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The application development landscape has evolved over the last decade. It’s now possible to offer a way to reduce development and deployment times and gain increased workload portability through the use of container-based platforms. At the same time, enterprises are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on the proprietary services offered by public clouds, and instead rely on democratized approaches that can be deployed and managed similarly across multiple clouds.

Enterprises are realizing the importance of defining a hybrid cloud strategy that addresses the concerns of their users, application developers, and business stakeholders. And one primary yet overlooked piece of the puzzle is data: What do you do with your application persistent data? How are you processing the application data? How do you ensure the application is still available when the ephemeral container has been destroyed?

Platform Independence through Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage

For more and more enterprises, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is the answer to the lock-in associated with the dependence on managed services provided by public cloud providers. The platform independence gained through the adoption of OCP is achieved by standardizing on a trusted, industry-leading application development environment based on Kubernetes. Some of the benefits of OpenShift include:

  • Rich CI/CD and DevOps tooling for faster application delivery - for both cloud-native applications and applications that need to be refactored for a container-based environment.

  • An anti lock-in abstraction layer between cloud boundaries to limit single public cloud vendor lock-in.

  • A consistent storage and data consumption and management experience decoupled from the cloud. Also, a better performing and richer experience for certain workloads such as MySQL using StatefulSets.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform also offers a consistent storage experience across multiple public or public and private cloud environments with Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage. This consistent storage experience is a fundamental building block required for deploying stateful applications that can be used in place of cloud-specific managed storage and data services. The containerized platform, itself, becomes more useful with these stateful services:

  • Logs to track, verify and diagnose the state of your applications

  • System and application telemetry using Prometheus or other tools,

  • An application registry - such as Red Hat Quay - providing a more secure way to store, distribute, and deploy containers

  • Backup of the container platform and associated infrastructure services, as well as application data

  • High Availability in the event of the loss of an Availability Zone

Despite the perception that containers are all about stateless applications, enterprises are rapidly moving stateful applications from virtual machines to containers. Even in environments with exclusively stateless applications, there are a number of OpenShift constructs that require persistent storage.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage is integrated into Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to address exactly these application portability and persistence challenges. It provides a trusted, enterprise-grade application development environment that simplifies and enhances the user experience across the application lifecycle in a number of ways:

  • Scale applications and data exponentially.

  • Attach and detach persistent data volumes at an accelerated rate.

  • Stretch clusters across multiple data-centers or availability zones.

  • Establish a comprehensive application container registry.

  • Support the next generation of OpenShift workloads such as Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and IoT.

  • Dynamically provision not only application containers, but data service volumes and containers, as well as additional OCP nodes, EBS volumes and other infrastructure services.

  • Build more agile application architectures that are less reliant on managed data services and instead use operators and stateful data services that are easier to move between private infrastructure and the public cloud.

In order to support all of the features discussed above, automation is critical. Recognizing this, Red Hat has been supporting the development of Operators, including the Operator to provide a managed data service for provisioning data across multiple cloud platforms. The Operator can provide storage orchestration behind the scenes to deploy, package, manage, and scale containerized storage with increased automation and ease of use in the OpenShift platform.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage not only enables the key points above, it also provides a highly scalable backend for the next generation of cloud-native applications. Moreover, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage is integrated into the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform management interface, making the storage resources visible to the developers, and providing data services which are easy to consume by the applications.

Come see us in person this month to learn more about how Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage enables application development teams to rapidly develop, test and scale stateful applications by dynamically provisioning persistent volumes for a wide variety of workload categories -- and catch a glimpse of future technology:

About the author

Karena Angell is OpenShift Product Manager, Cloud Paks.

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