How-tos

How to Use IBM Block Storage for Bluemix with IBM Virtual Servers

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What’s better than an IBM Virtual Server? An IBM Virtual Server with IBM Block Storage attached to it! Here’s why: Our persistent Block Storage beta service for Bluemix gives VS users higher availability and increased flexibility to manage on-demand storage for high-performing, low-latency applications.

With Block Storage, your data persists beyond the lifecycle of your Virtual Servers. For example, if one VS instance stops or is deleted as part of a planned or unplanned outage, the data stored in your volume will be retained for later use. Leveraging Block Storage for Bluemix, VS users can easily manage their volume lifecycles by attaching volumes to IBM Virtual Servers.

Harnessing the interoperability of OpenStack-powered IBM Block Storage and IBM Virtual Servers, you can experience increased flexibility and agility. Thus, managing volumes is simple whether you use the Dashboard UI or access them programmatically via OpenStack Cinder APIs. In this post, I will explain how to get started using our new UI.

Add the Virtual Servers Runtime

In addition to provisioning your Block Storage instance, you will need to add the IBM Virtual Servers runtime from the Bluemix catalog. Using the Virtual Servers runtime, you can choose to create and deploy stand-alone Virtual Servers or scalable VS groups, on-demand. A block storage volume can be attached to a VS whether it’s stand-alone or in a VS group.

Create a Volume

Once you’ve deployed a Virtual Server in Bluemix, it has a fixed size, or “flavor.” This means you can’t persist additional application data in your VS as your capacity grows. You can, however, add and attach Block Storage volumes to your Virtual Servers to increase their capacity and persist data along the lifecycle of your VS.

To add a volume and attach it to your Virtual Server, go to your Block Storage instance. If you have not already created your instance, see Getting Started with IBM Block Storage for Bluemix.

Select “Create Volume” from the “Actions” dropdown in the UI, and specify a volume size. You can create as many volumes as you need, and your volume size can scale-out later on. Once you’ve created at least one volume, you’re ready to attach it to a Virtual Server.

Attach a Volume

Attaching a volume to your Virtual Server will enable the VS to persist data from that volume. Using the Dashboard UI, this can be done in three clicks: simply select the volume you would like to attach, select the VS you would like to attach it to, then click “Attach.” Once you’ve attached your block volumes to your Virtual Servers, you’ll be ready to run transaction-intensive workloads, such as databases running high-performing services.

Persistent, On-Demand Storage

In the event that one of your Virtual Servers does go down, detaching and re-attaching block volumes to another VS is simple to manage. Whether you use the UI Dashboard or the OSC Client, you can rest assured that your data remains safe during a VS planned or unplanned outage.

In addition to the features I’ve highlighted in this post, Bluemix Block Storage users can efficiently scale and expand their volume sizes as their capacity requirements grow, and manage business continuity with snapshot replication. For more information on using IBM Block Storage for Bluemix with IBM Virtual Servers, check out our docs page – and let us know what you think of this new service!

Offering Management, IBM Cloud network

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