I spotted this announcement late on Friday afternoon (March 2nd). What is significant about this announcement is that this is the first ever Photon Platform/Controller release available on vmware.com. Previously you could only get it via Github. So what’s in this release? Well, first of all there is now a single SKU which provides you with ESXi, NSX-T, vSAN for Photon Platform as well the core Photon Platform Control plane, which comprises Lightwave, Photon OS and Photon Controller. The binaries for Photon Controller have been bumped up to v1.1.1. Regular readers will be aware that I have written a number of articles around this product, which you can still find on my Cloud Native Apps page. I’ve also written an article on the integration with vSAN (including Lightwave for authentication), but this was written 3 months ago and some of the procedure may have changed since, so I’d urge you to refer to the official documentation for guidance. Now, one piece of the vSphere management infrastructure not mentioned here is vCenter server, and that is the whole point. Photon Platform is geared toward very large infrastructures, which may require 100s or 1000s of ESXi hosts to deploy a particular cloud native app, something that vCenter is not able to manage currently. This is where Photon Platform comes in.
To recap, this is a list of what is included in this new release:
- Install: Photon Platform now has a new installer with extensible & robust logging. This is very welcome. Troubleshooting was very difficult in the earlier versions.
- Networking: NSX-T 1.1 aka Crosshairs integration.
- Storage: vSAN for Photon Platform 1.1 integration.
- Security: ESXi and vSAN now join the Lightwave domain for authentication. This is needed to validate who can run commands to add/remove vSAN to Photon Platform.
The Photon Controller v1.1.1 binaries can be accessed via GitHub and there is still lots of good information on the Photon Controller wiki. The full set of release notes for Photon Controller v1.1.1 are also available there, and you will find the quick start and user guides here. It should be noted that this release does not support ESXi 6.5 at this time.
If you are looking for a highly scalable, multi-tenanted control plane for cloud-native applications (environments where different sets of developers want/need their own development environments or indeed, some developers looking to develop on docker, others wanting to develop on Kubernetes), then this could be just what you are looking for.