Managing data can be a time-consuming task and if not done properly, it can lead to major issues. In a Kubernetes environment, where all resources become services, data and storage management are inextricably connected. Delivering storage and data as a service requires a container-native storage layer. Container-native storage (CNS) allows all storage and data resources to be orchestrated by Kubernetes in the same way any other service — e.g., security, access, compute, networking — is managed. In addition to providing persistent storage capacity, container-native storage software can copy data to any location, restore data to any point in time, compress and deduplicate data, and automatically ensure that data is stored on physical storage that matches its application and usage profile (tiering). Essentially, CNS supports and streamlines automation for any data operation.
In this article, we’re discussing just what it is that makes container-native storage the best data management choice for enterprises running Kubernetes.
What is Container-Native Storage?
“Container-native storage enables stateful workloads to run within containers by providing persistent volumes. Combined with Kubernetes primitives such as StatefulSets, it delivers the reliability and stability to run mission-critical workloads in production environments.” (Source)
Container-native storage is a Kubernetes-native, software-defined, storage solution that itself runs in a container on each node of a Kubernetes cluster. Containers are similar to virtual machines, but are more lightweight. For instance, containers are made up of applications that are broken into independent pieces that can be deployed and managed dynamically. Using container-native storage ensures data persists even if the container doesn’t. Any stateful app that requires data to persist (transaction apps, for example) requires a CNS like ionir Kubernetes Native Storage.
Container-native storage is essential in any environment where persistent storage and enterprise-class data management are required. For example, the right CNS can enable business leaders to make operational decisions without worrying about the cost and complexity of moving and copying data across clouds whether hybrid, public, or private. CNS can also instantly increase IT capacity in response to unexpected incidents without the need for advanced planning. Ultimately, with container-native storage, enterprises are enabled to rapidly scale testing and development across multiple clouds to accelerate the delivery of new capabilities.
Below are the properties of container-native storage:
- Persistent volumes allow stateful workloads to run in containers supporting mission-critical production environments
- Consistently available in all environments; freely deploy and migrate apps
- Container awareness and granularity to scale with workloads
- Supports hyper-convergence to match compute and data services, balance distribution
- Admins use standard Kubernetes tools and workflows
“Container-based storage is reliable, safe, and provides persistent sharing of data to services and projects.” — Chris Knight, IFP
How Container-Native Storage Works
Container-native storage virtualizes capacity from available storage media — often from NVMe devices in the servers running Kubernetes — creating a virtual pool of capacity, and then presents logical storage objects and volumes to the applications. CNS separates the data plane and control plane, allowing additional data management services to be delivered independently.
Just a few years ago, in order to achieve the data agility for enterprise storage discussed above, enterprises would have had to pay millions of dollars for complex hardware based array systems. Now, container-native storage solutions are extremely affordable and enable IT teams to effectively execute deduping, tiering, availability, performance, and more within the Kubernetes services environment.
Container Native Storage and Kubernetes
Where there is a large number of containers existing in a development or production environment, a container orchestration platform is typically required to manage the containers. Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source container orchestrator that helps make sure each container is in the right location and ensures that the containers work in sync with one another. Essentially, Kubernetes automates container operations, eliminating difficult and time-consuming manual processes that correspond with application development and scaling.
ionir’s Kubernetes Native Storage is a purpose-built container-native storage platform built with and running on Kubernetes. ionir software provides persistent block storage volumes to cloud-native applications using Kubernetes. ionir’s software is elastic and dynamic with near-infinite capacity and performance.
ionir provides unique enterprise-class data management capabilities such as:
- Continuous data protection
- Instant restore to any point in time
- Instant copy to any location
- Global deduplication
- Automated tiering
Container-Native Storage vs. Container-Ready Storage
If you’ve heard about container-native storage, odds are you’ve also heard about container-ready storage (CRS) which is a marketing term applied to non-container-native storage to make it relevant as Kubernetes adoption escalates.
Container-ready or container-attached storage typically uses a shim to attach traditional external storage to the Kubernetes environment using the CSI or Container Storage Interface. This approach requires separate storage and data management, and does not allow Kubernetes to orchestrate storage or data management as a service. This approach to Kubernetes storage does not support global scale, and limits the promise of agility that draws enterprises to deploy Kubernetes in the first place.
Rather than sharing a localized SAN-attached or direct-attached storage array, a K8s cluster with true CNS creates a unified, comprehensive compute infrastructure that is highly scalable and inherently distributed. CNS solutions run in any cloud, allowing container pods to be moved across private, public, and hybrid multi cloud infrastructure.
Container-native storage provides high performance storage for Kubernetes deployment. And in doing so, offers common data management and protection workflows across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. With ionir Kubernetes Native Storage, enterprises can eliminate legacy storage to reduce infrastructure and operational costs by over 40%!
ionir is the only Kubernetes storage platform designed to adapt to technology changes and evolving customer needs without forklift upgrades. Manage your enterprise data more efficiently and cost-effective than ever before. Contact our team of experts to get started.