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Kubernetes is an incredibly useful tool for managing containers, and its popularity is growing by the day. According to a study performed by Gartner, 75% of all businesses will use containers in their applications by 2022, and the container management market is expected to reach $944 million by 2024. While Kubernetes deployments can be found using every type of storage environment, organizations are finding less-expensive and more scalable solutions for Kubernetes storage in the cloud.
This blog post introduces the advantages and challenges of using Kubernetes, and demonstrates, through several success stories, how Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides Kubernetes workloads with advanced data management capabilities for persistent volumes.
Kubernetes Benefits and Challenges
Kubernetes is a container orchestration solution developed by Google, based on years of experience working with containers. Now an open-source project, Kubernetes makes deploying and managing containers and workloads in containers that span across numerous machines much easier. It dramatically improves container deployment and provides both horizontal scale-out and fault tolerance.
Kubernetes is gaining traction in the cloud. The major cloud providers offer native Kubernetes services, such as Google Kubernetes Engine, Amazon EKS, and Azure Kubernetes Service. These services are enabling companies to orchestrate container usage across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. For more on the growing role of Kubernetes in the cloud, read this post on recent findings by 451 Research.
There are many benefits to using Kubernetes on-premises as well as in the cloud. The solution acts as an application server, handling the different aspects of application deployment, including running all services, batch processes, message queues, caching services, and database systems.
As for scaling, Kubernetes can be configured to automatically deploy persistent volumes, provisioning or freeing up resources in response to claims received by the cluster. In this way, companies need only create a cluster of machines in the cloud with enough compute and storage resources for all applications, and can then rely on Kubernetes to do the rest, and optimize resource utilization.
Enhancing Kubernetes Workloads with Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Case Studies
Despite these benefits, however, Kubernetes persistent data still requires critical data management capabilities. These include ensuring high availability, data mobility, and data protection, all of which are not built into the Kubernetes solution. These tasks can become complex and create management overhead, especially in multi-cloud and hybrid architectures.
To overcome these Kubernetes challenges, many companies have turned to NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP to meet their containerized workload requirements.
In this section we dive into Kubernetes use cases, looking at three companies that used Cloud Volumes ONTAP to successfully enhance their Kubernetes workloads.
Data Protection and High Availability for SaaS on Azure and Kubernetes
This German multinational company is one of the largest building materials producers worldwide. It has over 60,000 employees and operates across 3,000 production sites spread out in 60 countries.
The enterprise decided to upgrade its shipping and customer delivery operations by developing a new SaaS supply management platform. To do so, it required a data management solution that could deliver flexibility, scalability, and agility in a cloud environment.
The company decided to containerize its SaaS platform in Kubernetes and use Cloud Volumes ONTAP to manage its Azure storage. By doing so, it gained the following benefits:
- Provisions persistent storage for Kubernetes clusters automatically and seamlessly with NetApp Trident.
- Guarantees business continuity with RPO = 0 and RTO < 60s thanks to the Cloud Volumes ONTAP high availability configuration.
- Enhanced data protection using NetApp Snapshot™ technology.
- Simplified migration of workloads for cloud-based DR.
Migrating SAP, Multiprotocol Shared Files, and DevOps to AWS and Kubernetes
A leading energy producer in the Asia-Pacific region, this company’s products and services play a central role in the production of its county’s energy. It is involved in every step of the energy production, from discovery and production to distribution and retail.
The company decided to migrate its SAP workload to AWS and was looking for a data management layer for its Kubernetes clusters persistent storage, in addition to a multiprotocol shared storage service that supported Linux and Windows.
By incorporating Cloud Volumes ONTAP into its deployment, the energy producer:
- Easily carried out a lift and shift cloud migration strategy for its on-prem SAP arrays to AWS.
- Gained multiprotocol access for its SAP database, supporting both NFS and SMB/CIFS. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides a flexible, scalable, performant and secure solution for file shares across containerized workloads.
- Leverages BlueXP Console for data management of Kubernetes cluster persistent storage.
- Orchestrates hybrid cloud management for multiple storage environments.
This northern-European heavy industry manufacturer supplies power sources, such as natural gas and alternative energy sources to the marine and energy sectors. It employs over 19,000 workers in more than 80 countries and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. Its technology has positioned it as an innovator in its field and has enabled it to set up digital acceleration centers around the globe.
Gaining DevOps Flexibility on Google Cloud and Kubernetes
As the enterprise transitioned applications to the cloud, it faced challenges in managing Kubernetes workloads. The company’s Kubernetes clusters on Google Cloud required read/write access to many copies of the same data volumes. The manufacturer initially used Google Filestore for this task. However, the Google-native solution’s scale, central management, and cloning features led to challenges of increased costs and impacted development cycles.
To solve these issues, the company sought a central Kubernetes management solution that could manage replication and provide shared storage access across environments without scaling limitations.
By using Cloud Volumes ONTAP as an alternative to Google Filestore and applying it to its Kubernetes workloads the company gained the following benefits:
- Shared storage access across the company’s heterogeneous environment, without scale limitations.
- Centralized data management to manage and monitor all data stores.
- Instant replication of Kubernetes clusters with FlexClone®, allowing DevOps to easily spin up and tear down environments. When integrated with Trident, this tool enables persistent volume claims to use a clone, instead of having to provision new storage.
- Reduction of 40 TB footprint by 33% with storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, autoscaling, and zero-capacity cloning.
- Automated DevOps testing and volume creation through unified API controls, reducing time-to-market.
Kubernetes provides an excellent solution for container orchestration across multiple environments and machines. It simplifies application deployment, and automatically scales to meet changing demand. It is also gaining prominence in the cloud, as cloud vendors offer Kubernetes-native services.
Although Kubernetes takes much of the heavy lifting off developers' hands, it does not come with out-of-the-box data management features. As a result, cluster admins must still ensure Kubernetes persistent data is highly available, secure, backed up, etc. These tasks become especially complex in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
Cloud Volumes ONTAP and NetApp Trident help developers overcome these limitations, delivering high availability, data protection, file sharing, cloning, storage efficiency features and data tiering capabilities to Kubernetes workloads.
To find out more about Kubernetes in the cloud and using it in your organization, download our free ebook on Kubernetes here.