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VMware had many exciting announcements at VMWorld 2021 this year.  One of those announcements was a new Tanzu offering called Tanzu Community Edition (TCE). For individuals looking to learn more about cloud native in a simpler format, this is a compelling option to investigate. From the Github description of the edition, "VMware Tanzu Community Edition is a full-featured, easy to manage Kubernetes platform for learners and users on your local workstation or your favorite cloud. Tanzu Community Edition enables the creation of application platforms: infrastructure, tooling, and services providing location to run applications and enable positive developer experiences." So what does that actually mean? Let's break it down into its basic parts:

  • What is it? Simply put, TCE is a freely accessible, community supported open-source distribution of VMware Tanzu that can be installed and configured in minutes, on your local workstation.
  • Who is it for? Anyone who may not have resources, knowledge and/or time yet for a fully dedicated Tanzu environment who is looking for a method to quickly learn and enhance their Kubernetes skillset would benefit from TCE.
  • Why use it? Building a full scale implementation of a Kubernetes environment using existing open-source software, while feasible, can require considerable investments of infrastructure and time to go from zero to a working environment. TCE provides a way to eliminate those bottlenecks of infrastructure and time to get started learning directly about Kubernetes and then moving on to more advanced options as the users experience grows.
  • What is needed to get started? Tanzu Community Edition can be run on pretty much any existing infrastructure such as existing vSphere environments, public cloud or even a local workstation. All that is needed to get started is the appropriate versions for the platform of your choice.

TCE differentiators

One of the most exciting features of TCE that might get overlooked is the ability to easily install community packages. These are packages created and maintained by the TCE community that can greatly simplify testing and development efforts.  Packages are deployed via the kapp-controller from Carvel, so that testing of a fully complete application stack, can begin before or while your production environment is even ready.  Developers are also not limited to community package manager, should they wish to use another package manager that is Kubernetes compliant, they are free to do so.

With TCE, the barrier to entry for trying out and learning about Tanzu has been significantly lowered. While TCE will run perfectly fine on any vSphere or most public cloud environments, you do not need to have access to vSphere, or cloud providers like AWS, etc. Installing TCE directly on any recently released desktop or laptop can be accomplished in less than an hour.

TCE and TKG comparisons

The differences between TCE and the commercially available versions of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) are actually more different than similar. VMware has a breakdown of all the major differences between the versions however one that is significant is around new and/or experimental features. These new features may or may not make it into the commercial shipping versions of TKG, but they will be made available to the TCE community first, allowing community members a chance to try out and provide feedback on new offerings in the product.


So whether you are seasoned in Kubernetes or are just getting started, Tanzu Community Edition can provide an easy path to learn and develop applications.