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Comprehensive comparison of VMWare Tanzu, RedHat Openshift & Kubernetes-Native

In today’s business world, technology is the driving force behind transformation. Many organizations are utilizing cloud-native solutions to create innovative applications and enhance their existing infrastructure. However, navigating through the complexities of the cloud can be challenging. This is where Kubernetes comes in. It is a container orchestration platform that helps developers deploy and manage applications quickly. With numerous options available, such as VMware Tanzu and Red Hat OpenShift, choosing the right tool can be daunting. Two prominent solutions in this domain are VMware Tanzu and Red Hat OpenShift, each offering unique features and capabilities.

VMware Tanzu

VMware Tanzu is a cloud-native platform that simplifies managing Kubernetes for large-scale applications. It helps organizations:

  • Build and run applications efficiently on Kubernetes infrastructure.

  • Bridge the gap between developers and IT by streamlining application deployment and management.

  • Work across multiple cloud environments seamlessly.

Tanzu abstracts apps from infrastructure, offering consistent developer experience on any Kubernetes, plus the ability to operate all Kubernetes to maximize efficiency and security. Tanzu comprises a packaged set of components that help developers and operators more easily build, deploy, and manage apps on a Kubernetes platform. One of the components of Tanzu is vSphere with Tanzu, which enables the deployment of Kubernetes clusters on top of vSphere infrastructure. Tanzu empowers organizations to build modern cloud applications and manage them effectively across different cloud platforms.

Key Features

Streamlined Provisioning and Management of Kubernetes:

  • Simplified Installation: Deploys production-ready Kubernetes clusters across diverse platforms such as vSphere, various cloud providers, and on-premises infrastructure.

  • Automated Cluster Lifecycle Management: Streamlines tasks such as provisioning, scaling, upgrading, and patching clusters for increased efficiency.

  • Unified Management in Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Environments: Provides a centralized control point for effectively managing different Kubernetes clusters across various cloud environments.

Enhanced Operational Efficiency:

  • Consistent Kubernetes Runtime: Ensures uniform adherence to standards and configurations for all clusters, regardless of their location.

  • Automated Operations: Reduces manual effort through integrated logging, monitoring, and continuous delivery pipelines.

  • Role-Based Access Control and Policy Management: Enhances security and governance by clearly defining access roles and enforcing policies consistently across clusters.

Integration with the VMware Ecosystem:

  • Utilization of vSphere Capabilities: Tightly integrates with vSphere for efficient resource management.

  • Enhanced Security with NSX: Incorporates network security features like micro-segmentation and network policy enforcement.

  • Integration with VMware Tanzu Components: Seamlessly connects with other Tanzu services such as Tanzu Observability and Tanzu Security, providing a comprehensive platform.

Use Cases

Excels in multi-cluster environments and VMware integration

Enterprises with diverse cloud environments: Managing Kubernetes clusters across public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises infrastructure.

Existing VMware customers: Leveraging investments in vSphere and NSX for seamless integration and unified management.

Organizations prioritizing flexibility and customization: Tailoring the platform to specific needs and preferences.

Managing Kubernetes at scale: Handling large, complex multi-cluster deployments with centralized control.

Edge computing: Deploying and managing applications across distributed edge locations.

Modernizing legacy applications: Transitioning traditional applications to container-based architectures.

Building microservices-based applications: Supporting distributed architectures for scalability and agility.

Enabling DevOps practices: Fostering collaboration and automation between development and operations.


Enhanced Security: Integrating security measures throughout the development and operations lifecycle for comprehensive protection.

Integration with VMware Ecosystem: Capitalizing on vSphere and NSX capabilities for resource management efficiency and advanced security.

Cloud Agnostic: Works seamlessly across various cloud platforms, including public, private, and edge, without the imposition of vendor lock-in.

Multi-cluster Management: Exert centralized control over Kubernetes clusters in various environments, ensuring efficient and unified management.

Flexible and Customizable: Tailors itself to your specific needs and preferences with an open-source and modular architecture.

Streamlined Developer Experience: Accelerates development and simplifies deployments through the use of pre-built components and tools.

Simplified Operations: Reducing manual work, centralized logging, monitoring, and security tools contribute to operational simplicity.

Faster Time to Market: Speeding up application delivery through streamlined workflows and automation.

Increased Agility and Innovation: Enables a focus on application development, freeing from the intricacies of infrastructure management.

Reduced Costs: Optimizing resource utilization and embracing a cloud-agnostic platform, potentially resulting in reduced infrastructure and maintenance expenses.


