sense," he said.

At VMworld today, VMware enhanced its technology partnership with IBM including new integrations to help enterprises modernize applications with Kubernetes.

VMware also unveiled today Cloud Foundation 3.5 which includes new Kubernetes support. VMware also integrated Cloud Foundation with NSX-T aimed to simplify the implementation of network and security tasks around Kubernetes.

In a blog post on Tuesday, McLuckie said Heptio's mission of building a platform that accelerates IT in a multi-cloud world will be realized with VMware.

"We are on the precipice of a major transformation -- the de-coupling of applications from the environments where they are run. And we feel a responsibility to help organizations navigate this transformation to true cloud native architecture," said McLuckie. "To realize the greatest possible impact, Heptio would need access to an entirely different level of resources and execution capabilities than we have today. … Who is best positioned to lead this transformation? The company that led a parallel transformation -- the software defined data center."