Regular readers will know about vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC for short), as I have written a number of articles around my experiences with this new VMware product. Although announced with vSphere 6.5, VIC did not GA at the same time. However, VIC v0.8 is now generally available for vSphere 6.5.
In a nutshell, VIC allows you to deploy “containers as VMs”, not “containers in VMs”. This provides a significant number of advantages to a vSphere admin, as a “container host” (typically a VM where containers run) is a black box to vSphere admins, as you have no idea around resources consumption or networking requirements of the containers running in that VM. VIC addresses this by giving a vSphere admin full visibility into containers from a resource, network and security perspective – essentially the container appears as a VM. This basically means that all those day 2 workflows that you have in place for VMs (backups, auditing, etc) can now also be applied to containers.
Now VIC is more than just the VIC engine. There are other extensions such as Harbor and Admiral that are included with VIC, for storing container images and orchestration of container deployments. I won’t describe them in detail here as I have already written about them on this blog, and my good pal Massimo has a great VIC GA launch article here explaining how this all fits together.
I do think that this approach to “containers as VMs” is resonating with many people in the container space. This quote from Kelsey Hightower is one such example:
Never thought containers based on VM technologies made sense, but Intel’s Clear Containers, Hyper.sh, and VMware’s VIC has me reconsidering.
— Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower) December 9, 2016
Huge congrats to the VIC team on this achievement. Having spent some time with that team during my recent take-3, I know how hard they have worked to make this possible.