Hybrid cloud storage

Containers. Persistent storage. IBM.

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Containers are a hot topic — and IBM is listening. IBM is rolling out persistent storage solutions to make containers easier to implement and more resilient.

Why use containers?

Containers are an open source technology that lets an application be packaged with everything it needs to run the same in any environment. They offer the versatility of virtual machines — but at a much smaller footprint and cost. This makes containers a superb vehicle for getting applications to private or public clouds, and for lending greater agility to DevOps.

Enterprises are starting to use containers in a big way: adoption of Docker, a major container technology, increased by 40 percent in 2016. Use cases include new cloud-native workloads and delivery of traditional workloads as microservices. They involve use of diverse applications like Mongo, Elasticsearch, Redis, PostgreSQL and MySQL.

Stateless, then stateful applications

At first, containers were designated for stateless (data not retained) applications. Adoption took off. Then, demand fast emerged for stateful support so containers could benefit even more of an organization’s workloads.

In stateful support, the data “persists” (stays intact) even after the container is stopped or removed. However, ensuring persistent container storage is not a trivial undertaking. According to Gartner, “Persisting data with high availability and data protection is one of the biggest barriers for container adoption in the enterprise for production workloads.” To overcome that barrier, the storage solutions for applications used in containers need to be resilient, highly available and stable, with advanced capabilities like native mirroring, compression, deduplication and snapshots. For optimal operational agility, these solutions should allow concurrent container use by multiple storage systems.

IBM storage solutions for containers

The right storage solution should give you the same confidence in using containers as in traditional environments.

In the latest news, the pre-release project Ubiquity, the IBM open source project that enables persistent storage for Docker and Kubernetes — which initially covered IBM Spectrum Scale only — now enables block storage as well. Now, clients can test the pre-release project using their IBM Spectrum Virtualize and IBM Spectrum Accelerate based systems as the storage back end for stateful containers.

screenshot Ubiquity

Project Ubiquity use case: Create volume, spin containers up-down-up while storage persists!

“We are excited to provide a unified, persistent IBM storage solution for Docker and Kubernetes,” said Shay Berman, who leads the IBM global team that is developing the container integration. “Our clients are showing strong interest, and we are working with them every step of the way to meet their requirements.”

Samuel Krikler, Senior Manager, Cloud Storage Solutions Worldwide Development, IBM Systems, added, “We are committed to delivering certified, high quality, easy-to-use storage solutions for container environments, to enable our clients on their journey to the cloud.”

Other IBM container solutions

IBM is addressing changing client needs with other container offerings; here’s just a sampling:

  • IBM Bluemix Container Service, a fully-managed service, now with Kubernetes, for deploying containers on cloud. Read the blog post to learn more.
  • IBM Cloud private (previously IBM Spectrum Conductor for Containers), a Kubernetes based platform for running container workloads on premises. Read the blog post to learn more.
  • dashDB Local, an IBM analytics solution that is a configured, scalable data warehouse for private clouds supporting Docker.
  • Planned support for Docker Enterprise Edition across IBM Z, LinuxONE and Power Systems, an enabler of faster development of core applications without compromise.

With our evolving efforts, now including storage, IBM is proud to be at the forefront of the container era. Stay tuned for more!

Learn about the IBM storage for containers project:

  • Download the pre-release project Ubiquity.
  • Connect with the IBM Cloud Storage Solutions community.

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