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Easily manage Kubernetes clusters with a Cloud Volumes ONTAP storage back end in Astra Control Service

Now it’s easier than ever to manage Kubernetes (K8s) clusters on Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. With its latest January update, NetApp® Astra™ Control Service also supports NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP® software as a storage back end for your protected K8s clusters on Azure and Google Cloud platforms.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a software-only storage appliance that runs NetApp ONTAP data management software in the cloud. You get enterprise-grade storage features and extended support in Astra Control Service to:

In this blog post, I show you how to configure Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a storage back end for an example AKS cluster (pu-aks-cvo-01). I also show you how to manage and to protect the AKS cluster with Astra Control Service.

Steps to configure Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a back end

To make it easy to manage Cloud Volumes ONTAP and configure it as a storage back end for the AKS cluster, we use the NetApp BlueXP™ unified control plane in this setup. With BlueXP, you can manage all your storage and data assets from a single intuitive web-based interface.

Keep in mind that although this walk-through uses Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure and AKS clusters, you use a similar process for setting up Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud and GKE clusters.

First, log in to the BlueXP management console (see how to set up BlueXP), then select the correct account, workspace, and connector to your Azure environment. Now you can manage an already existing Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance, which is acsakscvobackend in this example, in Storage -> Canvas -> My Working Environments:

CVO-AKS-ACS-01By clicking the + (Add Working Environment) button in the Canvas, you’re guided through the dialog box to add resources and to select Microsoft Azure as the platform and Kubernetes Cluster as the resource type. After your selection, click Next:

CVO-AKS-ACS-02Then select Discover Cluster to discover existing AKS clusters through the BlueXP Connector and click Next:

CVO-AKS-ACS-03Search for the test cluster pu-aks-cvo-01 in the list of discovered clusters, and click Next to add it to BlueXP:

CVO-AKS-ACS-04The AKS cluster now appears among the working environments in the BlueXP Canvas, with a request for further configuration:

CVO-AKS-ACS-05After you enter the working environment, click Install Trident to let BlueXP configure NetApp Astra Trident, a storage provisioner and orchestrator for the entire NetApp storage portfolio, on the AKS cluster:

CVO-AKS-ACS-06-07Trident installation takes a moment. After the installation is complete, you receive a message, at which point you can proceed with adding a storage class for the cluster. Click Add Storage Class:


Provide a storage class name and the configuration details for the storage class. Select No in Set as Default Storage Class, because Astra Control Service does that step later. Click Next:


BlueXP searches for available Cloud Volumes ONTAP instances to be configured as a K8s persistent storage back end. In this example, you select the Cloud Volumes ONTAP system acsakscvobackend and click Add to create the storage class and to configure Cloud Volumes ONTAP as its storage back end:

CVO-AKS-ACS-09After a few seconds, you’re taken to the configuration overview of the cluster in BlueXP:

CVO-AKS-ACS-10Back in the BlueXP storage Canvas, you now see that the AKS cluster pu-aks-cvo-01 is connected to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance acsakscvobackend:

CVO-AKS-ACS-11The connection between your Cloud Volumes ONTAP storage back end and Kubernetes cluster has now been set up and verified.

Steps to set up management and protection in Astra Control Service

Now you’re all set to manage and to protect your AKS cluster with Astra Control Service. You can also deploy applications with persistent volumes that are backed by Cloud Volumes ONTAP on the cluster.

Switch to the Astra Control Service console, and add the AKS cluster pu-aks-cvo-01 to Astra Control Service:

CVO-AKS-ACS-12The already configured Service Principal allows Astra Control Service to discover the available clusters in the Azure subscription, and you can filter for the pu-aks-cvo-01 cluster name. After you select the cluster, click Next:


During the process of adding the cluster to Astra Control Service, you’re asked whether you want to assign a new default storage class. Select as the new default storage class the Cloud Volumes ONTAP backed acsakscvobackend-cm storage class that was configured by BlueXP in the previous steps. When you have finished, click Add:


Astra Control Service detects that Astra Trident is already installed and configured on the AKS cluster and changes the default storage class to acsakscvobackend-cm:

CVO-AKS-ACS-15Now you’re ready to protect persistent applications on the AKS cluster with NetApp Snapshot™ copies and backups from Astra Control Service. As a demonstration application, here a WordPress instance is quickly deployed through its Bitnami Helm chart in the namespace wordpress:

~# helm install wordpress bitnami/wordpress --namespace wordpress --set wordpressUsername=astra,wordpressPassword=XXXXXXX --create-namespace
NAME: wordpress
LAST DEPLOYED: Tue Jan 24 19:00:53 2023
NAMESPACE: wordpress
STATUS: deployed
CHART NAME: wordpress

** Please be patient while the chart is being deployed **
Your WordPress site can be accessed through the following DNS name from within your cluster:
  wordpress.wordpress.svc.cluster.local (port 80)
To access your WordPress site from outside the cluster follow the steps below:
1. Get the WordPress URL by running these commands:
NOTE: It may take a few minutes for the LoadBalancer IP to be available.
        Watch the status with: 'kubectl get svc --namespace wordpress -w wordpress'
 export SERVICE_IP=$(kubectl get svc --namespace wordpress wordpress --include "")
   echo "WordPress URL: http://$SERVICE_IP/"
   echo "WordPress Admin URL: http://$SERVICE_IP/admin"
2. Open a browser and access WordPress using the obtained URL.
3. Login with the following credentials below to see your blog:
echo Username: astra
echo Password: $(kubectl get secret --namespace wordpress wordpress -o jsonpath="{.data.wordpress-password}" | base64 -d)
Because acsakscvobackend-cm is set as the default storage class, the two persistent volumes for WordPress are backed by the Cloud Volumes ONTAP instance:

