As Red Hat continues to foster the development of containerized applications, the company is enlisting allies to enable those applications to access data residing on persistent storage. One of the latest companies to join the Red Hat Partner Connect technology alliance program is Robin.io, a provider of software for creating a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform based on Kubernetes.
HCI platforms have gained a lot of traction in the enterprise because they enable organizations to unify the management of compute and storage in much the same way cloud service providers operate. Under terms of the alliance, the Red Hat OpenShift Container platform, which is based on Kubernetes, will be able to access ROBIN storage software, while the Storage Operator software that Robin.io created to deploy its platform in a Kubernetes environment has been certified by Red Hat.
Radhesh Menon, chief marketing officer for Robin.io, says that when it comes to container storage most enterprise IT organizations don’t appreciate the degree to which containerized applications will drive the convergence of data and storage management. In addition to providing access to persistent storage, Robin Storage provides support for inline compression, thin provisioning, snapshots across multiple availability zones, rapid failovers and data-at-rest/at-motion encryption. In traditional enterprise IT environments, many of those capabilities are delivered via add-on software modules that require organizations to pay extra to license on top of the core storage system they acquired, he says.
Containerized applications also tend to scale out more than they scale up, which creates a need for an HCI platform that is designed from the ground up to scale out, Menon adds.
Stateful containerized applications based on databases are starting to be deployed more commonly across the enterprise. The bulk of the first wave of containerized applications were stateless, which means they did not require access to persistent storage. Now many stateless applications are being deployed on serverless computing frameworks, while stateful applications that tend to be longer-running are deployed using containers. The shift also coincides with the recent updates to Kubernetes that include support for more robust internal and external storage application programming interfaces (APIs).
It’s too early to say how precisely the container storage wars will play out in the enterprise. As the number of microservices that make up a stateful containerized application continues to increase, the I/O performance of the underlying storage system is increasingly taxed. In addition, it’s only a matter of time before multiple Kubernetes clusters share access to data in ways that are dfficult to predict. As those issues become more pronounced, many IT organizations soon may decide their existing legacy storage systems can’t meet the needs of their containerized applications.