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VMware Photon Controller™

Distributed, multi-tenant host controller and scheduler

Try Photon Controller™
Have a question? Visit the Photon Controller Google Group

What is Photon Controller™

Photon Controller™ is a distributed, multi-tenant host controller optimized for containers. The Photon Controller delivers:

  • API-first Model: A user-experience focused on the automation of infrastructure consumption and operations using simple RESTful APIs, SDKs and CLI tooling, all fully multi-tenant. Allows a small automaton-savvy devops team to efficiently leverage fleets of servers.
  • Fast, Scale-out Control Plane: A built-from-scratch infrastructure control plane optimized for massive scale and speed, allowing the creation of 1000s of new VM-isolated workloads per minute, and supporting 100,000s of total simultaneous workloads
  • Integrated PaaS and Native Container Support: Developer teams consuming infrastructure get their choice of open container orchestration frameworks (e.g. Pivotal CF/Lattice, Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Mesos). The Photon controller is built for large environments to run workloads designed for cloud-native (distributed) apps. Examples include a modern scale-out SaaS/mobile-backend apps, highly dynamic continuous integration or simulation environments, sizable data analytics clusters (e.g., Hadoop/Spark), or large-scale platform-as-a-service deployments (e.g., Cloud Foundry).

Getting Photon Controller™

If you'd like to try Photon Controller on ESXi the Getting Started Guide will give you step by step instructions to get up and running.

The source code is distributed under the VMware Technology Preview License Agreement.. Open source license information may be found in the Photon Controller open source license file.

Photon Controller™ source code is available at Photon Controller’s GitHub source repository. You can build your own Photon Controller by cloning the repo and following the instructions in the


Photon Controller™ is released as open source software and comes with no commercial support. However, we want to ensure success and recognize that Photon Controller™ consumers might fall into a range of roles - from developers that are steeped in the conventions of open-source to customers that are more accustomed to VMware commercial offerings. We have created a few ways to engage with the Photon Controller team and community:


The Photon Controller project team welcomes contributions from the community. If you wish to contribute code, we require that you first sign our Contributor License Agreement and return a copy to before we can merge your contribution.


Photon Controller™ is comprised of many open source software components, each of which has its own license that is located in the source code of the respective component as well as documented in the open source license file accompanying the Photon Controller™ distribution.

The Photon binaries are distributed under the VMware Technology Preview License Agreement.