We are excited to announce the general availability of support for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in Azure for Astra with Azure NetApp Files as the persistent storage provider backing containerized applications. The support for AKS expands NetApp® Astra™ support for workloads on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) in Google Cloud with NetApp Cloud Volumes Service as the persistent storage provider, which we announced last month. This new announcement brings Azure Kubernetes Service users a rich set of application-aware data and storage management functionality that is accessible with just a few clicks from the Astra console.
You start by providing Astra the credentials required to access your account, then you add your AKS clusters to Astra with applications that you want to manage. Astra automatically discovers the available clusters in your Azure account. When adding a new cluster, Astra creates three storage classes that correspond to Azure NetApp Files’ performance tiers, - Standard, Premium, and Ultra. This gives your applications direct access to Azure NetApp Files, a highly performant, low-latency fully managed cloud file storage service. You choose the default storage class for your compute cluster during this step.
After reviewing the selection of your compute cluster and the default storage class, you approve the addition of the AKS cluster to Astra. Astra then allocates a native object storage bucket (from Azure Blob Storage) for its internal needs and shows the cluster as Available.
At this point, if applications are running on your AKS cluster, Astra discovers them automatically and allows you to manage them, including their namespaces. After an AKS cluster is added to Astra, all applications (and namespaces) that you add to the cluster are discovered automatically, until you unmanage the cluster from Astra. From the list of automatically discovered applications, you can select the workloads that you want Astra to manage by promoting these applications to the Managed state.
The applications that Astra manages show up as Available and offer a catalog of application-aware data management functionality that you can use to match the data management requirements of your applications.
Stable and consistent APIs
You can now create a snapshot or back up an application, including all of the components that comprise the Kubernetes application, like Pods, PVs, Secrets, ConfigMaps, DaemonSets, StatefulSets, etc. With a couple of clicks, you can also set up protection policies, review activity logs, restore applications to a different cluster in the same or different Azure region and create active clones of an application. Astra's application awareness gives you a unique data management experience. You don’t have to worry about the parts that constitute your application, because Astra operates on the application as a whole. The restored or cloned application is fully functional instantly, providing the service it was built to provide.
The experience that Astra offers is identical regardless of where the clusters are located, Azure or Google Cloud. In addition to providing a consistent graphical user experience, we are also announcing a documented, stable API. This API is documented using the OpenAPI specification, and you can use it to programmatically automate your application-data management workflows for any Kubernetes cluster in any cloud. You can create your data protection and recovery workflows to match your business requirements once and use them everywhere.
Simple and practical multicloud data management
With the GA announcement for AKS in Azure, Astra now supports the ability to back up, recover, and clone applications across Azure and Google Cloud with the click of a button. This powerful ability makes multicloud data management for Kubernetes possible and allows you to migrate applications from one cloud to another quickly and easily. The capability hides the complexity of multicloud data management, making your Kubernetes applications truly portable across clouds.
Currently, we offer PAYGO billing for Astra; you pay with a credit card for what you use, with no upfront charges or commitments. Our customers wanted a more traditional procurement model for ordering and purchasing Astra. Therefore, we now offer annual subscriptions that you can buy in packs of ten applications each.
What to expect in the future
As containers become the preferred method of developing and deploying applications, Kubernetes is the platform of choice for running and scaling containerized applications. Kubernetes and containers give developers the ability to create data anywhere. Making it easy to manage the lifecycle of this data is critical for developers, application teams, and Kubernetes admins. Astra is designed for simplicity and consistency above all else. Adding support for AKS highlights this intuitive and identical experience for managing Kubernetes application data in Azure and Google cloud.
Our journey with Astra is just beginning. Our next stop is Astra support for on-premises Kubernetes clusters with NetApp ONTAP® backing stateful applications. Stay tuned.