Back in April 2015, VMware first announced Project Photon, providing users with a VMware-built Linux container host. The idea behind Photon was further expanded at the VMworld 2015 event, and now in 2016 it’s the basis of at least one commercial product, with another on the way.
Photon provides both a Linux operating system for containers as well as a controller that serves as a control plane for Linux container-based deployment. In June of this year, at the DockerCon conference, VMware announced the 1.0 version of the Photon OS as well the initial availability of the commercial Pivotal VMware Cloud Native Stack, which makes use of Photon at its base.
During his VMworld 2016 keynote, Kit Colbert, vice president and general manager of cloud-native apps at VMware, announced that the Photon Platform is now publicly available on Github as a free-tier product for interested users.
“Photon Controller is built for cloud-native applications. While capable of running other workloads, it is purposefully architected and designed for modern workloads, including container-based applications,” the github page states.
The Photon Controller requires users to have the VMware ESXi hypervisor. While ESXi is not open source, VMware does have a free version users can download to use alongside Photon.
“The idea with the Photon platform is to drive radical simplicity into infrastructure,” Colbert said.
Another Commercial Platform for Photon on the Way As Well
Colbert also announced VMware will be releasing another commercially-supported Photon Platform-based technology at some point in the near future.
“Coming soon is a new commercial platform for Photon, combining Kubernetes and NSX,” Colbert said.
Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration and scheduling system, originally developed by Google and now developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) at the Linux Foundation.
VMware also has the vSphere Integrated Containers effort, which brings Docker containers into the vSphere world. Colbert explained that VMware is striving to provide organizations with multiple options to benefit from containers.
“vSphere Integrated Containers is about extending existing vSphere environments to support containers,” Colbert said. “The Photon Platform is focused more on greenfield container-only environments, and both are enterprise-container infrastructures.”