Kubernetes Data Management

Kubernetes Application Data Management: Why?

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August 31, 2021

Topics: Astra Kubernetes 3 minute read

Why Kubernetes application data management?

As Kubernetes and containers become the de-facto choice for developing, deploying, running, and scaling cloud-native and next-generation IT apps, enterprises are running more and more business-critical applications on them. Business-critical applications are often stateful. A stateful application has associated state, data, and config information and depends on previous data transactions to execute its business logic. Business-critical apps on Kubernetes that provide a service often have availability and business continuity requirements like traditional applications meaning an outage of the service (breaching SLAs) can seriously impact the revenue and reputation of the provider. Enterprises often realize that they need to fortify their Kubernetes deployments to be resilient to service failures after a service-impacting disaster. This can be catastrophic. Other enterprises recognize the need but use custom tools developed by IT staff and admins with intimate knowledge of the application, which are hard to scale, apply, and normalize across the enterprise and application teams. Consequently, businesses grapple with a coherent and cohesive data protection strategy for their Kubernetes estate.

What is the current state of K8s application data protection?

The larger Kubernetes community and the ecosystem have done an excellent job defining the Container Storage Interface (CSI), which solves users' first-order problems with persistent storage provisioning and consumption for stateful Kubernetes applications. The CSI interface also defines data management primitives like support for persistent volume (PV) snapshots and clones. These interfaces provide a foundation for building comprehensive data protection solutions by storage and data management vendors like NetApp, with a rich portfolio of proven industry-leading data services to offer to the cloud-native data ecosystem.

What does Kubernetes data management entail?

While the ability to snapshot and clone PV(s) using the CSI interface is an important capability, they barely by themselves address the application protection, continuity, mobility, and other data management needs of a service running on a Kubernetes platform. The state and data associated with a Kubernetes application are not limited to what is present in PV(s). The state is also captured in secrets, ConfigMaps, and other resources (including standard and custom) that comprise a Kubernetes application to provide a service. Consequently, at NetApp, our approach to Kubernetes data management is application-centric and focused on application data beyond what's in the PVs. Our goal is to provide a control plane for Kubernetes applications that offer:

  • Automatic application discovery and persistent storage management.
  • A rich set of application aware data management, protection, continuity, mobility, compliance, and governance functionality by tightly integrating with NetApp's enterprise-class data services.
  • A user experience (UI and API) that is consistent across all environments (public cloud and on-premises), enabling our customers' business-critical applications on Kubernetes no matter where they run their Kubernetes clusters.
  • Support for non-NetApp storage providers based on customer demand.

Astra Control -- multi-cluster, multi-cloud, single pane of glass control plane for Kubernetes application data

In our quest to respond to the data and storage management needs for business-critical Kubernetes applications, we have embarked on our journey with Astra Control, which already provides a rich set of data management functionality operating on the Kubernetes application as a wholistic unit as opposed to pods and PVs. Available as a fully managed service operated by NetApp (Astra Control Service) and a customer-managed software product (Astra Control Center), Astra Control has been designed to solve your Kubernetes app data life-cycle management needs. Read other blogs referred from this page to understand the problem, use cases, and the solution we are offering with our Astra Control portfolio.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements in this space.

Senior Director of Product Management

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