Kubernetes is on the rise as the primary method of hosting microservice processes. But, thanks to how Kubernetes handles the data these processes need to function, keeping data safe and available is a headache. Having space and capital to set up on-site storage is a big ask for many businesses.
Rather than going through that hassle, there are cloud-based solutions to keep your data’s uptime as high as possible. There are many other benefits in using cloud storage for your Kubernetes data needs as well.
With cloud storage in your artillery, business owners can kick usability and accessibility, harness the power of automation, and safeguard sensitive data from the hackers.
Should a business owner choose to forgo cloud-native storage, they’ll need to prepare for upcoming Kubernetes-related challenges.
For instance, limited security functions can leave private information exposed to unauthorized access. Additionally, Kubernetes does not receive high scores in the scalability category.
To make a bad situation worse, these Kubernetes-specific obstacles can put undue pressure on an already burnt-out staff, as they’ll need to undergo thorough training to troubleshoot the Kubernetes issues.
Fortunately, with cloud-native storage at their fingertips, business owners can blaze through Kubernetes-exclusive hurdles and come out on top, knocking their competitors off of their pedestals.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an infrastructure system designed to help with development, scaling, and managing applications for those unfamiliar with this container-orchestration system.
Originally, Google developed the process. Now, it is managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Kubernetes has been picked up by big tech companies and small start-ups alike, thanks to the scalability offered by the system.
The system works by creating containers, which act like capsules or vessels for an application and its associated libraries. The containers are made inside VMs, or virtual machines, which serve as virtual versions of a physical environment. These containers deploy across various nodes, which are physical computers located across a network. The containers can then be unpackaged at the new node and used without having intense hardware needs.
Kubernetes is great for creating and accessing databases and application data. The dispersal across nodes means speed and efficiency improvements for users. Administrators also have access to tools that allow for improved service quality and backup policies.
Kubernetes and persistent storage
One of the weaknesses of Kubernetes is that if a container holding application data goes down, that data is lost for good. This weakness stems from the way information Initially read over to the node with the application. Since that data is sent over with the container, losing the container also means losing that data.
A backup for the data can prevent significant losses like this from happening. But, you’d now have two instances of the application to store and maintain, only one of which is used actively.
Also, some applications don’t need altering to function as they need to. Data loss won’t spell disaster for a company in these cases since no data is lost when the container crashes. But, this means that you’d still need a backup in case of a crash to recover the application.
Regardless of what kind of application or user function is being served, it’s bad news when the container is compromised. In the interest of resolving compromised containers, persistent storage arose.
By definition, persistent data is data that exists outside of the container environment. Since sensitive data isn’t lost when the container crashes, it continues to exist or persist beyond its lifespan.
The part played by persistent storage
With the concept of persistent storage in play, three facets can now combine to create an effective Kubernetes ecosystem: containers, data, and a persistent storage solution. All these combine to create an infrastructure that can send applications and data across users without risking security breaches. The removal of local storage as the deciding factor is what removes this risk.
Also, since this data can be kept separate from other containers, the data can benefit from a layer of discretion. Remember, data that doesn’t need to be associated with a particular container never gets assigned to that container. That’s because the data exists outside that ecosystem.
The technical look at the way Kubernetes handles persistent storage is through a mechanism called Kubernetes persistent volumes (PVs). PVs are the storage volumes that work on a cluster of nodes. Containers connected to these nodes can call on the PV when they need data, even beyond their lifespan.
Overall, persistent storage allows for a weakness of the basic Kubernetes system to be overcome. By creating these persistent volumes, data can exist outside the volatility of the container environment. Data outside the containers now can survive without being compromised or risked due to the loss of the container.
The importance of cloud storage with Kubernetes
Persistent storage usually exists as a cloud storage system, which adds another benefit to the overall infrastructure. Cloud storage offers a smoother experience for users, unlike the challenge-infested process of performing tasks on-site. With cloud storage swooping into the rescue, a company server outage doesn’t result in lost data or effort, and many cloud storage systems have near-perfect uptimes. Also, there are overhead costs with keeping a storage solution on-site, something that using a cloud storage service helps mitigate.
Cloud storage on Kubernetes has also resulted in progress with interoperability. Protocols like NFS, iSCSI, and SMB were used before to allow users access to specific files. A cloud-native environment means that you can set permissions to particular users via access permissions rather than through file protections. By doing this, you give users the data they need and nothing more.
Since these files are no longer accessible to everyone on the network at all times, these protocols aren’t as necessary as they were in the past. By reducing reliance on these protocols, the files and data can be used across all different computer types, thus increasing interoperability.
The persistent volume abstraction significance
The PVs that Kubernetes create have come a long way throughout the infrastructure’s lifespan. Persistent volumes allow for an application to connect to various cloud storage systems. Virtualized storage and open-source platforms can combine with this interoperability to create a system that can call for data as needed.
However, this open-source platform doesn’t store that data or understand the nuances of how that data is stored on the system. In other words, it creates discretion and keeps the container from being a vector of attack.
Managing cloud storage for Kubernetes
Despite all these benefits around data interoperability and discretion, that doesn’t erase the need to manage the data. Data management is critical to keeping up with the efficiency and speed of the system. Kubernetes systems are notorious for requiring large amounts of data to function, so there’s also plenty to manage, too.
For example, an administrator could define a set amount of CPU power or RAM for a particular pod. In this case, pods refer to a collection of containers assigned to a user or computer system. As pods make these requests for resources, they can check against these usage restrictions to ensure that the local instance doesn’t crash or hog power.
Pods can also use these resource restrictions to sort themselves across nodes. As the pods call for and use processing power, they can distribute to nodes with lower power draws. This way, resources run at an optimal use level.
Or, you could have these pods work on as few nodes as possible to allow for maintenance and updates to take place on the hardware supporting the inactive nodes. Regardless of your needs, these operation rules are set and changed as needed by the admins.
A cloud storage solution will come with plenty of tools for you to manage your data storage. Competition between cloud storage providers is tight since many of them offer similar things to admins. There are some key things to look out for with cloud management solution, though:
- Scalability of persistent storage
- Fast and reliable response times
- Low CPU requirements
- In-kernel data replication
If you can find a storage solution that works best for you and your team, then stick with it. Preferences matter a lot in the system admin world.
Wrapping it up
There’s a lot to learn in the tech world for entrepreneurs and business owners.
When creating an infrastructure that can be scaled and distributed readily, a Kubernetes system is tough to beat right now. But, storage solutions are tricky to manage for a Kubernetes system without tapping into the benefits of a cloud storage system.
If you can get a cloud storage system that works well for you and your team, then setting up a Kubernetes system for your applications can spare you from back-to-back headaches down the road.
With technical difficulties out of the equation, you can set your development team up for success, optimize IT costs, and improve the customer experience tenfold.
If you have any questions, please comment below.