From various Cloud Native technologies to Cloud Native ways of operating, Cloud Native has been the trend lately. So, is “Cloud Native storage” just an attempt to fit into this trend or a genuine possibility? Cloud Native and DevOps go well together but in a Cloud Native world where things come and go, can storage truly fit in?
What is Cloud Native storage?
Cloud Native storage manages data for stateful applications and solves data storage challenges in Cloud Native environments. It provides vendor neutrality, easy scalability, security, observability, dynamic deployment, data loss prevention, and API-based automation.
5 Cloud Native storage projects
Cloud Native is slightly tricky given that every application needs database storage to exist but a Cloud Native world doesn’t allow this. Unlike containers that can just be killed when done, storage has to stick around for applications to actually function. Coupling up “Cloud Native” and “storage” is one of the hardest parts of a Cloud Native environment. So, let’s look at a few platforms trying and succeeding at doing this.
Portworx is a software-defined storage (SDS) system that brings techniques applied in traditional storage architecture into the cloud native environment. It is a distributed storage platform built for containers and microservices. Portworx relies on its own distributed services thus eliminating the need for installing Kubernetes to configure a multi-node Portworx storage cluster. It helps users deploy stateful applications across multiple physical hosts in a data center and compute instances running in different regions. Portworx offers storage backups for all containers and ensures all the storage is replicated across availability zones of the desired cluster. It also provides key-managed encryption for container volumes and conducts automated scans to detect and fix hard drives errors or broken volumes.
Created by MayaData, OpenEBS is an open source storage platform that provides continuous containerized block storage for container environments on Kubernetes. Since it’s completely built in the userspace, it can be run on any OS and supports a range of storage engines to enable developers to deploy any storage technology suited to their application design. OpenEBS adopts the Container Attached Storage (CAS) approach, where each workload is given a specific storage controller. It manages the storage available on each Kubernetes node and uses that storage to provide Local or Distributed Persistent Volumes to stateful workloads. OpenEBS can be deployed as just another container on a host to enable storage services that can be designated per pod, application, cluster, or container level.
LongHorn is a lightweight, distributed block storage platform for Kubernetes. Built to run on different types of storage devices, infrastructures, and architectures, LongHorn enables enterprise-grade distributed storage with no single point of failure. It is equipped with automated non-disruptive upgrades and can replicate block storage across multiple nodes and data centers to increase availability. LongHorn implements distributed block storage using containers and microservices. It generates an exclusive storage controller for each block device volume and replicates it across multiple replicas stored on multiple nodes. Both the storage controller and replicas are orchestrated using Kubernetes. LongHorn’s built-in backup features help keep volume data safe and create a disaster recovery volume in another Kubernetes cluster. It eliminates the need for storage admin and developers to invest time or resources into equipping third-party storage infrastructure.
MiniIO is a distributed object storage server that provides Amazon S3 storage functionality. It helps store unstructured data such as log files, backups, container and VM images, and visual data. MiniIO is great at handling large amounts of data because it decouples disk storage from local machines and makes them accessible through a simple HTTP interface. It is one of the only object storage companies that is available everywhere – every public cloud, private cloud, and every Kubernetes distribution. MiniIO uses eraser coding which divides, replicates, and spreads data across multiple drives and disks thus providing high reliability. This also helps in protecting from disk failure and redundancy. MiniIO claims the position of being the world’s fastest object storage server as well as a leader in the hybrid cloud and multi-cloud object storage.
Ceph is a massively scalable, open-source, software-designed, and distributed storage platform that runs anywhere without any vendor lock-in. It is designed to allow object, block, and file storages from a single, unified cluster. Ceph helps in eliminating the need for having multiple vendor storage solutions by providing the interface for multiple storage types within a single cluster. Equipped with the ability to deal with outages on its own, Ceph is completely self-managed and offers high scalability. This helps minimize administration time and other costs. Since Ceph replicates data, it is fault-tolerant thus eliminating any and all bottlenecks. It helps in disaster recovery and data redundancy through erasure coding, snapshots, replication, and storage cloning. Ceph stores data as objects within logical storage pools and a Ceph cluster can have thousands of storage nodes. It also lets organizations deploy servers where needed. Ceph aims for completely distributed operations without a single point of failure.
In the current Cloud Native world, storage is one of the most critical components of a well-functioning infrastructure. Cloud Native storage perfectly brings together the scalability of the cloud and the reliability of storage. With more Cloud Native storage platforms getting out of the sandbox stage on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how they are incorporated by enterprises.
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