About Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is a turnkey solution for deploying, running, and managing enterprise-grade Kubernetes clusters for hosting applications.

To deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) uses a management cluster that takes requests from a client CLI or UI and executes them using Cluster API, a standard open-source tool for low-level infrastructure and Kubernetes cluster operations.*

The management cluster has two deployment options that run on different infrastructures using different sets of components:

  • Supervisor is a management cluster that is deeply integrated into vSphere with Tanzu and also performs infrastructure-level functions apart from supporting TKG.
  • Standalone management cluster is a management cluster that runs as dedicated VMs, to support TKG on multiple cloud infrastructures.

In both cases, the management cluster publishes an API that wraps and adds higher-level functionality to Cluster API. On the client side, the Tanzu CLI wraps and adds higher-level functionality to kubectl and clusterctl, the Kubernetes and Cluster API CLIs.

TKG 2 unifies the management cluster API and underlying object definitions for these two management cluster deployment options and is supported in product releases as follows:

  • vSphere 8 supports the TKG 2 API and objects for the Supervisor.
  • TKG v2.1 and Tanzu CLI v0.28.0 support the TKG 2 API and objects for standalone management clusters on vSphere 6.7, 7, and 8 without Supervisor, AWS, and Azure, and on vSphere 8 with Supervisor.
  • TKG v1.6.1 and Tanzu CLI v0.25.4 (and TKG 1.6.0 and Tanzu CLI v0.25.0) support the TKG 2 API and objects on vSphere 8 with Supervisor, and legacy cluster infrastructure with standalone TKG 1.6.x management clusters on vSphere 6.7, 7, and 8 without Supervisor, AWS, and Azure.

In TKG 2.1, the standalone plug-ins, for example login and pinniped-auth, that are installed when you install the Tanzu CLI, are at version v0.28.0. The plugins for the Supervisor, for example cluster or kubernetes-release, that are installed if you connect the Tanzu CLI to a Supervisor, are at v0.25.0. This is because the Supervisor in vSphere with Tanzu is running a slightly earlier version of TKG 2 than TKG 2.1. However, the v0.25.0 plugins are fully compatible with and supported by v0.28.0 of the Tanzu CLI and the standalone plugins.

*Another product in the Tanzu portfolio, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition, does not use Cluster API and is not covered by this publication.

Where to Find TKG Documentation

TKG documentation is published in multiple locations based on management cluster deployment option:

TKG Feature States

The following state definitions describe Tanzu Kubernetes Grid features, ordered by typical lifecycle; documentation covers features in the Technical Preview, Stable, and Deprecated states:

  • Experimental:
    • Not supported, and use voids support for its environment
    • Not for production environments, but can be tried in development environments
    • May have listings marked as “Experimental” in the CLI, download sites, etc.
    • Not documented publicly, but may have documentation distributed privately
  • Technical Preview:
    • Not supported, but does not void warranty for its environment
    • For pre-production environments or production environments without support for the feature
    • Documented publicly, labeled as “Technical Preview”
  • Stable:
    • Fully tested and supported for production environments, except as noted in documentation
    • Documented publicly without labels
  • Deprecated:
    • Tested and supported, but with end of support expected
    • Customers are encouraged to stop using the feature and to deactivate it in their environments
    • Documented as “Deprecated”

Why Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source system that replicates apps and keeps them running and accessible through network outages, changes in demand, and other potential stressors. To do this, Kubernetes hosts apps in portable containers that run on any compatible VM or physical machine, where “compatible” means running an OS and Kubernetes version that can support the containerized apps.

Combine Kubernetes with an infrastructure that can configure, create, and manage VMs, storage, and other resources, and you can securely and reliably host apps anywhere that the infrastructure extends, including private datacenters, public clouds, and edge hardware.

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