VMware already had two flavors of Kubernetes, a fully managed cloud product and an enterprise version with all of the components, such as registry and network, pre-selected by VMware. What this new version does is provide a completely open version of Kubernetes where the customer can choose all the components, giving a flexible option for those who want it, according to Scott Buchanan, senior director of product marketing for cloud-native apps at VMware.
Buchanan said the new product comes directly from the approach that Heptio had taken to selling Kubernetes prior to the acquisition. “We’re introducing a new offering called VMware Essential PKS, and that offering is a packaging of the approach that Heptio took to market and that gained a lot of traction, and that approach is a natural complement to the other Kubernetes products in the VMware portfolio,” he explained.
Buchanan acknowledged that a large part of the market is going to go for the fully managed or fully configured approaches, but there is a subset of buyers that will want more choice in their Kubernetes implementation.
“Larger enterprises with more complex infrastructure want to have a very customized approach to how they build out their architecture. They don’t want to be integrated. They just want a foundation on which to build because the organizations are larger and more complex and they’re also more likely to have an internal DevOps or SREOps team to operate the platform on a day-to-day basis,” he explained.
While these organizations want flexibility, they also require more of a consultative approach to the sale. Heptio had a 40-person field service engineering team that came over in the acquisition, and VMware is in the process of scaling that team. These folks consult with the customer and help them select the different components that make up a Kubernetes installation to fit the needs of each organization.
Buchanan, who also came over in the acquisition, says that being part of VMware (which is part of the Dell family of companies) means they have several layers of sales with VMware, Pivotal and Dell all selling the product.
Heptio is the Kubernetes startup founded by Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, the two men who helped develop the technology while they were at Google. Heptio was founded in 2016 and raised $33.5 million prior to the acquisition, according to Crunchbase data.