Kubernetes vs VMware vSphere

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Kubernetes

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Kubernetes vs VMware vSphere: What are the differences?

Kubernetes and VMware vSphere are both popular platforms used for managing and orchestrating containerized applications and virtualized infrastructure, respectively. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Architecture: Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that allows for the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across a cluster of machines. It follows a master-worker architecture, where a cluster consists of a master node that manages the cluster state and multiple worker nodes that run the application workloads. On the other hand, VMware vSphere is a virtualization platform that enables the creation and management of virtual machines (VMs) on physical servers. It utilizes a hypervisor-based architecture, where a host hypervisor runs on the hardware and manages the virtualization of resources.

  2. Focus: Kubernetes primarily focuses on the management of containerized applications, providing features such as service discovery, load balancing, and automatic scaling. It is widely used in cloud-native environments and supports multiple cloud providers as well as on-premises deployments. On the contrary, VMware vSphere is designed for virtualization of infrastructure and offers a wide range of features for managing VMs such as resource allocation, high availability, and live migration. It is commonly used in traditional enterprise environments and data centers.

  3. Portability: Kubernetes promotes an application-centric approach and favors portable, cloud-agnostic deployments. Applications can be deployed and run consistently across different Kubernetes clusters, regardless of the underlying infrastructure or cloud provider. This portability allows for easier migration and avoids vendor lock-in. In contrast, VMware vSphere is tightly integrated with VMware's ecosystem and is primarily designed for on-premises deployments. While it can be used with some public cloud providers, the level of integration and portability may vary.

  4. Containerization: Kubernetes is specifically built to manage containerized applications using container runtimes like Docker. It provides features for running and managing containers, including networking, storage, and lifecycle management. VMware vSphere, on the other hand, supports the virtualization of entire operating systems using hypervisors. It allows for the creation and management of VMs that can run various operating systems and applications, not limited to containers.

  5. Scalability: Kubernetes is known for its ability to scale applications and handle large-scale deployments. It supports horizontal scaling, where additional instances of an application can be added or removed dynamically based on demand. Kubernetes also integrates with monitoring and auto-scaling tools to automatically adjust resources. In contrast, VMware vSphere provides vertical scaling, allowing a single VM to scale up or down in terms of resources like CPU and memory. It is more suitable for scaling individual VMs rather than the entire application.

  6. Community and Ecosystem: Kubernetes has a vibrant and growing community with a rich ecosystem of tools and extensions. It is an open-source project supported by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). This community-driven development ensures continuous improvement, innovation, and collaboration. VMware vSphere, being a proprietary software, is backed by VMware and has its own ecosystem and community. However, the level of community participation and diversity of tools may not be as extensive as Kubernetes.

In summary, Kubernetes and VMware vSphere have different architectural focuses, with Kubernetes primarily targeting containerized applications and VMware vSphere focusing on virtualization of infrastructure. Kubernetes promotes portability and is designed for cloud-native environments, while VMware vSphere is geared towards on-premises deployments. Kubernetes is well-suited for large-scale deployments and offers a broader community and ecosystem support compared to VMware vSphere.

Decisions about Kubernetes and VMware vSphere
Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 30 upvotes · 9.7M views

Our whole DevOps stack consists of the following tools:

  • GitHub (incl. GitHub Pages/Markdown for Documentation, GettingStarted and HowTo's) for collaborative review and code management tool
  • Respectively Git as revision control system
  • SourceTree as Git GUI
  • Visual Studio Code as IDE
  • CircleCI for continuous integration (automatize development process)
  • Prettier / TSLint / ESLint as code linter
  • SonarQube as quality gate
  • Docker as container management (incl. Docker Compose for multi-container application management)
  • VirtualBox for operating system simulation tests
  • Kubernetes as cluster management for docker containers
  • Heroku for deploying in test environments
  • nginx as web server (preferably used as facade server in production environment)
  • SSLMate (using OpenSSL) for certificate management
  • Amazon EC2 (incl. Amazon S3) for deploying in stage (production-like) and production environments
  • PostgreSQL as preferred database system
  • Redis as preferred in-memory database/store (great for caching)

