Accelerate Your Containers Journey with Commvault® Software, Metallic BaaS, and Distributed Storage

Commvault simplifies the development and delivery of new containers and stateful applications by extending our advanced storage capabilities to Kubernetes (K8s) using the Container Storage Interface (CSI).

Containers. Here to stay.

There is no doubt that containers have become the orchestrator of choice for application modernization and digital transformation initiatives. Containers are lightweight, faster and more programmable than virtual machines, and can be quickly created/deleted using automation to accelerate application development. Despite these advantages, data and infrastructure challenges persist specifically around storage provisioning, protection and container workload migration across multi-cloud and on-premises locations.


By 2025, more than 85% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 35% in 20191.


Challenges

Containers were initially designed to be stateless, meaning data was not stored (or persistent) in the container after it was shut down, deleted, or unexpectedly stopped working. Stateless containers allow for applications to be quickly scaled for their specific task. This enabled DevOps teams to design and build web-scale applications that could adapt at the speed of cloud growth.

Once DevOps engineers had the ability to create their own containers, the migration of stateful applications into containers began, and so did the protection problem. Stateful applications in K8s require proper storage and data management throughout the entire application lifecycle. And while containers are multi-cloud by nature, data is not making it challenging for the IT and DevOps teams to manage the infrastructure and data together in a cohesive manner. Therefore, businesses need a way to easily migrate/replicate and protect data in their container ecosystem to recover container-based applications across their environment.

The question becomes, how do you enable simple self-service storage management of persistent storage for your DevOps teams while still protecting all data types (not just K8s) as you consider migrating to a container environment?

Seamless integration with Kubernetes

Kubernetes has emerged as the de-facto standard for container orchestration, providing persistent storage capabilities for workloads across multi-cloud and on-premises environments. The Container Storage Interface (CSI) standardizes persistent volume workflows across different K8s platforms to accelerate your application modernization efforts. Using CSI, organizations can develop applications with stateful storage access that allows users to leverage their existing container workflows, accelerating container adoption in the application modernization journey.

Commvault backup software, Metallic BaaS, and Hedvig software-defined distributed storage all integrate natively with K8s via CSI. The comprehensive support across traditional enterprise workloads and storage infrastructures enables you to store, protect, replicate, and migrate persistent data and containers across on-premises and cloud environments.

For Commvault backup software, containers are simply another workload to protect. Commvault was an early adopter of CSI, enabling the application-consistent protection of not only persistent K8s data, but also the other data in the application landscape, such as source code, CI/CD systems, and image registry data. Being able to protect ALL the data in your application landscape is a key differentiator for Commvault.

With Metallic VM & Kubernetes Backup, protection for containers via a SaaS-delivered model provides flexibility, scalability and the same comprehensive protection including K8s apps and persistent volumes for all CNCF-certified K8s distributions. Protection is integrated with your developer workflows by auto-discovering and protecting applications by namespace and label selector. Granularity to backup and recover YAML manifests for entire volumes means you have the flexibility to recover on your terms – all delivered without any infrastructure as a BaaS solution.

Software-defined distributed storage

With Hedvig, Commvault provides software-defined distributed storage to help in building your next generation web-scale hybrid data center. This storage is programmable using native K8s commands via CSI.

Not all CSI development for storage is created equal, however. Hedvig extends all our enterprise capabilities through our CSI integration allowing developers to self-manage persistent volumes using their existing container workflows. Through CSI programmable objects, users can specify the attributes of their required storage resources, such as size and location, through defined policies or ad-hoc needs.

A single Hedvig cluster can support multiple groups within an organization, with programmable tenant support, access control and through the distributed way the storage platform extends across locations and K8s platforms. Each group has dedicated storage allocated to it that can be managed independently.

Snapshots and clones

Hedvig provides built-in space-efficient, metadata-based, zero copy snapshots to protect containerized data. These snapshots capture a storage volume at a given point-in-time, enabling fast recovery to the last known good state in the event of a ransomware attack or human error. Given the distributed nature of the architecture, snapshots are simple, fast and inexpensive since there is no copying of the data.

The CSI extension enables both on demand and scheduled snapshots of stateful containerized applications. You can automate snapshots by creating a snapshot schedule for persistent volumes using the built-in scheduler of the CSI driver. Simply define your snapshot SLAs based on your compliance and application continuous delivery needs.

K8s and the CSI spec do not provide a native type for creating snapshot schedules. This is an advanced and differentiated capability enabled by the Hedvig CSI that is implemented as a Custom Resource Definition (CRD) within K8s.

Fast, intelligent data migration and replication

K8s cluster sprawl is real. For security and ease of development practice, it is common to see data distributed among different Hedvig clusters. For example, Dev and Test may have separate K8s clusters, but need to be able to migrate data back and forth between the groups to work efficiently and accelerate the application development process.

Hedvig enables rapid and intelligent data migration (i.e., replication) via change block tracking (CBT) that leverages kernel to kernel copies for faster data transfer between Hedvig clusters. This smart data migration is orchestrated through snapshots as a CRD where Hedvig identifies changed blocks at the source and streams them to the target once a migration job is initiated. When the migration or replication is complete, the replicated volumes contain the most recent point-in-time snapshot from the source. Applications can now consume this migrated data as clones, or as migrated volumes on the target.

The combination of snapshot and replication capabilities ensures your stateful applications are protected and can be recovered regardless of where they live. More important, all these capabilities (snapshots, clones, replication) are native programmable objects as part of the CSI, enabling the seamless integration into existing workflows.

Summary

By adopting a powerful solution for Kubernetes, enterprises can now enjoy reduced cost, increased agility, and empower DevOps teams who can harness this solution to innovate with the peace of mind their data is protected.

Commvault, Metallic, and the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform can help enterprises modernize their business services with cloud-native technology that adapts to the speed and scale your customers expect. Commvault’s open API integration with K8s and CSI allows enterprises to deploy applications anywhere while simultaneously protecting, migrating, and recovering their containerized workloads.

Reference

1 CTO’s Guide to Containers and Kubernetes — Answering the Top 10 FAQs, Published 27 July 2020 – ID G00726

Containers and microservices

Fifty-eight percent of organizations reported it took weeks to provision or acquire storage capacity for existing systems, according to Forrester Research. Your company deserves better.