~# kubectl get all,pvc -n wordpress
NAME                            READY   STATUS    RESTARTS        AGE
pod/wordpress-57bd45f7b-8zbr2   1/1     Running   1 (3m25s ago)   4m56s
pod/wordpress-mariadb-0         1/1     Running   0               4m56s

NAME                        TYPE           CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)                      AGE
service/wordpress           LoadBalancer   80:32481/TCP,443:31567/TCP   4m57s
service/wordpress-mariadb   ClusterIP   <none>         3306/TCP                     4m57s

NAME                        READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
deployment.apps/wordpress   1/1     1            1           4m57s

NAME                                  DESIRED   CURRENT   READY   AGE
replicaset.apps/wordpress-57bd45f7b   1         1         1       4m57s

NAME                                 READY   AGE
statefulset.apps/wordpress-mariadb   1/1     4m57s

NAME                                             STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS          AGE
persistentvolumeclaim/data-wordpress-mariadb-0   Bound    pvc-2936728e-1f87-4b7f-9490-2ba1b5009690   8Gi        RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   4m58s
persistentvolumeclaim/wordpress                  Bound    pvc-96ad0163-ec69-4cb1-9ec6-eeea2f2a7c56   10Gi       RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   4m58s

Astra Control Service automatically detects the newly created namespace for WordPress on cluster pu-aks-cvo-01, and you can easily define the whole wordpress namespace as an application in Astra Control Service. When you have finished, click View in Applications:


CVO-AKS-ACS-17From the WordPress application details in the Astra Control Service application view, you can directly create the first Snapshot copy of the application:



The Snapshot copies take only a few seconds to be created, because they’re created by using the fast and efficient ONTAP Snapshot mechanisms:

~# kubectl get pvc,volumesnapshots -n wordpress
NAME                                             STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS          AGE
persistentvolumeclaim/data-wordpress-mariadb-0   Bound    pvc-2936728e-1f87-4b7f-9490-2ba1b5009690   8Gi        RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   7m
persistentvolumeclaim/wordpress                  Bound    pvc-96ad0163-ec69-4cb1-9ec6-eeea2f2a7c56   10Gi       RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   7m

NAME                                                                                                                        READYTOUSE   SOURCEPVC                  SOURCESNAPSHOTCONTENT   RESTORESIZE   SNAPSHOTCLASS                            SNAPSHOTCONTENT                                    CREATIONTIME   AGE   true         data-wordpress-mariadb-0                           33676Ki       astra-netapp-csi-trident-netapp-io-vsc   snapcontent-6fcb2070-5c1d-4a23-80e1-321dd46c2e3d   36s            37s   true         wordpress                                          250100Ki      astra-netapp-csi-trident-netapp-io-vsc   snapcontent-7b2a73da-f151-44b9-96c3-cd47f030e18d   36s            36s

Finally, with the application Snapshot copy in place, you can test a restore of the application to a new namespace on the same cluster. From the Actions menu of the Snapshot copy in Astra Control Service, you can directly start a restore by clicking Restore Application:

CVO-AKS-ACS-20Select wordpress-clone as the destination namespace and click Next:


Then start the restore after you check the restore information:


After a short while, the restored WordPress application in the new namespace comes up. Then you can confirm that its two persistent volumes also exist in the acsakscvobackend-cm storage class and are backed by Cloud Volumes ONTAP:

~# kubectl get all,pvc -n wordpress-clone
NAME                             READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
pod/wordpress-65bccc5b66-d9jrz   1/1     Running   0          2m22s
pod/wordpress-mariadb-0          1/1     Running   0          2m22s

NAME                        TYPE           CLUSTER-IP    EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)                      AGE
service/wordpress           LoadBalancer   80:30065/TCP,443:31078/TCP   2m22s
service/wordpress-mariadb   ClusterIP   <none>         3306/TCP                     2m22s

NAME                        READY   UP-TO-DATE   AVAILABLE   AGE
deployment.apps/wordpress   1/1     1            1           2m23s

NAME                                   DESIRED   CURRENT   READY   AGE
replicaset.apps/wordpress-65bccc5b66   1         1         1       2m23s

NAME                                 READY   AGE
statefulset.apps/wordpress-mariadb   1/1     2m23s

NAME                                             STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS          AGE
persistentvolumeclaim/data-wordpress-mariadb-0   Bound    pvc-39d96f88-a1b1-4054-a716-f2dba111e996   8Gi        RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   2m25s
persistentvolumeclaim/wordpress                  Bound    pvc-39b4c713-ecb9-4cf7-88b2-78c05a279c5f   10Gi       RWO            acsakscvobackend-cm   2m25s

Checking back in the BlueXP storage Canvas, you see that BlueXP detected the four created persistent volumes on the AKS cluster:


You can also find more details about the persistent volumes by drilling down into the pu-aks-cvo-01 AKS cluster:


Take advantage of NetApp’s continued innovation

With expanded Cloud Volumes ONTAP support for NetApp Kubernetes users, now you have yet another choice to store your persistent application data in GKE and AKS clusters.

Because NetApp continually innovates and enhances its product capabilities, now Astra Control Service can seamlessly manage and protect Cloud Volumes ONTAP backed persistent applications. In this blog post, I showed how easy it is to deploy Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a storage back end in Astra Control Service, so why wait? Get started today

Cloud Technical Marketing Engineer