Deploying vSphere Integrated Containers
So over the course of the last several months at work, I've been using spare cycles to escape the shackles of management (ie: paperwork, meetings, etc) to keep my technical aptitude sharp by working on deploying the ecosystem required to support vSphere Integrated Containers at the University.
vSphere Integrated Containers, henceforth referred to as VIC, offers an interesting management and hosting solution to managing multiple Docker installations in a VMware Private Cloud. For the vSphere Private Cloud Administrator, VIC allows administrators to leverage existing resources and investments to manage the latest tech fad: containerization.
Containers are an virtual abstraction layer that is much more resource efficient than the deployment of traditional virtual machines. There are also numerous operational efficiencies gained by designing applications and services to be containerized, such as platform portability, greater security, and flexible development/test life-cycle.
VIC allows IT shops with existing investments in VMware products, to treat containerized applications and services less like a snowflake and more like a traditional enterprise workload.
But, I have hit some serious roadblocks preventing a production deployment:
- VIC 1.3.1 plugin does not support vCenter inventories that contain folder objects.
- The Virtual Container Hosts (VHC) don't ever fully start and hang on the port layering service initialization.
- Less bugs with VIC 1.4.1, but still completely unusable in our production environment.
- Most of the bugs center around the VIC and VHC's inability to interpret folders and complex organization configuration in vCenter. It seems to be very picky.
While I have spent several months working with VMware Support, I have not been able to completely resolve the issues with the port layering services or the VIC Plugin. VMware Support has advised me to wait for a later stable version with the appropriate software fixes.
At this time, I would recommend anyone that is considering using the VIC in production to evaluate their environment and potentially reconsider. This product is nowhere near ready for prime-time use outside of a very simplistic lab environment.
I will post a follow-up once I have some modicum of success.