Complexity: Setting up and managing a multi-cluster environment can be complex for beginners.

Licensing Costs: Different editions with varying pricing models can be expensive for smaller organizations.

Steeper Learning Curve: Requires understanding of Kubernetes and Tanzu components.

Smaller Community: Community support is smaller compared to OpenShift.

Not as Developer-Centric: Developer experience may not be as smooth as OpenShift's built-in CI/CD and automated tooling.

Azure Compatibility Challenges: Running Tanzu on Azure is noted to be a bit more challenging. There may be additional complexities associated with this cloud environment.

Potential Vendor Lock-in in VMware Ecosystem: Tight integration with vSphere and NSX might make switching to other platforms challenging.

Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift is a cloud-native application platform that supports Kubernetes, enterprise-ready enhancements, and multiple environments for developers and DevOps. It accelerates the development and delivery of cloud-native applications across hybrid and multi-cloud environments as an open-source platform. OpenShift abstracts apps from infrastructure, offering a consistent developer experience on any Kubernetes platform, along with the ability to operate all Kubernetes instances to maximize efficiency and security. It includes everything you need for a hybrid cloud, like container runtime, networking, monitoring, container registry, authentication, and authorization.

OpenShift incorporates various features from the CNCF open-source ecosystem, all rigorously tested, packaged, and supported together by Red Hat. This ensures consistent security, default automation, and compatibility with major cloud platforms, making OpenShift a reliable and versatile solution for modern enterprise needs.

Key Features

Developer Centric Workflow:

  • Built-in CI/CD Pipeline: Streamlines development with automated code building, testing, and deployment into production.

  • Integrated Source to Image: Converts source code directly into container images, simplifying containerization.

  • Multiple Language Support: Develop in preferred language with support for Java, Python, Node.js, and more.

  • Web Console and CLI: Choose the preferred interface for managing applications and resources.

Automated Operations and Management:

  • Self-Service Provisioning: Developers can quickly and easily provision their own application environments.

  • Automated Cluster Management: Simplifies tasks like scaling, upgrading, and patching Kubernetes clusters.

  • Built-in Monitoring and Logging: Gain insights into application performance and health with pre-configured monitoring tools.

  • Centralized Policy Management: Enforce consistent security and governance across the platform.

Enhanced Security:

  • Multi-layered Security: OpenShift employs various security measures like role-based access control, container image verification, and network isolation.

  • Compliance-focused: Built to meet stringent industry regulations and compliance standards.

  • Integrated Security Services: Offers additional security tools like vulnerability scanning and penetration testing.

Integration and Extension:

  • Integration with Cloud Providers: Deploys seamlessly on major cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

  • Open source Extensibility: Integrates with various open-source tools and services for customization and flexibility.

  • Marketplace for Add-ons: Extends functionality with available marketplace add-ons for specific needs.

Use Cases

Prioritizes ease of use, developer experience, and single-cluster management

Accelerating application development and delivery: Streamlining workflows through integrated CI/CD pipelines and developer-friendly tools.

Organizations with a focus on single-cluster deployments: Efficiently managing a lone Kubernetes cluster.

Prioritizing ease of use and automation: Simplifying Kubernetes management, especially for less experienced teams.

Valuing a large open-source community: Gaining benefits from community support and contributions.

Building and deploying cloud-native applications: Creating a robust environment for modern application development.

Building and deploying AI/ML applications: Providing support for data-intensive workloads and machine learning models.

Creating hybrid cloud environments: Bridging on-premises infrastructure with public cloud services.

Enhancing security and compliance: Implementing strong security controls and meeting regulatory requirements.


Developer-Centric: Built-in CI/CD, source-to-image (S2I), and web console/CLI create a smooth development experience with minimal setup.

Simplified Operations: Automated cluster management, monitoring, and logging ease platform maintenance for operations teams.

Pre-Configured with Security: Multi-layered security, role-based access control, and compliance focus make for a secure development environment.

Fast Development and Deployment: Streamlined workflows and automation help deliver applications to production quickly.

Reduced Costs: Automation features minimize operational overhead and potentially reduce infrastructure expenses.

Scalability and Flexibility: Adapts to different deployment environments and scales effortlessly to handle growing workloads.

Large Open-Source Community: Offers extensive support, resources, and contributions from the community.

Cloud Provider Integrations: Deploys seamlessly on major cloud platforms for flexibility and choice.

Marketplace for Add-ons: Extends functionality with available add-ons for specific needs.



Limited Multi-Cluster Management: Primarily focuses on managing single clusters, though multi-cluster options are available with additional setup.

