Welcome Project Nautilus! Running Containers Natively with VMware Fusion on MacOS

There is a lot of hype around containers.  There is also a lot of truth in what’s ahead for the industry as containers are becoming important parts of many new applications.  VMware has just released what they dubbed Project Nautilus.  Shout out to Michael Roy (a fellow Canadian) who has been doing wicked cool work in the Fusion/Workstation product line.  I’ve been lucky enough to work with Michael on some other projects in the past doing some VMware product design research as a customer.

Running Nautilus and vctl, the new VMware command line tool for managing containers in Nautilus/Fusion, you need to be running at least Fusion 10.14 on MacOS at the time of this writing.

Downloading the new Fusion tech preview is easy…click here!

NOTE:  You can run the GA version of Fusion alongside the new 20H1 tech preview which is very cool.  There is a restriction that you can only run one tech preview edition at a time so you may need to uninstall and install the more recent versions as they come out.

Most importantly, I can finally put this amazing cartoon of my youth into play as part of an article.  Virtual fist bump to all the other folks who grew up watching some cartoons like the classic below featuring the Nautilus 🙂

Why Nautilus over other local native container platforms?

You have a few different options for kicking the tires on containers in a local development environment.  You can use Minikube or Minishift or a small implementation of tools like Rancher.  Each has its own merits and your choice will depend on what your bigger picture plans are for deploying and managing Kubernetes as a production implementation.

If you’re holding out K8s hope for the VMware Project Pacific which will allow for a K8s-native endpoint running inside an upcoming vSphere release, this is probably a good way to see just how the product roadmap and command line tools will play out.  The bonus of running Fusion is that you can also use other local virtualized environments for development in the same nifty tool.

What is interesting about Project Nautilus is the closeness to the model that Project Pacific is said to have in store.  The new deployment pattern of the underlying tooling is described as a”very special, ultra-lightweight virtual machine-like process for isolating the container host kernel from the Host system. We call that process a PodVM or a ‘Native Pod’.” as shown in the Fusion Blog on the release.

More of my time is leaning towards containerization with Nomad, OpenShift, and Kubernetes, so this new tools is definitely going to be part of the testing I’m sharing here on the blog in the coming months.  If you’ve got any questions on how to get it working I hope to be a good resource for you (or can connect you to someone who is).

If you want to have your voice heard, this is your chance.  Being an early adopter of the tools also gives you a chance to influence the results of the early development.  Happy installing and watch for more next week with my Getting Started with Nautilus and vctl guide.