WavebreakmediaMicro - Fotolia
It's easy to configure Photon OS for Photon Controller because they're both integral parts of VMware's Photon Platform, but they perform distinctly different functions. It's important to know which one you're working with before you proceed. Photon Controller is most closely related to vSphere Integrated Containers, in that both are container utilities. VSphere Integrated Containers allows the user to run containers as VMs, whereas Photon Controller runs containers in a VM.
VSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) was designed to use memory efficiently and improve management. Since containers are treated as individual VMs, released container resources always return to a pool for reuse. When containers are run on top of a VM, the VM always consumes resources, regardless of how many containers run on top of it. VIC can run directly on an ESXi host, or it can be deployed via vCenter Server.
VIC supports granular security and multi-tenancy through the Virtual Container Host concept, with each VCH assigned to a different user, department, developer and so on. VMs deployed as VCHs also benefit from VMware clustering technologies, such as Distributed Resource Scheduler or vSphere High Availability. Finally, the entire paradigm of "container as VM" ensures that VMs and containers are monitored and managed by the same tool set.
By comparison, Photon Controller pools ESXi hosts in order to stand up VMs for the purpose of running containers. Rather than use a platform like vCenter Server to manage containers, the Photon Controller interface provides direct container management information, which simplifies the environment. Photon Controller isn't limited by the 64-bit ESXi host cluster size limit, so administrators can pool as many ESXi hosts as desired -- perhaps even thousands of hosts -- to provide resources for container workloads. Photon Controller handles multi-tenancy for containers and allows the user to deploy resources per-tenant or by container type, class, or use case. Finally, Photon Controller clustering supports a number of orchestration frameworks, including Apache Mesos, Kubernetes and Docker Swarm.
So, where does Photon OS fit into this equation? Photon OS is an underlying technology that supports both VIC and Photon Controller. Both VIC and Photon Controller are subtly different means of enabling containers in the VMware environment, but the Photon OS is the OS on which administrators actually deploy containers.
Photon Platform keeps VMware ahead of Microsoft
Learn how to install VMware Photon OS
Project Photon is open source, container-friendly
Which version of VMware Photon platform is right for your enterprise?
Dig Deeper on VMware performance enhancements
Related Q&A from Stephen J. Bigelow
Get to know VMware vSphere's Admission Control tool and use it to reserve the resources necessary for VM failover with cluster resource calculations ... Continue Reading
Use heartbeats, VM monitoring and application monitoring to fully examine the causes of VM unresponsiveness. Adjust sensitivity levels to focus on ... Continue Reading
Combine Distributed Resource Scheduler and vSphere High Availability to design balanced failover clusters. Pay attention to affinity rules, which can... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.