How Container-Native Storage is the Solution to Your IT Problems

Chris Knight

Chris KnightIFP Technology Expert

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Container-native storage is on the rise, and has many benefits, including portability and efficiency. How can this new storage format solve your IT problems?

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Get any gathering of IT types together and all they seem to talk about is containers, Docker, Kubernetes and other strange pieces of a services puzzle that can confuse any IT traditionalist. All the jargon and hype aside, container-native storage is taking over, and businesses need to be ready to adopt and adapt.

In 2018, Red Hat announced over 150 customers for its OpenShift Container Platform environments, marking a shift to adopting container-native storage. Red Hat and many other players see their customers moving to container-native storage for their cloud-native applications, in a drive to fully-integrated, developer-friendly storage for containers.

Sure, vendors love to shout about rates of adoption, but there are many logical reasons for businesses to adopt the technology. Container-based data is reliable, safe, and provides persistent sharing of storage to services and projects. As needs change, admins can adjust and add storage clusters quickly and easily. All with no need for internal resources or expensive infrastructure.

If you’re still in the dark, containers started out as cloud-based spaces for virtual applications, processes and microservices. They soon added the ability to use persistent storage, making them incredibly useful to any data-focused business. Containers help get over compatibility issues, are incredibly portable, can access other resources, and remain small and efficient.

Adopt and grow with containers

Adoption and development grew fast to allow businesses to lift-and-shift their on-premise tools to the cloud quickly and efficiently. Some have rebuilt the key parts of monolithic legacy apps in containers to help remove dependence on decades-old services. Which is why this technology has become so popular and is now being used for a wider range of applications.

The benefit to the business and DevOps types is that products can be built faster and launched into production environments quicker, with better compatibility and without the need for greater resources.

What does this mean for your business? Well, there are a growing number of use cases for container services and storage. These range from machine learning models to dynamic data services in medical or banking environments. They help businesses reduce costs and act more efficiently, while reusing containers and the tools and services built on them becomes a simple exercise.

As businesses move away from monolithic data centers or server storage, and move to the edge where your data resides, be it in ATMs, Internet of Things devices, smart city systems or customer retail beacons, it makes more sense for data and services to be nimble and located closer to them.

Perhaps the most practical benefit is the ability to create dynamic provisioning, so as any container becomes successful or requires more data, the storage can be allocated in real-time, something that traditional storage appliances couldn’t cope with.

Developers can add storage provisions directly, without making requests or waiting for authorization. Admins can monitor all this activity with a light touch and minimum action. You can imagine the sighs of relief all around at this benefit alone.

The move to software defined everything

Technology has already offered us software-defined radios to reduce the cost of components in telecommunications gear. Software-defined networks take the hard work out of hardware identification while software-defined storage is helping to evolve the data center and other areas.

The simple message behind software-defined anything is to remove the complexity and make the “anything” easily available to things that need it. Container-based storage is a part of that move, making it easy for applications or processes to access all the storage or data they need, without complex code, access issues and so on.

This gives developers more control, lets them focus on the code and not worry about treading on other application’s toes or violating some arcane storage rights. Software-defined storage will take over from conventional storage within a few years, and then we will all be used to working in this manner, so adopting container-native storage will help in this effort.

Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and a host of other tech names have their own solutions for containers. Check them out and see how they could help benefit your business. Most are based around Docker or similar services, making them easy to adopt across the business, once your company is up to speed on the technology.

As we all move to smart devices, Internets of Things and small but efficient apps that need to function almost anywhere, container-based storage and Docker-like environments will be increasingly common. Getting involved now will move you up the adoption curve faster than those who wait and struggle to adapt in the coming years.

IFP Expert: Chris Knight writes about how new technologies can help business, from AI and chatbots, virtual and augmented reality to the latest in mobile and cloud developments.  

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