The main reason we have chosen Kubernetes over Docker Swarm is related to the following artifacts:

  • Key features: Easy and flexible installation, Clear dashboard, Great scaling operations, Monitoring is an integral part, Great load balancing concepts, Monitors the condition and ensures compensation in the event of failure.
  • Applications: An application can be deployed using a combination of pods, deployments, and services (or micro-services).
  • Functionality: Kubernetes as a complex installation and setup process, but it not as limited as Docker Swarm.
  • Monitoring: It supports multiple versions of logging and monitoring when the services are deployed within the cluster (Elasticsearch/Kibana (ELK), Heapster/Grafana, Sysdig cloud integration).
  • Scalability: All-in-one framework for distributed systems.
  • Other Benefits: Kubernetes is backed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), huge community among container orchestration tools, it is an open source and modular tool that works with any OS.
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Pros of Kubernetes
Pros of VMware vSphere
  • 164
    Leading docker container management solution
  • 128
    Simple and powerful
  • 106
    Open source
  • 76
    Backed by google
  • 58
    The right abstractions
  • 25
    Scale services
  • 20
    Replication controller
  • 11
    Permission managment
  • 9
    Supports autoscaling
  • 8
    Cheap
  • 8
    Simple
  • 6
    Self-healing
  • 5
    No cloud platform lock-in
  • 5
    Promotes modern/good infrascture practice
  • 5
    Open, powerful, stable
  • 5
    Reliable
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Quick cloud setup
  • 3
    Cloud Agnostic
  • 3
    Captain of Container Ship
  • 3
    A self healing environment with rich metadata
  • 3
    Runs on azure
  • 3
    Backed by Red Hat
  • 3
    Custom and extensibility
  • 2
    Sfg
  • 2
    Gke
  • 2
    Everything of CaaS
  • 2
    Golang
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Expandable
  • 8
    Strong host isolation
  • 6
    Industry leader
  • 5
    Great VM management (HA,FT,...)
  • 4
    Easy to use
  • 2
    Feature rich
  • 2
    Great Networking
  • 1
    Free
  • 1
    Running in background
  • 1
    Can be setup on single physical server

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Cons of Kubernetes
Cons of VMware vSphere
  • 16
    Steep learning curve
  • 15
    Poor workflow for development
  • 8
    Orchestrates only infrastructure
  • 4
    High resource requirements for on-prem clusters
  • 2
    Too heavy for simple systems
  • 1
    Additional vendor lock-in (Docker)
  • 1
    More moving parts to secure
  • 1
    Additional Technology Overhead
  • 8
    Price

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.

What is VMware vSphere?

vSphere is the world’s leading server virtualization platform. Run fewer servers and reduce capital and operating costs using VMware vSphere to build a cloud computing infrastructure.

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What companies use Kubernetes?
What companies use VMware vSphere?
See which teams inside your own company are using Kubernetes or VMware vSphere.
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What tools integrate with Kubernetes?
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What are some alternatives to Kubernetes and VMware vSphere?
Docker Swarm
Swarm serves the standard Docker API, so any tool which already communicates with a Docker daemon can use Swarm to transparently scale to multiple hosts: Dokku, Compose, Krane, Deis, DockerUI, Shipyard, Drone, Jenkins... and, of course, the Docker client itself.
Nomad
Nomad is a cluster manager, designed for both long lived services and short lived batch processing workloads. Developers use a declarative job specification to submit work, and Nomad ensures constraints are satisfied and resource utilization is optimized by efficient task packing. Nomad supports all major operating systems and virtualized, containerized, or standalone applications.
OpenStack
OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.
Rancher
Rancher is an open source container management platform that includes full distributions of Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm, and makes it simple to operate container clusters on any cloud or infrastructure platform.
Docker Compose
With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.
See all alternatives