A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is a full distribution of the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration platform that is built, signed, and supported by VMware. Enabling the Workload Management functionality in vSphere with Kubernetes gives you the ability to provision and operate Tanzu Kubernetes clusters using the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service.

Key Characteristics of Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters Created by the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster provisioned by the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service has the following characteristics:
Note: VMware markets a suite of Kubernetes-focused products under its Tanzu brand. The Tanzu Kubernetes cluster described here is created by the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service as a component of the vSphere with Kubernetes add-on for vSphere 7. For more information, see the VMware Tanzu documentation.

Opinionated Installation of Kubernetes

A Tanzu Kubernetes is an opinionated installation of Kubernetes.

The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service provides well-thought-out defaults optimized for vSphere to provision Tanzu Kubernetes clusters. The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service reduces the amount of time and work typically required to get an enterprise-grade Kubernetes cluster up and running.

For more information, see Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service Architecture.

Integrated with the vSphere Infrastructure

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is integrated with the underlying vSphere 7 infrastructure, which is optimized for running Kubernetes.

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is integrated with the vSphere SDDC, including storage, networking, and authentication. In addition, a Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is built on a Supervisor Cluster that maps to a vCenter Server cluster. Because of the tight integration, running a Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is a unified product experience.

For more information, see vSphere with Kubernetes Architecture.

Production Ready

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is tuned for running production workloads.

The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Service provisions production-ready Tanzu Kubernetes clusters. You can run production workloads without the need to perform any additional configuration. In addition, you can ensure availability and allow for rolling Kubernetes software upgrades and run different versions of Kubernetes in separate clusters.

For more information, see Running Tanzu Kubernetes Clusters in vSphere with Kubernetes.

Fully Supported by VMware

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is supported by VMware.

Tanzu Kubernetes clusters use the open-source Photon OS from VMware, are deployed on vSphere infrastructure, and run on ESXi hosts. If you experience problems with any layer of the stack, from the hypervisor to the Kubernetes cluster, VMware is the only vendor you need to contact.

For more information, see the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Supportability Matrix.

Managed by Kubernetes

A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is managed by Kubernetes.

Tanzu Kubernetes clusters are built on top of the Supervisor Cluster, which is itself a Kubernetes cluster. A Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is defined in the Supervisor Namespace using a custom resource. You provision Tanzu Kubernetes clusters in a self-service way using familiar kubectl commands. There is consistency across the toolchain, whether you are provisioning a cluster or deploying workloads, you use the same commands, familiar YAML, and common workflows.

For more information, see Tanzu Kubernetes Cluster Tenancy Model.