Pivotal-VMware-Google forge container partnership

Pivotal, VMware and Google have teamed up on a containerization project that the companies say should simplify creating, deploying and managing container projects at scale.

The companies are taking what is a set of open-source products and providing a commercial underpinning with the various parties in the partnership bringing the product to market. Google will sell it as part of the Google Cloud Platform. Pivotal and VMware will have their sales teams selling it, and Dell-EMC (which owns Pivotal and VMware) could be selling it with their hardware offerings in a package.

Let’s start by breaking down the roles here: Google brings Kubernetes to the table, the open-source container orchestration tool. Pivotal adds the Platform as a Service piece with Cloud Foundry and VMware adds a management layer to pull it all together.

Pivotal gets the naming rights as it’s called Pivotal Container Service. That’s PKS for short, because I guess they don’t understand the concept of an acronym. Regardless, the companies have banded together to deliver “production-ready Kubernetes” on VMware vSphere and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with ensured ongoing compatibility with Google Container Engine, which you guessed it, has the acronym GKE. ¯(ツ)

The product is actually based on Kubo, an open-source container management product created by Google and Pivotal. With PKS, the idea is to provide a familiar container development environment on Cloud Foundry for developers used to working with Kubernetes.

VMware is the underlying management layer that allows operations to deploy containers and manage the entire container lifecycle. When you put it all together, this becomes an enterprise-class container creation, deployment and management system.

Google Cloud VP of product marketing Sam Ramji says when he was running the Cloud Foundry Foundation before coming to Google last year, he was already seeing Cloud Foundry as the easiest way to get containers into production, and they were thinking about how to get it to work with Kubernetes even then.

Meanwhile, James Waters from Pivotal was seeing many large customers using Google Cloud tools with Pivotal tools and the need for Kubernetes in the tool kit became readily apparent as it grew in popularity.

As for VMware, Sanjay Poonen says they were seeing large customers thinking about containers with Cloud Foundry as a container development environment just as Kubernetes was gaining momentum as the container orchestration engine.

All of that, combined with the interconnections between the three companies, put them on a course to build this new product together. It will be available sometime in the fourth quarter this year.