Not Cloud Agnostic: While it integrates with major cloud platforms, it's primarily focused on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift Dedicated.

Steeper Initial Learning Curve: Understanding Kubernetes and OpenShift features might require initial learning investment.

Learning Curve and Complexity: OpenShift's learning curve, particularly for beginners and those new to Kubernetes and cloud management, can be steep. The platform's feature-rich environment, while powerful, requires time and effort to master.

Enterprise Cost Considerations: OpenShift is a robust enterprise solution, the associated cost may pose a significant factor for small businesses or startups. Assessing the budget constraints is crucial when considering OpenShift as a containerization platform.


VMware Tanzu

Red Hat OpenShift

Provisioning of Kubernetes Clusters

Fully automated provisioning of clusters

Fully automated provisioning of clusters

High Availability and Healing

Uses Kubernetes Cluster API to detect and correct failed nodes

The default HA Proxy load balancer can be used to create a multi-master and multi etcd cluster environment with etcd nodes either forming their own cluster or deployed on the same node as the master

Supported Deployments

Can be deployed on-premises or in all the major public clouds

Public cloud (OpenShift Online), SaaS-managed (OpenShift Dedicated), Hybrid cloud (OpenShift Container Platform)

Breadth of Operating Systems Supported

Supports all popular enterprise Linux distributions Red Hat, CentOS, Ubuntu, Amazon Linux, Photon OS

Works only with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (a RHEL subscription is required and bundled into OpenShift)

Monitoring and Operations Management

No built-in monitoring integrations, but compatible with Prometheus and other Grafana

Diagnostic tools via command line for health statistics, Prometheus and Grafana for environment health monitoring and visualization

Cluster Upgrades

Uses Kubernetes Cluster API to automate upgrades

Can be automated with Ansible playbooks, or performed manually

Multi-cluster Management

Supports multi-cluster management and configuration. Clusters can span a range of on-premises or multi-cloud infrastructure

A typical deployment creates a single Kubernetes cluster that is designed to scale up to 2000 nodes and 120,000 pods. All users of that deployment are expected to share that single cluster and achieve isolation via a combination of Kubernetes namespaces, and OpenShift multi-tenancy. Starting with OpenShift 4, multiple clusters can be managed through Red Hat’s hybrid cloud console

Multi-tenancy, Role-based Access Control, and Single Sign-on Support

There is no cross-cluster multi-tenancy. Extends Kubernetes RBAC with additional roles. Users and groups can be managed through VMware Cloud Services. Single-sign is not available by default but can be set up using a plugin

Delivers multi-tenancy through projects, called Kubernetes namespaces. Kubernetes RBAC is utilized to define granular access policies for users. Users and groups can be managed through Red Hat Identity Management. Single-sign on is available through Red Hat Single Sign-On

Private Registry Support and Image Management

Primarily designed for integration with private registries through VMware Harbor. Non-VMware registries also supported

Relies primarily on built-in OpenShift registry. Can be used with third-party registries such as Docker Hub, but images must be imported manually on the command line

Hybrid Cloud Integrations and APIs

Can build and deploy the application faster with agility

OpenShift Container Platform supports deployment on hybrid and multi-cloud environments

Performance Comparison

Below is a comparison of the pod density, storage efficiency, and memory efficiency of both platforms on bare metal servers.

Here are some of the main findings:

Pod density: VMware Tanzu supported 6.3 times more container pods per physical host than OpenShift. This means that VMware Tanzu can run more applications on the same hardware, reducing the cost and complexity of infrastructure management.

Storage efficiency: VMware Tanzu required up to 28% less storage than OpenShift to run the same number of pods. This means that VMware Tanzu can save more disk space and improve the performance of storage-intensive applications.

Memory efficiency: VMware Tanzu required up to 22% less memory than OpenShift to run the same number of pods. This means that VMware Tanzu can optimize memory usage and avoid unnecessary swapping or paging.

Amount of storage space the two clusters required. Lower numbers are better

Memory usage of each cluster with three-node memory. Lower is better.

The number of pods each cluster supported in our testing. Higher is better.

As per the analysis of resource management on two cloud platforms, vSphere 7U2 with Tanzu and Red Hat OpenShift 4.8, revealed that the vSphere with Tanzu platform excelled in this aspect. It showcased a notable decrease in storage usage by up to 28% and memory usage by 22%. Moreover, vSphere with Tanzu demonstrated superior pod density, and its dynamic resource allocation approach presented certain advantages compared to OpenShift. These strengths collectively position vSphere with Tanzu as a compelling option for organizations utilizing Kubernetes container orchestration software.

