How The Symbiotic Relationship Between Persistent Storage And Containers Can Benefit Developers - InformationWeek

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6/9/2016
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Irshad Raihan
Irshad Raihan
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How The Symbiotic Relationship Between Persistent Storage And Containers Can Benefit Developers

You wouldn't drive a car without wheels. Why would you run stateful apps in containers without persistent storage?

Containers package application code along with all of the libraries and other resources they require to run. This removes most requirements from the host system, making it far easier to move the container from place to place, from host to host, as necessary. Think of shipping containers loaded in the warehouse rather than the dock, each specially packaged for the contents -- from Waterford crystal to lawn mowers -- and yet shipped in standardized containers that can be loaded onto a truck, ship, or perhaps even a plane.

In other words, containers are transient and ephemeral by design. This design feature, however, makes it difficult to use classic storage appliances, which are easily accessible to one host but often not to others.

What containers need is persistent storage that can always be accessed no matter where the container is being hosted.

Persistent Storage

The classic definition of persistent storage has been the equivalent of “non-volatile memory,” memory that does not lose its data when the power is turned off.

The new definition of persistent storage is providing access to data even when the container has moved to another host. For microservices-based applications to deliver their promise of “Application Deployment as a Service” with far greater resilience and speed, a persistent storage layer is critical.

Applications are often developed cloistered in an ideal, though closed, environment. The push for greater DevOps integration puts much more pressure on developers to make apps work in the real world as opposed to just on their own laptops. Containers become the ideal way to do that. Being able to provide storage for containers that’s persistent across the development environment and then the production platforms is a step ahead for the entire DevOps process. If you’re a developer using the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, it’s just a few clicks to integrate provision and manage storage. Contrast this with the old days when you had to deal with convoluted processes and irritable storage admins to carve out storage for your apps.

Begin At The Beginning

Developers and operators must start thinking about persistent storage for their container-based microservices from day zero. The process will be far more laborious and difficult when they try to add this layer later in the development process.

Fortunately, Red Hat does it all for you. Red Hat Gluster Storage provides a fully integrated stack backed by a single point of support, and a software-defined storage platform that can be sliced to the point where it’s sitting inside your containers. Then storage can be served out just as you would any other application.

The dream of any DevOps team is to have everything managed the same way, and this is the classic Infrastructure-as-a-Service promise. That’s why containers and storage are so symbiotic. You need storage for containers, and containers help storage become much more flexible and much more scalable, achieving the dream of Storage as a Service that developers have been asking for.

Come see us at Red Hat Summit in San Francisco the last week of June. Speak to experts one-on-one and experience the future of storage for yourself. Use the promo code INTHEKNOW to receive a 30% discount off a full pass covering three days of sessions, keynotes, and networking with your peers in the industry. 

Irshad Raihan is a product marketing manager at Red Hat Storage. Previously, he held senior product marketing and product management positions at HP and IBM. He is based in Northern California and can be reached on Twitter @irshadraihan. View Full Bio
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