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Cloud-native storage with OpenEBS

Home in the Clouds

Article from ADMIN 62/2021
Software from the open source OpenEBS project provides a cloud-native storage environment that makes block devices available to individual nodes in the Kubernetes cluster.

In the beginning, running containers in a stateless mode seemed to be the best and simplest approach because it was possible to scale container-based applications by starting additional containers on additional hosts. If you had problems with a container, it could simply be terminated and restarted on another node – or at least that was the theory.

In practice, users unfortunately achieve less with stateless containers than they would like, prompting the Kubernetes container platform in early days to add new features in each release, such as the stateful sets or the storage interface for persistent volumes. Kubernetes also implemented the Container Storage Interface (CSI), which the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) made standard.

In addition to the persistent volume capabilities, numerous storage vendors in the Kubernetes world cater to container clusters. If Kubernetes is running on one of the major cloud platforms, you can typically find an interface to the corresponding storage service, such as GCE Persistent Disk (Google) or AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS; Amazon). Moreover, you have the option to use classic storage protocols, such as NFS, Internet SCSI (iSCSI), and FibreChannel, or modern distributed filesystems such as Ceph or GlusterFS.

Cloud-Native Storage

Another group of storage solutions tries to get to the root of the problem with technologies developed from scratch that understand how to deal with the specifics of a container landscape. Examples of these cloud-native storage approaches include Rook [1], Portworx, StorageOS, and OpenEBS [2], which I take a closer look at in this article.

OpenEBS is an open source product from MayaData, who also provides corresponding offerings with support for enterprise customers. Company founder Evan Powell coined

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