VMware’s Tanzu Lead Over ‘Monolithic’ Red Hat Extends At VMworld, Says President

VMware’s new president, Sumit Dhawan, talks to CRN about the firm’s new Tanzu offerings launched today at VMworld and why Red Hat can’t compete.


With VMware greatly expanding its Tanzu portfolio and market reach at VMworld 2021 today, President Sumit Dhawan says “no one” is able to offer a more in-depth Kubernetes solution than VMware.

“At this stage, no one is able to offer that depth of the solution and the value proposition to customers that Tanzu does,” said VMware’s new President Dhawan, in an interview with CRN. “Customers don’t have to do a DIY solution with putting together a bunch of services from multiple places, which have risks in security and [technical] experience.”

Regarding market competition, Dhawan said Red Hat takes a “monolithic” approach to containers and Kubernetes.

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“We have taken the approach of keeping the comprehensiveness without being monolithic. Customers tell me that when they look at Red Hat, it’s a monolithic architecture,” said Dhawan. “In other words: you adopt it and it’s all or nothing. It’s not like they can use and adopt a modular set of services and put their own flavor of their own supply chain of software. That’s a key differentiator for us. And we intend to keep it that way.”

[Related: VMware CEO On Nutanix-Red Hat Pact, Dell Spin-Off And Stock]

At VMware’s VMworld 2021 virtual conference today, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization and hybrid cloud software superstar unleashed a slew of new Tanzu offerings including the new VMware Tanzu Community Edition, which allows customers to run and manage Kubernetes-based containerized applications at no cost in multi-cloud environments.

“We want to make sure that customers can get the power of Tanzu easy. Because in the world of DevOps, customers like trying things out before they engage with the partners for rolling them out in the most complete fashion,” said VMware’s President.

VMware’s new Tanzu Community Edition is a free, easy to manage Kubernetes platform for learners and users. The open-source software distribution can be installed and configured in minutes on a local workstation or cloud of choice, and automates end-to-end application delivery with a complete platform for application developers, IT operators, and DevOps engineers.

“Our services are already built on open source. So it’s open source distribution, but now is available for certain set of capabilities that customers can try out, and then start using and utilizing it,” said Dhawan. “It gives us and our partners’ customers the ability to try the product before they invest in us.”

Bob Keblusek, chief technology officer at Sentinel Technologies, a VMware national partner, said his top-notch solution provider is seeing greater adoption of Tanzu which will be elevated by the new, free Tanzu Community Edition.

“That’s to get it in more people’s hands. It will help because it’s a good tool set and they continue to add capabilities. As people move to cloud native applications as they start to migrate from traditional legacy applications, its important to have controls around that as applications sprawl,” said Keblusek.

In addition to selling Tanzu to its customers, fast-growing Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sentinel Technologies is also a Tanzu customer.

“We’ve actually deployed Tanzu ourselves. We use Tanzu as we saw the sprawl of containers for a lot of the services we deliver. So we needed to have better control and give our developers better tools,” said Keblusek. “When we had only a few applications that were containerized, it really wasn’t a huge issue for us. But quickly, we adopted containers from for a lot of our services. As we did, we needed to have better tools. That’s really where Tanzu fit in quite nicely for us as a service.”

There were several other major Tanzu unveiling at VMworld 2021 today, including new capabilities to the Tanzu Application Platform Beta to deliver intrinsic security, supply chain choreography, service bindings and develop tooling including IDE plugins.

“Up until now, we have only offered Kubernetes operation services. We are extending our portfolio to now also offer something that goes all the way to the developers for a great experience,” said Dhawan. “It boosts the value-add that channel partners can take to customers because it’s not just the operators who can use the technology, it also extends the value proposition for developers, which is where often times the budget and the priorities of customers lie.”

Dhawan said VMware is actively signing up customers for the Tanzu Application Platform Beta. “As soon as we’re comfortable that it’s ready, based on the feedback from customers, we plan to make it generally available,” he said.

Other new Tanzu offerings launched at VMworld is that Tanzu Kubernetes Grid now supports Nvidia GPUs in Amazon Web Services and Azure.

VMware’s consistency of expanding its public cloud technology integrations and partnerships with the likes of AWS and Azure is yet another way VMware is differentiating itself from market competition, according to Dhawan.

“Our support for all the clouds in a seamless fashion separates us from the competition,” said Dhawan. “So we have our breath of portfolio; a modular way of customers to adopt the services—not monolithic; as well as integration across all cloud: multi cloud, public cloud, private cloud and edge. … No one can match what we’re doing.”

VMworld 2021 runs from Oct. 5 to Oct. 6.