Ok, I know what you are thinking. A blog post on a hands-on lab…really? What actually sparked this was seeing a tweet that VMware is offering a raffle for a free trip to VMworld 2018. It has been a little while since I’ve done a hands-on lab, and a slight chance at winning a trip to VMworld makes spending a couple of hours learning something new a win-win. I clicked onto the contest page and looked at the eligible labs.
Typically, I will go through a hands on lab because I need to study for a certification exam or there is some technology I will be responsible for in the immediate future and I want to get familiar with it before diving into a production environment. This time, I didn’t have an agenda or direction as to what I needed to pick. There were a few options I knew a thing or two about but hadn’t had the chance to get “hands-on” with, but for some reason the PKS (Pivotal Container Service) lab jumped out at me.
Anyone who follows data center trends knows that for a couple years now, there have been a few buzz words that are always mentioned when looking for the next big thing. “Cloud” has been there for a while, “HCI” and “Software defined data center” have had big increases in adoption recently. Another has certainly been “Containers,” which to this point I have a little bit of very basic experience with via Docker on a home unRAID server.
Containers are something that haven’t come up at all in the real world for my current role. For the most part I deal with traditional infrastructure deployments. A big push towards AWS has certainly helped me become more application aware, and I’m sure many customers use the infrastructure I help deploy to provide applications, but I’m not involved on the app/dev side of things. I really had no need to go through the VMware PKS lab, other than for my own understanding of this relatively new service that was announced at VMworld 2017 and is one of IT’s next big things.
That being said, I felt like this lab was a great way for someone like me who is very infrastructure focused to dip my toes into the container world, especially as it relates to VMware. I’ve always heard of Kubernetes being compared to “the vCenter of containers” and wanted to see what that really looks like from a VMware perspective. This lab helped give a very good overview of PKS / Kubernetes as a whole, as well as how it fits into a VMware infrastructure. Granted, this was a fairly quick look into the high level concepts and some basic functionality that didn’t get into the meat and potatoes of how to install PKS. Would I feel comfortable implementing a PKS solution for a customer at this point? Certainly not, but it did give me a jumping off point to feel comfortable that I could at least have a conversation beyond “Kubernetes is the next big thing!”
I’m hoping to delve a bit more into this world of containers/infrastructure as code/APIs, etc. as I have free time to investigate on my own. My goal is to post more on how to help bridge that gap for infrastructure people like me who had some (albeit a VERY long time ago!) coding experience, but need to shake off the cobwebs. If anyone out there has similar experiences and any references on where to start, feel free to leave a comment!