Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, August 17, 2022

VMware Unveils Open Source Cloud-Native Projects 

VMware today expanded its open source support when it unveiled Project Lightwave, an identity and access management project designed to extend enterprise-scale and security to cloud-native applications, and Project Photon, a lightweight Linux operating system.

Both open source projects will integrate into the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor's unified platform for the hybrid cloud and will help developers securely build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications, according to VMware. As a result, developers will create a consistent environment across private and public cloud that supports both cloud-native and traditional applications, it added.

"Cloud-native applications are changing the way and what people need from infrastructure and how IT needs to deliver those choices," Mike Adams, director of product marketing for the Cloud Platform Business Unit at VMware, said in an interview. "You expect things to be on all the time and to be responsive all the time. Applications in the cloud-native space help things be responsive. It needs a very dynamic and elastic infrastructure to exist. It can provision many instances of itself across an environment. It doesn't need the infrastructure to tell itself anything. It can just do it. It can scale up and down."

Over the past year, VMware formed a team dedicated to cloud-native applications and making "developers a first class user of the datacenter," he said.

"If you just look at VMware overall we've done a really good job helping people who set up pipes and plumbing. [Developers] are the people who need speed and agility. They're developing new apps. The line is becoming a little more blurry between developers and the infrastructure," added Adams. "We've got a lot more to offer them now with these tie-ins to containers. It's a newer way VMware can reach out to this developer community. In the past we've talked to a lot of infrastructure people. It's really the start of what we want to do with developers. We don’t want to introduce two new projects and go away."

Product Specs

Project Lightwave is a container identity and access management technology that adds a new layer of container security beyond container isolation. It allows companies to enforce access control and identity management across the infrastructure and application stack, including all stages of the application development lifecycle, according to VMware. Only authorized users can run authorized containers on authorized hosts via integration with a container host runtime, such as VMware's newly announced Project Photon, the company said.

Lightwave features single sign-on, authentication, and authorization via names and passwords, tokens, and certifications, and is designed to simplify enterprise-wide certificate-based operations and key management, VMware said. Multi-tenancy support allows a number of teams and applications to use an enterprise's infrastructure, it said. The technology incorporates multiple open standards including Kerberos; LDAP v3; SAML; X.509, and WS-Trust, and is designed for horizontal scalability because it's built with a simple, extensible multi-master replication model, according to VMware.

For its part, Linux OS Project Photon was optimized for both VMware vSphere and VMware vCloud Air, and was designed to allow enterprises to run containers and virtual machines on one platform. It delivers container isolation when containers operate within VMs, the developer said. In the future, VMware plans to add seamless portability of containerized applications from a developer's desktop to dev/test environments, according to VMware.

Current features include support for Docker; rkt, and Garden (Pivotal) container solutions. It delivers authentication and authorization via integration with Project Lightwave, designed to give enterprises an additional level of security for applications in the container layer. In addition, Photon supports rpm for image-based system versioning and a yum-compatible, package-based lifecycle management system for fine-grained package management, the developer said.

Project Photon is available for download on GitHub today. Project Lightwave is slated to become available later this year.

Partners including CoreOS, HashiCorp, Intel, JFrog, Mesosphere, and Pivotal are supporting the latest VMware open source products. Pivotal, for example, unveiled Lattice, which combines open source components from Cloud Foundry to allow IT professionals to deploy and manage running containerized workloads on a scalable cluster.

Project Photon is packaged as a Vagrant box, and can be downloaded on HashiCorp's Atlas. Both VMware's Photon and Lightwave will be made available via JFrog's Bintray Distribution as a Service solution, and Project Photon ships with rkt, CoreOS’ Linux container runtime. The Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) will integrate with VMware's Photon and Lightwave projects.

“Intel and VMware have worked together closely to drive hypervisor innovation for more than 15 years. Today, we are extending our collaboration to innovate around cloud infrastructure technologies with lightweight Linux for containers. We look forward to further innovation and adoption in the public, private, and hybrid cloud environments,” said Jonathan Donaldson, vice president and general manager Software Defined Infrastructure Group at Intel, in a statement.





About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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