VMware’s Photon Platform

Last week I attend DockerCon 2016 in Seattle.  Besides spending time working the Dell booth, I grabbed a bunch of folks and did some short, guerrilla-style interviews.  One of my victims was Kit Colbert who heads up VMware’s cloud native applications group.

With the onslaught of container-mania VMware, the 800-pound-VM gorilla, has had to take a hard look at the changing landscape and decide if/how they wanted to join the fray.

VMware’s response

VMware’s decision was to sally forth with not one but two entrants into the land of containers: Photon Platform and vSphere Integrated Containers.  In the video below Kit gives an overview of Photon Platform and explains how it relates to vSphere Integrated Containers.

In the second video the product manager for VMware’s vSphere Integrated Containers, Karthik Narayan, provides a double-click on this vSphere-based offering.

Some of the ground Kit covers

  • Photon is targeted at those customers who are taking a greenfield approach and are looking for a platform optimized for cloud native applications.  It GA’d this month and came with a version of Pivotal Cloud Foundry
  • Photon’s components: 1) the Photon controller which acts as a manger of all the hosts, 2) PhotonOS which is a container-optimized Linux distro and 3) Photon machine which is ESX and, going forward, will be optimized for cloud native applicaitons.
  • Native Hybrid Cloud: a tightly integrated stack from EMC composed of: Photon platform + EMC’s VxRack + Pivotal Cloud Foundry

Some of the ground Karthik covers

  • vSphere Integrated Containers are an extension of vSphere which natively integrates with Docker.  It is targeted at enterprises who want to run containers alongside existing apps and workloads.
  • It is composed of vSphere + ESX hypervisor + vCenter +VSan + NSX etc.
  • It allows enterprises to take their existing environments, add vSphere Integrated Containers and in 20 minutes have an environment that will allow their developers to work with Docker while at the same time allowing Ops to use an environment they’re familiar with to manage these new workloads.

Extra-credit reading


  • VMware Hires Longtime Intel Linux Exec As Its First-Ever Chief Open Source Officer – CRN
  • Compare and Contrast: Photon Controller vs VIC (vSphere Integrated Containers) –CormacHogan.com
  • VMware Photon controller – Github
  • IT pros eye Photon OS as matchmaker for vSphere, containers – TechTarget
  • Learning about VMware’s Photon Controller

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