Kubernetes on VMware Vsphere 7 – Delivering Better Density and Performance

The VMware vSphere Kubernetes cluster is comparable cloud-based workflow performance versus bare-metal Kubernetes, a cluster of the same hardware, proved better on some tests.

We found that the two clusters provide comparable performance at two cloud-based workloads. On the TKG cluster, VMware TKG facilitates start-up, and the cluster also supports higher density than the bare metal cluster. These results make VMware vSphere a desirable option for users who work with Kubernetes.

The Benefits of Virtualization Without Performance Failure
You can assume that running Kubernetes on VMware vSphere with TKG will make you give up some performance in exchange for the convenience and flexibility that comes with vSphere 7 with Kubernetes.

To test that assumption, we ran two computationally-intensive cloud loads:

  • Virtualized environment using VMware vSphere 7 Update 1 with Ubuntu Linux and TKG
  • Bare-metal cluster running on Ubuntu Linux and Kubernetes open source

About VMware vSphere 7 Update 1
According to VMware, vSphere 7 Update 1 (or vSphere 7U1) offers the following:

  • Improved hardware compatibility check with vSphere Lifecycle Manager for vSAN environments
  • Increased number of concurrent operations of vSphere Lifecycle Manager on clusters
  • Support for vSphere Lifecycle Manager for coordinated updates between access zones
  • an extended list of supported versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu for the VMware vSphere Update Manager (UMDS) Download Service
  • Improved VMware Tools time synchronization control
  • Increased Support for Maximum Multiprocessor Error Tolerances (SMP-FT)
  • virtual hardware version 18
  • Increased maximum resources for virtual machines and performance improvements

vSphere Virtual Switches
There is more than one way to set up the NSX-T virtual switching environment. I set up management networks, vMotion, vSAN, and NFS on some virtual switches for my lab.

For those items, it does not matter what buttons are included, and they could be on the default controls, and these are probably the port groups you set for all vSphere environments.

For NSX components, I deployed a distributed vSphere 7 (VDS) switch across my workflow and edge cluster. I created two port groups of VDS, which will be used by the work nodes deployed later in the series.

From the image below, you can see that I created NSX_Edge-Uplink group port and NSX_TEP per group. Each of these port groups is marked VLAN by the VLAN shown in the table in the previous section.

If you want, you can have multiple port groups on this switch. When you create new “segments” on the NSX-T, they will appear as port groups on this switch.

This lab uses VMware VSAN to store workload virtual machines, and thus the VM Supervision Cluster. You will need to use other storage solutions, but you will need a VMware storage policy that works with your sales data. I created a storage policy called Hollow-Storage-Profile that will be used for my build.

Meanwhile, VMware Tanzu, for application modernization, is another product portfolio, including a Kubernetes extension called the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, that helps organizations work with Kubernetes mini-cluster environments on a variety of infrastructure systems. Other components of VMware Tanzu include:

  • VMware Tanzu Mission Control is a centralized management platform for the secure operation of the Kubernetes infrastructure and modern applications across multiple teams and clouds. It acts as the only control point for resource management across environments and increases security and governance.
  • The newly available VMware Tanzu Application Catalog, a versatile open-source software from the Bitnami catalog, is reliably secured, tested, and maintained for production use.

It's the new VMware vSphere 7, with streamlined, self-developed growing functionality, though, which will likely attract a lot of attention among a series of new releases.

VMware marked a “new chapter” in its history by introducing a portfolio of application/infrastructure modernization offerings led by the new vSphere 7 supported by Kubernetes.

It gives the company's customers a new lease of life: a shared platform for both Kubernetes / Container and Virtual Machine (VM) loading.

In the past, we have seen clients set up different environments for Kubernetes with specialized teams and processes. With the development of Kubernetes in vSphere, customers can now consolidate their modern and traditional application environments into one bunch and take advantage of existing technology and operations right away.

It also addresses another critical limitation of Kubernetes’ success: the skills gap. With minimal additional training, your vSphere administrators can now support Kubernetes and modern applications run in containers.

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