November 11, 2019 By Anish Sharma
Rebecca Andrews
4 min read

To stay competitive, organizations that rely on applications to process data for different business functions must contend with a number of important trends and requirements.

First, as organizations grow, their applications must scale to match or exceed that growth rate. While traditional applications are often effective, the monolithic architecture that underlies them doesn’t always scale easily as needs change. To test and deploy such applications, developers need a stable, fully patched environment with a complete operating system, which can be cumbersome to maintain, especially when the organization requires many instances of these environments.

Second, the amount of unstructured data (such as images and videos) that modern applications typically process is growing, with some estimating that 80% of all data will be unstructured data by 2025. One example of such a modern application is an IoT application that collects data from sensors on a factory floor or in a medical environment and then performs categorization and other analysis tasks on the data.

Third, organizations increasingly need to comply with regulatory and industry guidelines for data privacy, security, and retention management. Typically, traditional storage solutions do not natively have the rich feature sets necessary for such compliance and lack the ability to automatically spread data across locations for disaster recovery without additional effort or I/O cycles that can degrade performance.

What does this mean for application development?

In response to the first two conditions, a new approach has emerged that allows organizations to add resources and update applications more quickly than was possible in traditional, monolithic application environments. Cloud native applications run in containers organized into clusters of discrete microservices rather than as a single, monolithic application.

Using containers gives companies great flexibility. They can distribute applications on compute nodes across different locations, reuse components, improve security by isolating processes, quickly and selectively burst application components, and speed deployment and patching—all of which help organizations quickly and easily scale the infrastructure resources up or down as needed.

When it comes to the third set of data requirements that organizations face, however, cloud native applications in containers have come up short because they have lacked a way to store, manage, and analyze data over the long term via persistent data.

Why is persistent storage important?

By design, data that a containerized application processes disappears when the container shuts down, unless the application stores that data on a persistent volume. This poses a challenge for data that companies must retain for compliance with legal, security, or auditing policies.

In addition, companies frequently need to access and share persistent data across app instances or separate applications and sometimes with clients or business partners in different organizations.

With the explosion of data growth of all types—especially images, videos, texts, and documents—companies also face challenges around managing the scale of unstructured data while remaining cost-efficient.

Why use IBM Cloud Object Storage for persistent storage?

For organizations that need persistent storage for containerized applications, IBM Cloud Object Storage provides a rich set of features to support a variety of data management needs. Whether you need to share data between application services and functions, meet compliance requirements, or share data with end-users, IBM Cloud Object Storage provides low-cost, persistent, highly available storage that is well suited for storing all types of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, such as images, videos, text, and more. It supports storage service classes, persistent data volumes, and Kubernetes and API integration.

By storing your persistent data on IBM Cloud Object Storage, you can take advantage of IBM’s advanced data governance and policy management functions. These include setting retention and expiration periods on your data and controlling access to this data. You can be confident that your persistent data complies with all appropriate industry, government, and ISO standards for data privacy. Furthermore, IBM Cloud Object Storage maintains the security of your persistent data by encrypting it while in transit and at rest.

When you place your persistent data in the cloud, you want it to be available at any time and from any location where your apps run. IBM Cloud Object Storage lets you distribute data across multiple data centers and locations to maintain varying levels of data availability and resiliency, based on your business use case.

IBM Cloud Object Storage supports a variety of environments, including containers and Kubernetes. Using the Kubernetes Flex-Volume plug-in that connects IBM Cloud Object Storage buckets to pods in your cluster, you can store persistent data from your containerized apps and get all the benefits of IBM Cloud Object Storage.

Why Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud?

Kubernetes is an open source platform that automates Linux cluster operations and manages containers. It eliminates many of the manual processes required to deploy and scale containerized applications. With Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud, you can create IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service clusters with worker nodes that come installed with the Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud Container Platform orchestration software. You get all the advantages of managed IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service for your cluster infrastructure environment, while using the OpenShift tooling and catalog that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for your app deployments.

For apps running in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform that require persistent storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage is a perfect candidate, providing durability, resiliency, performance, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Learn how to quickly get started using Red Hat OpenShift with IBM Cloud Object Storage.

Sign up for IBM Cloud Object Storage.

If you have questions, engage our team via Slack by registering here and join the discussion in the #general channel on our public IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service Slack.

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