Feel the AWS Kubernetes love — Dell EMC adds EKS Anywhere to VxRail using VMware on-ramp

Dell EMC has worked with VMware and AWS to add EKS Anywhere to its hyperconverged VxRail systems, with storage needs fulfilled by either vSAN or PowerStore external arrays.

EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) is Amazon’s open-source Kubernetes distribution, enabling the management and deployment of stateless and stateful Kubernetes-orchestrated containers in the AWS cloud. EKS Anywhere is the software behind it and is available for use on-premises in vSphere virtual server environments. As VxRail systems run vSphere, they too can run EKS Anywhere.

Chad Dunn, Dell EMC VP of product management for hyperconverged and converged systems, blogs about this, saying: “Today’s announcement includes certification of two infrastructure configurations based on our fully curated and turnkey VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) system.”

These are standard VxRail with vSAN virtual SAN software using storage drives in the HCI nodes and HCI with dynamic nodes where the storage resource is a Fibre Channel-connected block storage PowerStore array. The VxRail vSphere software runs Kubernetes clusters inside virtual machines and storage requests, routed across the Kubernetes Container Storage Interface (CSI) access virtual disks or vSAN file shares — both of which end up in VxRail’s physical storage. That means SSDs or disk drives in the HCI nodes or the shared access PowerStore array.

The equivalent VxRail EKS Anywhere PowerStore configuration.

Where could we go from here?

There is no direct link between EKS Anywhere and PowerStore and, therefore, no other Dell EMC storage arrays are supported.

However, we ask ourselves, since PowerStore can run VMware VMs inside the array, couldn’t the vSphere hypervisor involved in this run EKS Anywhere and — voilà — PowerStore is running EKS Anywhere directly. We checked with Dell EMC and a spokesperson said: “Hypothetically, yes, it could run it directly but it’s not available today and we don’t comment on specific roadmap plans.”

Dunn blogs: “Customers can run their Kubernetes orchestration in the public cloud or on-premises through a single console with EKS Anywhere, while at the same time having the reliability, security, ease of operations and global support that only Dell Technologies infrastructure can offer.”

Will Amazon support other hypervisors with EKS Anywhere? Hyper-V would pretty obviously be a “No,” but Red Hat’s KVM hypervisor and also Nutanix’s AHV might be candidates for such an extension. We might imagine AWS is receiving vigorous calls from these suppliers.

VMware could also work with other server OEMs to enable their vSphere-using HCI systems to support EKS Anywhere. That gets us thinking of HPE and its Nimble dHCI and SimpliVity HCI systems.

An AWS blog provides details on using EKS Anywhere.