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Container-Native Software Defined Storage (SDS) from LINBIT

Container-native technologies represent the next wave of efficiency for data centers. Just like previous waves, a new technology points to new levels of efficiency and delivers some of it, but as you get deeper into it, you see opportunities to optimize how it works. And after a while longer, you see it. You see how the whole thing could have been done in a “native” way to get the most out of it. This is pretty typical. Technology often hits its mark only after the first few revisions. When it comes to containers, we are now getting to that stage across the industry. “Container-native xyz” is now possible and can bring maturity and speed.

At LINBIT, we have seen the needs of the DRBD community evolve over time. Starting with data replication in clusters, customers welcomed an open source alternative to proprietary paths towards high availability (HA): always-on applications and always-available data. That model was later expanded to provide geo-clustering: geographically distributed resources that provide LINBIT DR.

Market feedback: Need for flexible storage management

HA and DR are environments that, by necessity, pay special attention to data and storage. They provide a front-row seat to how data management and storage management technologies are changing. We saw early on that LINBIT users have growing needs for flexible provisioning, configuration management, and cluster management, without sacrificing data availability and application up-time. LINBIT’s entry into the SDS world was natural and motivated by addressing that need: flexible storage management with built-in HA and DR.

LINBIT SDS provisions, replicates, and manages data storage independent of hardware, enabling the use of commodity hardware in addition to open source software, an important objective for many data centers. Today, LINBIT SDS is a successful player in the SDS market. Additionally, LINBIT is an enthusiastic member of the open source OpenSDS Project, making it easier and more cost-effective for the millions of DRBD users to implement SDS solutions.

Putting all of that in the context of container technologies, it became clear a couple of years ago that a container-native implementation of LINBIT SDS would be an emerging need. That led to the announcement we made recently focused on a major addition to the LINBIT product suite: LINSTOR, which adds support for Kubernetes and OpenShift environments.

Reduced costs for cluster storage

LINSTOR fills a significant gap in the market by providing container-native block storage, which as you may know, is especially important for enterprise/database applications. LINSTOR can also provide data persistence for elastic applications, which dynamically create or remove containers depending on the load.

With LINSTOR, enterprise and database applications can benefit from container technologies while preserving data even when a container is eliminated. This can reduce the cost and complexity of deploying scale-out cluster storage.

Just as virtualization changed how storage can be configured and managed, container technologies demand a new approach. LINBIT SDS and LINSTOR provide that.

By simplifying storage cluster configuration and ongoing management, then plugging into cloud and container front-ends, users get the resilient infrastructure they need while retaining flexibility to choose vendors. For example, using a pool of Linux storage, system administrators can set the number of nodes, the number and size of storage volumes, and number of replicas. LINSTOR does the rest and builds the environment, eliminating the complex and error-prone process of manually setting up cluster configuration files for each individual server.

As always, we’d love to hear from you if you are using or are interested in using LINSTOR and LINBIT SDS. We are proud that LINBIT users scale from small shops to  large enterprises; to universities and government agencies . We’re committed to delivering always-on/always-available/always-efficient technologies.

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