Why traditional storage doesn’t cut it in the new world of containers

By Steve Bohac, Red Hat Storage

Persistent storage for containers is a hot topic these days. While containers do a great job of storing application logic, they do not offer a built-in solution for storing application data across the lifecycle of containers. Ephemeral (or local) storage is not enough–Stateful applications require that the container data be available beyond the life of the containers. They also require that the underlying storage layer provide all the enterprise features available to applications that are deployed in, say, virtualized environments.

Another important consideration is that because many view containers as the next step in the evolution of server virtualization, it’s critical to provide persistent storage options to administrators because hypervisors have always allowed for persistent storage in one form or the other.

One approach is to use traditional storage appliances that support legacy applications. This is a natural inclination and assumption, but… the wrong one.

Traditional storage appliances are based on decades-old architectures at this point and were not made for a container-based application world. These approaches also fail to offer the portability you need for your apps in today’s hybrid cloud world. Some of these traditional storage vendors offer additional software for your containers, which can be used as a go-between for these storage appliances and your container orchestration, but this approach still falls short as it is undermined by those same storage appliance limitations. This approach would also mean that storage for the container is provisioned separately from your container orchestration layer.

There’s a better way! Storage containers containing storage software co-­reside with compute containers and serve storage to the compute containers from hosts that have local or direct-attached storage. Storage containers are deployed and provisioned using the same orchestration layer you’ve adopted in house (like Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, which is Kubernetes based), just like compute containers. In this deployment scenario, storage services are provided by containerized storage software (like Red Hat Container-Native Storage based on Red Hat Gluster Storage) to pool and expose storage from local hosts or direct-attached storage to containerized applications.

Red Hat Container-Native Storage for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is built with Red Hat Gluster Storage and is flexible, cost-effective, and developer-friendly storage for containers. It helps organizations standardize storage across multiple environments and easily integrates with Red Hat OpenShift to deliver a persistent storage layer for containerized applications that require long-term storage. Enterprises can benefit from a simple, integrated solution including the container platform, registry, application development environment, and storage–all in one, supported by a single vendor.

To hear from one customer who implemented a Red Hat Container-Native Storage solution, please check out our Brinker International case study. Also, take our solution for a free test drive and see for yourself.

If you–like we are–attending KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Austin, Texas, this week, we’d love to take a minute to meet with you and talk about Red Hat Container-Native Storage. Stop by the Red Hat booth (D1, near the Hub Lounge) or attend one of our sessions devoted to container storage to learn more about running Red Hat Container-Native Storage for your container-based application platform. Also, our own Steve Watt from the Red Hat Office of the CTO will be speaking from the show on theCube tomorrow, December 7, as well. If you’re not able to make it to Austin, please find us at a roadshow event coming to a city near you.

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