VMware to use MinIO object storage in Kubernetes embrace

VMware looks likely to provision storage to Kubernetes Pods using MinIO open source object storage, if its own slide is to be believed.

But first some background. VMware is embracing Kubernetes containers, an alternative, more granular form of server virtualization than its own vSphere virtual machines.

VMware is the dominant form of server virtualisation on-premises, and is also available in the cloud with, for example, VMware Cloud Foundation. But cloud-native workloads use containers, not virtual machines and that is a fundamental threat to VMware.

VMware’s Project Pacific strategy

When applications are containerised their code exists in many small pieces, called containers. These deliver micro-services to each other and have standard interfaces, permitting the code inside a container to change without prejudicing its interaction with other containers. When an application is run the component containers have to be loaded into a server’s memory in the right sequence. 

Orchestrator code has to be used for this and the Google-originated Kubernetes has become the most popular orchestrator. In its terminology the set of containers that make up an application is called a Pod and Kubernetes is used to provide storage to a Pod.

VMware is working on an internal Project Pacific development to add a Kubernetes control plane to vSphere. This will enable vSphere admins to manage containerised apps and it will embed Kubernetes concepts in vSphere so that VM-based apps are also orchestrated using Kubernetes.

A VMware blogger, Jared Rosoff, senior director, product management for workload management in vSphere, wrote in August: “The key insight we had at VMware was that Kubernetes could be much more than just a container platform, it could be the platform for ALL workloads.”

He added: “This brings the great Kubernetes developer experience to the rest of our datacenter. It means developers can get the benefits of Kubernetes not just for their cloud native applications, but for ALL of their applications. It makes it easy for them to deploy and manage modern applications that span multiple technology stacks.”

A developer interacts with Project Pacific as if it were Kubernetes. On the other hand a VMware admin sees Project Pacific as vSphere. It gives vSphere the ability to manage complete Kubernetes Pods as well as individual virtual machines that make up applications in existing vSphere environments.

MinIO’s role

A briefing slide showed MinIO’s positioning in VMware’s Kubernetes Pods: 

K8s (Kubernetes) Pods use Minio object storage

MinIO is used in this way, Minio CEO AB Periasamy said, because the software is S3-compliant, fast, widely used across enterprises, and also extensively used by containerised applications.

He said: “We are the native storage when it comes to Kubernetes for VMware. VMware is betting on Kubernetes.”

MinIO CEO AB Periasamy

There have been 288.8 million Docker pulls (downloads) of MinIO instances. Sixty two per cent of all MinIO instances are containerised with Docker, and 27 per cent of all MinIO instances are managed using Kubernetes, meaning 43 per cent of the containerised instances. MinIO is deployed in 84 Fortune 100 enterprises. Blocks & Files understands Apple also has a multi-PB instance of MinIO running.

As VMware users adopt Kubernetes Pods through vSphere, MinIO should be pulled along in its wake.