vSphere Integrated Containers 1.1

Many has changed since my last blog post about vSphere Integrated Containers. So I though it would be a good time to make a fresh start.

On April 2017, VMware released vSphere Integrated Containers v1.1 (aka VIC). VIC comprises of three components that can be installed with an unified OVA package:

  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Engine (aka VIC Engine), a container runtime for vSphere that allows developers who are familiar with Docker to develop in containers and deploy them alongside traditional VM-based workloads on vSphere clusters. vSphere adminitrators can manage these workloads by using vSphere in a way that is familiar.
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Registry (aka Harbor), an enterprise-class container registry server that stores and distributes container images. vSphere Integrated Containers Registry extends the Docker Distribution open source project by adding the functionalities that an enterprise requires, such as security, identity and management.
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal (aka Admiral), a container management portal that provides a UI for DevOps teams to provision and manage containers, including retrieving stats and info about container instances. Cloud administrators can manage container hosts and apply governance to their usage, including capacity quotas and approval workflows. When integrated with vRealize Automation, more advanced capabilities become available, such as deployment blueprints and enterprise-grade Containers-as-a-Service.

These are the key highlights with this new version, but when you go deeper, you figure out that there are many improvements under the hood which I plan to mention in the blog posts to come. So the key new features are:

  • A unified OVA installer for all three components
  • Official support for vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A unified UI for vSphere Integrated Containers Registry and vSphere Integrated Containers Management Portal
  • A plug-in for the HTML5 vSphere Client
  • Support for Docker Client 1.13 and Docker API version 1.25
  • Support for using Notary with vSphere Integrated Containers Registry
  • Support for additional Docker commands. For the list of Docker commands that this release supports, see Supported Docker Commands in Developing Container Applications with vSphere Integrated Containers.

The installation process is as easy as deploying an OVA appliance so I do not tend to go deeper with the installation as I already touched briefly on my previous post, it’s pretty much the same and obvious. All the components installed after the deployment are running as containers just like the older version. The difference is, there are more containers running as more services are bundled in the appliance. To list running containers;

docker ps --format "table {{.Names}}\t{{.Image}}\t{{.Command}}"

The applications running in the appliance are multi-container applications so VMware leveraged docker-compose in order to define and run those containers. Under /etc/vmware/harbor there are two yml files.

  • docker-compose.yml: Composes harbor components
  • docker-compose.notary.yml: Composes docker notary components

You can start and stop harbor and notary by running docker-compose up and docker-compose down commands.

cd /etc/vmware/harbor
docker-compose -f docker-compose.notary.yml -f docker-compose.yml down
docker-compose -f docker-compose.notary.yml -f docker-compose.yml up -d

The only container that is not managed by docker-compose is vic-admiral. This is a standalone container and can be started and stopped by standard docker commands individually.

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