As many of us come into our third month of working at home, we have become ever more dependent on technology for keeping in touch and continue working using cloud-based applications and tools. Many of these cloud-based applications run in software-defined containers in large data centers. Kubernetes is a popular open source software platform for managing and “orchestrating” these containers.
Several companies have recently announced features that work with Kubernetes to manage backup and storage of Kubernetes orchestrated containers. This article will look at some of these announcements and discuss their importance in enabling the cloud applications that allow us to work remotely and do more things.
Many cloud-based applications run in containers. These are self-contained virtual areas in a computer system that can run software without interfering with other applications running on the same physical machine. Containers can be created and deactivated as needed, making them an important tool for running cloud-based applications.
Docker is a popular container system and Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration system for Docker and other software containers. Kubernetes can coordinate Docker containers running on clusters of hosts at scale. Kubernetes was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
Red Hat, now part of IBM, recently completed its Red Hat Summit where it announced its latest Kubernetes developments. Red Hat OpenShift is IBM’s enterprise Kubernetes platform to enable cloud-native approaches while supporting existing traditional applications. The company announced OpenShift virtualization that it says enables organizations to develop, deploy and manage applications consisting of virtual machines alongside containers and serverless, all in one modern platform that unifies cloud-native and traditional workloads.
To address the management challenges of running cloud-native applications across large-scale, production and distributed Kubernetes clusters, Red Hat says that it is also introducing a new management solution. Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, which provides a single simplified control point for monitoring and deploying OpenShift clusters at scale.
NetApp recently introduced its Project Astra, a software-defined platform that is currently in development with the Kubernetes community. Project Astra is meant to deliver robust, easy-to-consume, enterprise-class storage and data services platform for Kubernetes that will enable application and data portability for stateful applications.
A stateful application is a program that saves client data from the activities of one session for use in the next session. The saved data is called the applications state. Since regular container programs are made to vanish when the container is deactivated, Project Astra should enable reactivating programs that need to continue when the container is deactivated, and thus makes it possible to run more longer-term data intensive applications using containers.
Also enabling data center applications using high performance NVMe-oF storage networks, Kioxia enhanced its KumoScale storage software (based upon NVMe over NVMe-oF to include Kubernetes Container Storage Initiative (CSI)-compliant snapshots and clones . Koxia says the new features in KumoScale reduce time pressures associated with backup for large stateful applications such as databases, while consuming very little storage space. The new features also bring users the ability to clone and then non-disruptively modify production data for development, test or quality assurance purposes.
UK startup StorageOS released version 2.0 of its cloud native software-defined, persistent storage for Kubernetes into general availability . The company says that StorageOS V2.0 has been designed for organisations that want to run hyper-converged and/or multiple cluster Kubernetes environments with the underlying storage to support cloud native workflows and stateful applications, whether in the cloud, on-premises or a hybrid local and remote cloud. The company also says that its V2.0 encrypts data in transit and that traffic between nodes is encrypted and authenticated.
Red Hat (IBM), NetApp, Kioxia and StorageOS have introduced Kubernetes enhancements that make it easier to store and backup stateful and data rich applications that will support cloud-based applications that enable more sophisticated work at home and create new cloud-based businesses.