UPDATED 19:00 EDT / AUGUST 18 2020

CLOUD

Kubernetes inspires cooperation and innovation in the storage world

Containers and cloud go hand in hand, and today’s definitive containerization solution is the open-source Kubernetes system. But putting containers into production means solving application, storage and data orchestration. And when it comes to storage, standards and methods have long been a contentious topic.

However, instead of intensifying the debate, it seems that containerization has brought agreement to the storage realm while simultaneously unleashing a wave of innovation in the market.

“The whole ecosystem is developing very quickly, [and] a lot of these solutions work with each other,” said Sheng Liang (pictured, left), co-founder and chief executive officer at Rancher Labs Inc. “It’s really less of a competition, or even coopetition. It’s really more of raising the bar for the capabilities so that we can accelerate the amount of workload that’s been moved onto this wonderful Kubernetes platform. In the end, it will benefit everyone.”

Liang and Murli Thirumale (pictured, right), co-founder and chief executive officer of Portworx Inc., spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s livestreaming studio, during the virtual KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2020 event. They discussed the state of storage for the container world. (* Disclosure below.)

CSI solves the argument

Part of the newfound consensus in data storage is thanks to the Container Storage Interface, which defined rules and parameters for interaction between old-style storage solutions — from providers such as NetApp Inc. and Dell EMC — and cloud block storage or file storage services, such as Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Elastic Block Store and Elastic File System and Google Cloud Storage.

“The CSI interface is really a very, very strong and complete solution to allowing Kubernetes to orchestrate storage and data. So it’s really strengthened both Kubernetes and the Kubernetes ecosystem,” Thirumale said.

Alongside traditional and cloud block and file storage, there is a third category: container native storage. This is where orchestration solutions, such as Rancher’s Longhorn and Portworx Enterprise Kubernetes storage platform, come to the forefront.

“All of traditional infrastructure is very, very machine centric. What Kubernetes and containers do is move it into becoming an app-defined control plane,” said Thirumale, describing the difference between having an interface, such as CSI, and having the software that provides at-scale high availability, disaster recovery and backup as the life cycle matures. This “allows really significant removal or reduction of the storage admin role and replaces it with self-service that is fully automated within Kubernetes.”

Traditional storage functionality is now “just table stakes,” according to Liang. “After that, there will be three, four, five, additional layers of requirements all the way from backup, restore, DR, search, indexing, analytics. I really think all of this could potentially all fall in the bucket of the storage ecosystem. There’s just so much work to do to leverage the fundamental workload portability [and] marry that with some form of universal data management or data portability. I think that would really unleash the industry to the next level.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of theCUBE’s coverage of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2020. (* Disclosure: The Cloud Native Computing Foundation sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither The Cloud Native Computing Foundation nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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