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VMware vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) is a platform that enables administrators to deploy and manage containers within virtual machines (VMs) from within VMware's vSphere virtual machine management software. VSphere Integrated Containers can also be used to describe the individual isolated container instances hosted within the platform.
VMware first introduced the concept behind vSphere Integrated Containers as a technology preview called Project Bonneville. The technology uses a set of daemons and drivers to speed the deployment of containers within virtual machines (VMs). Project Bonneville coupled a light-weight Linux operating system (called Project Photon) with a VMware technology called Instant Clone, which allows for the rapid duplication of VM images. Administrators can monitor and manage vSphere Integrated Containers through their existing vSphere Web Client using a plug-in that enables control of the virtual container hosts.
VMware vSphere Integrated Containers introduces a new concept known as a virtual container host (VCH). The VCH is a logical construct that represents a collection of tools and hardware resources (CPU, RAM and storage) that enable the creation and control of container services. Virtual container hosts also provide access to the Docker API and can hold container images downloaded from the Docker Hub. Docker components run from within the container host, and are not duplicated per container instance.
When an administrator creates a new container, it runs on a light-weight VM created within the logical virtual container host. Virtual container hosts can contain several of these light-weight VMs, and therefore many individual container instances. Administrators can create multiple VCHs to logically separate groups of containers (for testing, development or production), similar to way that vSphere can logically separate pools of hardware resources and services into multiple virtual data centers.