Dell Adds Open Source Storage Modules to K8s Portfolio

At the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America conference today, Dell Technologies announced it has made available six open source software modules for managing its storage arrays when they are attached to a Kubernetes cluster.

Itzik Reich, vice president for technologists for the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) at Dell Technologies, says the Dell EMC Container Storage Modules (CSM) provide additional capabilities beyond the standard life cycle management enabled by existing support for volumes and snapshots enabled by the Container Storage Interface (CSI) drivers within a Kubernetes cluster.

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Specifically, CSM addresses the need for data replication across data centers, role-based access control (RBAC) authorization, observability and disaster recovery at a time when more stateful applications are being deployed on Kubernetes clusters.

Designed to be deployed on Dell EMC Storage arrays such as PowerMax, PowerStore, PowerScale, PowerFlex and Unity XT, Reich says CSM injects code into a Kubernetes cluster to provide missing storage capabilities that enterprise IT organizations routinely expect to have available when deploying workloads on any on-premises IT platform, multi-site replication and the ability to deploy high-performance databases.

Other capabilities include observability tools that provide a high-level view of the storage capacity and performance usage via open source Prometheus monitoring tools and Grafana dashboards; the ability to limit and control storage consumption in Kubernetes environments by applying quota and RBAC rules; the ability to detect node, control plane network or array I/O network failures; tools to analyze capacity requirements in a way that automates the placement of volumes and additional snapshot capabilities such as group/crash-consistent snapshots with referential integrity.

Each of the six modules, plus all CSI drivers, are available for download via a CSM installer that allows all the modules and CSI drivers to be deployed from the online registry or a dark site.

Reich says that, as adoption of Kubernetes clusters continues to increase, more DevOps teams will seek programmatic control over storage systems to deploy and manage cloud-native application workloads. Those DevOps teams will ultimately exercise a significant amount of influence over what storage arrays are employed based on the degree of programmatic control afforded them, he notes.

It’s still early days as far as stateful applications being deployed on Kubernetes clusters, but Reich says the CSI drivers that Dell Technologies makes available for its storage arrays have already been downloaded more than three million times. Dell is also planning to add support for the operator software created by Red Hat for deploying software on the Red Hat OpenShift distribution of Kubernetes, adds Reich.

Most of the instances of Dell EMC storage connected to Kubernetes clusters are running on top of instances of VMware, adds Reich. However, Dell also expects to see the number of instances of Kubernetes running on bare metal servers to also steadily increase, especially at the network edge. Dell is committed to supporting both types of deployment models, says Reich.

It’s not quite clear yet if there will be a need for dedicated storage administrators to manage all the arrays that might one day be connected to fleets of Kubernetes clusters. In the meantime, however, it’s already apparent that the volume of data being accessed via those clusters is about to expand significantly in the months ahead.

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.

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