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(L to R) Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware; Rob Mee, CEO of Pivotal; Sam Ramji, vice president of product management at Google; and Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, discuss the decision of VMware and Pivotal to join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation at VMworld 2017. (VMware Photo)

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the industry group that directs the development of the Kubernetes container-orchestration product, gained two new members Tuesday at VMworld 2017: VMware and Pivotal.

The two companies joined the CNCF at the platinum level, which is the highest level of support offered by the CNCF and which requires members to donate time and money toward advancing the many projects under the CNCF umbrella. Kubernetes is the major project in that group, but it also contains several projects designed to make Kubernetes and containers easier to use, such as containerd and CNI.

VMware is definitely not the first company you would think of when listing “cloud native” companies, given its history. Before cloud computing, containers, and Kubernetes dominated the enterprise tech conversation, VMware’s virtualization technologies revolutionized data center management by squeezing more performance out of existing hardware. But VMware knows the cloud is here to stay, inking a partnership with Amazon Web Services last year that resulted in the VMware Cloud on AWS product announced Monday during the first day of VMworld 2017.

Pivotal is a more natural fit. VMware’s corporate sibling in the DellEMC conglomerate, Pivotal helps enterprise companies transition to cloud computing, and it was created from parts of EMC and VMware back in 2013 to further develop the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service.

As more and more companies join the CNCF (Amazon Web Services finally took the plunge earlier this month), the foundation could find it increasingly hard to manage contributors with a wide variety of business interests. So far it has avoided setting exact standards, preferring a light-touch approach toward developing and marketing the technologies it believes make for a “cloud native” experience.

Pivotal and VMware also announced a new container service in conjunction with Google called Pivotal Container Service. That service is a commercial version of Project Kubo, an open-source project for managing Kubernetes clusters between VMware on-premises hardware and Google’s cloud services.

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