December 15, 2017

Managing storage in a container environment presents some unique challenges: Not only is there more data being created faster, the number of microservices trying to call the same data increases exponentially. To enable IT organizations to rise to both challenges, Red Hat has updated Red Hat Cloud-Native Storage software to increase the number of applications accessing a storage cluster by a factor of three while also enabling IT organizations, via a technology preview, to make use of the S3 API to store data on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.

Irshad Raihan, senior manager of product marketing for at Red Hat, says version 3.6 of Red Hat Cloud-Native Storage software also enables Red Hat to tighten its integration with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. In fact, because for all intents and purposes storage is now just another application on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment based on a Kubernetes cluster, developers are taking more control over how those resources are provisioned, says Raihan. Storage administrators, he adds, are still needed to manage the underlying physical storage, but developers are now able to provision requirements on their own at a much higher level of abstraction.

In general, Raihan says there has been a marked increase in the number of stateful applications based on containers that need access to storage. While containers once were used primarily for ephemeral stateless applications, Raihan says access to persistent forms of file, block and object-based storage is now a much higher priority as container-based applications mature. IT organizations now must find a way to provide access without slowing developers down. Because of that issue, there’s a lot more pressure than ever to address storage management within the context of larger set of integrated DevOps processes. That means the days when Band Aid solutions are now effectively over, he says.

To give IT organizations the ability to sample that capability, Red Hat is also rolling out an instance of OpenShift Container Platform with Container-Native Storage Test Drive. Intended to allow IT organizations to simulate Red Hat OpenShift deployments via the public cloud, IT administrators can gain access to a full multi-node Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform cluster without having to commit any resources.

As a PaaS environment, it also provides the added benefit of allowing both cloud-native and legacy applications to share access to the same pool of storage resources, Raihan says. That’s significant because it cuts down on the amount of data that needs to be replicated between what otherwise would be silos.

It may take a while for the divide between PaaS environments and storage to be bridged completely. But given the rate at which stateful applications are being developed using container, it’s now more a matter of when than if.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.