Native Kubernetes

Kubernetes, often abbreviated as K8s, is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Developed by Google and now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Kubernetes provides a robust and portable framework for managing containerized workloads and services.

Key Features 

Cloud Native Architecture: Kubernetes, commonly referred to as K8s, stands as a robust cloud-native platform specifically designed for managing containerized applications. Its capabilities extend to orchestrating computing, networking, and storage infrastructure, effectively serving the needs of user workloads within a cloud environment.

Automated Scheduling and Self-Healing: Kubernetes offers automated scheduling and self-healing features, providing a high level of availability for containerized applications. It intelligently places containers based on their resource requirements and constraints, ensuring self-healing mechanisms automatically replace and reschedule containers in the event of node failures.

Scalability and Load Balancing: The platform excels in scalability, enabling seamless application scaling through straightforward commands and queries. Kubernetes automates the balancing of loads across the infrastructure, ensuring optimal performance as workloads fluctuate.

Extensive Ecosystem: Kubernetes boasts an extensive and thriving ecosystem, supporting a wide array of software, tools, and extensions. This diverse ecosystem enhances Kubernetes' capabilities in various areas, including security, monitoring, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD). This expansive support network contributes to the platform's adaptability and versatility in addressing diverse enterprise needs.

Use Cases

Large-Scale Web Applications: Kubernetes proves to be an ideal choice for running large-scale web applications with high traffic demands. Its architecture ensures reliability, scalability, and enables swift updates, providing a robust foundation for handling the complexities associated with high-traffic scenarios.

Microservices Architectures: Kubernetes excels in supporting microservices architectures, offering a platform where each service can be independently deployed, managed, and scaled. This flexibility ensures efficient handling of diverse microservices, contributing to improved agility and scalability within the application architecture.

Continuous Integration and Deployment: Kubernetes is well suited for continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Its capability to rapidly spin up and down containers aligns perfectly with environments that demand frequent updates. This speed and agility make it an ideal choice for streamlining the CI/CD processes, allowing for quick and efficient application updates.

Comparison of VMware Tanzu, OpenShift with Kubernetes Native


VMware Tanzu




Cloud-native application platform by VMware

Enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based container platform

Using original Kubernetes

Deployment & Management

Streamlines building, deployment, and management on Kubernetes

Additional tools and features for easier deployment, scaling, and management

Manual configuration and management


Easy scalability, both horizontally and vertically

Enhanced scalability features with added tools for application lifecycle management

Managed directly through Kubernetes


Abstracts applications from infrastructure, offering a consistent developer experience

Incorporates Kubernetes as the base and adds features from the CNCF ecosystem

Limited to core Kubernetes


Focuses on ease of use and smooth operations

Balances flexibility with additional enterprise-grade features

Maximum flexibility


Licensing and support fees, cost varies based on subscription and features. May include additional VMware infrastructure costs

Requires licensing and support fees, cost varies based on subscription and features

Open source, typically lower cost

Vendor Support

VMware support with different subscription levels, integrated with VMware infrastructure and support ecosystem

Red Hat support with different subscription levels

Community support

Ease of Adoption

Designed for simplified adoption and onboarding

Easier setup with additional tools and wizards

Requires more manual setup

Integration with Cloud Providers

Focuses on compatibility with major cloud platforms

Integrates with various cloud providers, Red Hat's hybrid and multi-cloud strategy

Direct integration with cloud services

Security Features

Emphasizes consistent security measures for applications and Kubernetes environments

Enhanced security features for enterprise environments

Relies on Kubernetes security features

Application Compatibility

Focuses on compatibility with cloud-native applications and Kubernetes environments

Supports Kubernetes applications and additional Red Hat-certified components

Standard Kubernetes applications

Upgrade Process

Smooth upgrade process with minimal downtime

Simplified upgrade process with version compatibility checks

Manual upgrades and maintenance


VMware Tanzu, Red Hat OpenShift, and Kubernetes are three platforms for developing, deploying, and managing cloud-native applications using containers. They have different features, pricing, and support options that may suit different use cases and preferences. VMware Tanzu is best for VMware-based and legacy enterprise scenarios, as it offers enterprise-grade security, storage efficiency, and pod density. Red Hat OpenShift is best for heterogeneous and cutting-edge application scenarios, as it offers enterprise-grade features, open source nature, and a vibrant community. Kubernetes is best for users who want more control and customization over their platform components, as it is free and open source, but requires manual integration of other components. All three platforms offer high security and scalability, but they have different trade-offs in terms of operational complexity and lock-in.



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