Kubernetes Data Management

Astra Control adds Rancher and Upstream Kubernetes Support

We are excited to expand the support for additional Kubernetes distributions with the latest release of Astra Control Center (ACC) version 21.12: Rancher Kubernetes Engine installed with Rancher, and upstream Kubernetes. These distributions add to our current support of Red Hat Openshift Container Platform.

Now that ACC supports three different Kubernetes distributions, you can install ACC on clusters running any of the supported distributions. You can also provide application-aware data management no matter which of the Kubernetes distributions you use in production or in the test/dev lab. You can also clone and restore applications between the different distributions, just with a few clicks or API calls.

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Why do I really need Astra Control Center for my On-Premises Deployments?

Kubernetes does not inherently provide an easy way to perform application data management on its own for microservices based applications. If you lose your Kubernetes cluster, you may lose your applications and all the data with them. ACC not only protects your data, but it also protects and restores the application and its metadata along with the persistent volumes, protecting your entire microservices-based application and its volumes as one entity.

ACC provides data protection with application and data snapshots. It accomplishes disaster recovery by taking full backups and restoration of your application and its metadata along with its persistent volumes. It also provides application and data portability with instant active clones. Now, as you scale your Kubernetes environment up using these three popular Kubernetes distributions, or change distributions as they mature, we can provide application data management and application cloning between all your clusters.

What is Upstream Kubernetes?

Upstream Kubernetes is an open-source version of Kubernetes managed and maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. It is sometimes referred to as plain vanilla Kubernetes. It consists of core Kubernetes components that are needed to orchestrate microservices running in containers, without any add on applications. Networking is supplied via a Container Network Interface (CNI) plug-in and must be installed independently. Upstream Kubernetes includes no additional applications for monitoring or management, they must be installed separately. There is often also only community support.

ACC supports upstream Kubernetes clusters regardless of how they are created, as several methods exist. Kubeadm is a utility that installs Kubernetes components as pods themselves. Another example is using kubespray which itself uses kubeadm and Ansible. You can also install Kubernetes as outlined in Kelsey Hightowers "Kubernetes the Hard Way", where Kubernetes components are installed as Linux systemd services rather than pods, although this is now not used as often as other methods.

What is Rancher?

Rancher is a complete open source software stack for Kubernetes. You can use the Rancher application to launch Kubernetes clusters along with choosing the CNI, and it is done for you with a web interface or a utility via the cli. You can also import existing clusters into Rancher for management. Rancher installs additional software to help secure, monitor and manage the Kubernetes cluster. It can also install an NGINX ingress and other options. It then uses agents in the cattle-system namespace to contact the Rancher API server.

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How would I clone an application from Upstream Kubernetes to Rancher using Astra Control Center?

ACC is installed as a Kubernetes application itself. It can be installed on any of the three distributions provided the requirements are met.

After your application Kubernetes clusters are created and Astra Trident is configured on them for their provisioning needs, simply add the clusters to Astra Control Center by uploading their respective kubeconfig files. Select an Astra Trident based storage class as the default class for any future applications installed on each cluster.

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After the clusters are added to ACC, ACC will automatically discover the deployed applications on those clusters. Of course, you can always install applications after adding the cluster to ACC and it will be discovered after all the resources are up. If an application has a persistent volume, it must be associated with an Astra Trident storage class to manage the application from ACC. Use the dropdown from the Discovered tab to manage the application. In this case, we are managing the entire namespace, odoo-dev on the upstream cluster as one entity.

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After it is managed, you can begin your data protection policy. Click on the Managed tab, and then the application, odoo-dev, and Data Protection. Provide a schedule for snapshots and backups you prefer.

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You can clone the application to a different cluster that is also being managed by ACC, same distribution or not, at any time from either the current active state or a backup using a simple dropdown menu.

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In this case, we will clone to the Rancher cluster. We specify the clone name that will be managed by ACC, odoo-prod, and the clone namespace that will be created on the Rancher cluster.

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The clone will be automatically managed by ACC and you have an exact replica of the application, including the data on the Rancher cluster (or whichever cluster you wish to clone your application to)! Set up a protection policy for the new instance, called odoo-prod.

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See the video demo Astra Control Center in Action – Application Data Management for Openshift, Rancher and Upstream Kubernetes clusters to watch how this is done.

This is cool, how can I try it out?

Download the new version of the self-managed ACC using the free trial. Install it in your lab and try it out to provide application data management for all your Kubernetes applications. Please let us know how it goes. You can reach us at astra.feedback@netapp.com. We'd love to hear from you!

Technical Marketing Engineer – Hybrid Cloud Services