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How to use software-defined persistent storage for containers


In environments where agility is increasingly important to the business, resolving the competing demands of development and operations has never been more important. Developers need speed, choice, and an isolated sandbox where they can run and test applications. At the same time, operations requires stability to deliver reliable production environments. Linux® container technology is now offering an opportunity to bridge the DevOps divide.

Containers are revolutionizing the ways that organizations develop, test, and deploy applications —with the potential to impact almost every process and person within the datacenter. Container technology will also affect how organizations think about storage for applications and emerging microservices. However, while containers do a great job of encapsulating application logic, they do not offer a viable solution for storing application data across the life cycle of the container.

Ephemeral (or local) storage is not enough — stateful container-based applications require that data remain available beyond the life of the container. Moreover, application requirements are often not served by narrowly focused cloud storage application programming interfaces (APIs) — forcing potentially inappropriate semantics onto applications.

With its inherent hardware independence, software-defined storage is specially designed to address these challenges. Software-defined, scale-out storage is uniquely capable of being managed under a single control plane — a key value of containers and something that’s challenging with traditional storage technology. Red Hat® Storage is an integral part of Red Hat’s comprehensive container technology stack, addressing persistent container storage by streamlining the interaction of administrators and developers.


Containers require less overhead than virtualized environments and instantiate quickly, offering better isolation and easier scalability. However, while runtime containers are intended to be disposable, their data is definitely not. Despite their lightweight nature, containers still require reliable and available storage so that data is persistent in the event of failed containers, failed disks, or crashed servers.

Red Hat has built a rich storage ecosystem for containers, bringing stability, security, and simplicity to this critical area. Rather than expecting organizations to cobble together container environments —or hire significant container expertise—Red Hat’s full technology stack approach (see Figure 1) provides an end-to-end containerized ecosystem. From the developer perspective, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform offers services and an optimal storage solution with Red Hat container-native storage built on Red Hat Gluster Storage. Containerized applications get access to the highly available persistent block, file, or object storage that they need without compromise.

image container Figure 1. Red Hat provides end-to-end support for a containerized ecosystem.

With this comprehensive approach, Red Hat makes container adoption as easy and seamless as possible. Red Hat’s vision is to become the de facto platform for containers. To this end, Red Hat is part of the Open Container Initiative — a lightweight, open governance structure (under the Linux Foundation) dedicated to creating open industry standards for container formats and runtime environments.


Container technology stands to truly revolutionize DevOps, but only if it remains open, standardized, secure, and simple to deploy. Red Hat’s open, stack-based approach helps deliver on the promise of portable containerized applications by offering proven enterprise-grade storage options. Developers get their choice of flexible, persistent storage to support the specific needs of their application. Operations can rapidly deploy applications and their storage resources together with a unified control plane.

Red Hat strives to offer better containerized and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environments than any other vendor — with key container support in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat Storage. Red Hat is also striving to go beyond what other storage vendors are doing by working toward containerization of the storage platform itself. Uniquely, all of this technology is developed and tested together at Red Hat, helping to ensure that software components work together. Using Red Hat technology, organizations can save valuable time and effort as they begin to deploy containerized applications and streamline a softwaredefined, scale-out storage infrastructure.