Containers Meet Virtualization: Getting Started with vSphere with Tanzu


Containers Meet Virtualization - Getting Started with vSphere with Tanzu

The technology landscape is rapidly evolving. Forward-thinking organizations recognize the need to embrace both containerized applications through Kubernetes and virtual machine workloads built on vSphere.

VMware has developed an innovative solution to combine these two critical technologies – vSphere with Tanzu. This allows enterprises to operate containers and VMs in a unified operational model.

In this post, we will do a deep dive into vSphere with Tanzu. We’ll explore its components, architecture, and capabilities. We’ll also walk through a detailed example of setting up a production-grade Kubernetes cluster running inside vSphere. By the end, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of how vSphere with Tanzu powers the future of modern apps on enterprise infrastructure.

Diving Into vSphere with Tanzu

vSphere with Tanzu is powered by advanced integration between vSphere 7 and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG). Here’s an overview of how it works:

  • ESXi hosts are configured as a virtualization platform for TKG clusters
  • TKG deploys Kubernetes control plane components as VMs on vSphere
  • Developer-defined containers run alongside VMs on shared infrastructure
  • All resources are centrally managed through vCenter Server

This architecture unlocks the full capabilities of vSphere like DRS, HA, and vMotion for TKG clusters. It also brings enterprises the self-service provisioning, automation, and scalability of Kubernetes.

Some key benefits this unique approach provides:

  • Streamlined operations for infrastructure teams
  • Flexibility and speed for developers
  • Native security controls via micro-segmentation
  • Visibility into container resource utilization
  • Simplified networking and storage for containers
  • Enterprise-grade SLAs for availability and performance

With vSphere handling the infrastructure layer, developers can consume and manage Kubernetes clusters through native Kubernetes APIs and CLIs. At the same time, IT retains centralized control over the full stack.

Now let’s walk through how an enterprise can start its vSphere with Tanzu journey…

Step-by-Step Setup

Bringing up a production vSphere with the Tanzu environment involves these key steps:

vSphere Pre-Requisites

To enable vSphere with Tanzu, an organization needs vSphere 7 deployed on modern infrastructure like Dell EMC VxRail. The environment must meet sizing requirements for hosts, cluster resources, networking, and shared storage via vSAN or VxFlex OS.

Install Tanzu Packages

Within the vCenter Server HTML5 client, admins can enable vSphere with Tanzu capabilities. This registers Tanzu services like TKG, Harbor, and Contour with vSphere infra.

Create Networking Constructs

TKG clusters need network segments, load balancers, and ingress routing configured. This can leverage VMware NSX-T logical switches, routers, and policies to enable secure Kubernetes pod connectivity.

Deploy TKG Cluster

From vCenter, an admin selects resources like hosts, datastores, and networks to deploy a TKG cluster. The TKG control plane consists of etcd, API server, controllers, CoreDNS, and more deployed as VMs.

Initialize Worker Nodes

The TKG cluster then initializes worker node VMs, which run components like kubelet, kube-proxy, and container runtimes. Pods get distributed across workers by Kubernetes orchestration.

Configure Access and Security

Integrate the TKG cluster with enterprise identity sources, security controls, and policies. Utilize Pinniped, OPA Gatekeeper, Falco, Carbon Black, and similar tools for Kubernetes security.

And that’s it – with those steps complete, developers can now access the production-grade Kubernetes cluster running natively on vSphere!


vSphere with Tanzu represents a major evolution in enterprise infrastructure. Siloed deployments of VMs and containers create operational complexity. vSphere with Tanzu provides the perfect convergence of these critical technologies.

Now enterprises can support diverse workloads via VMs and containers in a unified platform. This agility accelerates application delivery while maintaining governance, visibility, and control. As organizations look to the future, vSphere with Tanzu will be the de facto standard for the hybrid cloud.

Of course, realizing the full benefits of vSphere with Tanzu requires developing deep expertise across vSphere, Kubernetes, and Tanzu. That’s where VMware training from LearnQuest comes in.

LearnQuest provides premier instruction on VMware technologies to companies across EMEA. For hands-on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid skills, we recommend the “VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid: Install, Configure, Manage [V1.5]” course. This intensive 3-day course covers:

  • Architecting and deploying Tanzu Kubernetes Grid
  • Creating and customizing Tanzu Kubernetes clusters
  • Installing and configuring Tanzu Grid packages like Harbor, Contour, and Prometheus
  • Best practices for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid operations and troubleshooting

Investing in certified training from LearnQuest gives IT teams the skills and knowledge needed to master innovative solutions like vSphere with Tanzu. LearnQuest’s blend of theory and hands-on practice accelerates competency development.

As you look to leverage vSphere with Tanzu’s capabilities, partner with LearnQuest for success. LearnQuest’s VMware training ensures your team is fully prepared to gain maximum value from these innovative solutions.

Browse LearnQuest’s Full VMware Course Catalog