So today want to talk a little bit about VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG). One of the reasons for this blog post is that TKG will replace Tanzu Community edition on which I wrote a how to back in 2021. And with replace I mean users can now start using TKG for free instead of using the Community edition.

I figured it would be interesting to see what you can do with VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instead of the Community edition.

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid- A quick introduction

First of all let’s talk a bit more about the community edition. Why would VMware pull the plug on this open source project?

Well to quote VMware it self:

Cloud native practitioners value free and easy access to a version of Tanzu software with which they can experiment and explore. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, available as a free download, offers a conformant Kubernetes runtime solution built on open source, offers capabilities similar to Tanzu Community Edition, and provides a frictionless upgrade path to commercial Tanzu offerings.

I recon from reading this statement VMware aims to offer a “starting” package which is essentially a way for customers to get familiar with Tanzu before buying any of the commercial offerings without the need to fully migrate / rebuild as with the Community edition. If you want some more details on the why of this all please have a look here.

What is VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid?

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (or TKG) offers organisations a Kubernetes runtime for Tanzu Kubernetes operations. VMware likes to call it an consistent, upstream-compatible Kubernetes substrate.

TKG offers Kubernetes as a utility to developers just like a power grid (hence the name I guess). This grid can be used to deploy and manage clusters in a familiar maner for those already using Kubernetes.

Source: VMware

TKG is offered with VMware support so you have all the backings of VMware if and when needed. The grid provides all the necessary services like for instance: networking, logging, authentication and ingress control.

How can you deploy VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid?

There are several different options when it comes to deploying TKG which all include a management cluster.

The deployment options are:

  • Supervisor is a management cluster that is deeply integrated into vSphere with Tanzu and also performs infrastructure-level functions apart from supporting TKG 2.
  • Standalone management cluster is a management cluster that runs as dedicated VMs, to support TKG on multiple cloud infrastructures.

With a Supervisor deployment TKG integrates nicely into vSphere natively. Meaning you can make use of other vSphere features and services like for instance: vSphere SSO, networking and storage.

With a Standalone management cluster you can deploy Kubernetes clusters both on premises in vSphere environments as well as in hyperscaler clouds like Azure and AWS.

Reference documentation

To help you get started with TKG I included some reference documentation that might be useful on your TKG journey and Tanzu in general.

Final thoughts and wrap up

So there you have it a very quick introduction into VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.

But before I forget, lets quickly circle back to the community edition. I think that one of the major draw backs of replacing the Community edition with TKG is that you can no longer run it on your laptop for instance so for those not having a awesome homelab to play with you might be in for a bit of a challenge. But on the other hand you do get a much more feature rich environment in return that can integrate nicely with the other Tanzu products and services.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post an I invite you to browse around a bit more to see what else could be interesting to read.


By Arjen Kloosterman

Sr. Solutions Engineer @ Netapp

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