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Red Hat to throw its hat in with Container Storage Interface

Software maker will add Container Storage Interface support to its existing OpenShift Container Platform and GlusterFS-based scale-out file system container storage

Red Hat will add support for the Container Storage Interface to its existing OpenShift container platform and storage products next year, according to Red Hat executives who spoke to Computer Weekly last week.

Core to OpenShift Container Storage is Red Hat’s GlusterFS, which is the firm’s scale-out file system that can also provide object and (iSCSI) block storage interfaces. Management of Gluster for containers comes via the platform’s Heketi APIs.

Red Hat said its approach offers advantages for customers that want to use containers and need to provision storage for them. Key here are the claimed benefits of being able to provision file, object and block storage, but chiefly file, and the hybrid cloud nature of the Red Hat platform.

Gerald Sternagl, storage business unit manager for Europe, the Middle East and Asia at Red Hat, said: “If customers want to do something with containers, then, in the long term, the path is from on-premise deployments to hybrid cloud.

“You can’t achieve this with a hardware agenda. Look at NetApp. Its Trident storage orchestrator is the only one it supports and storage can only be NetApp storage.”

Sternagl said Red Hat also plans to support the Container Storage Interface (CSI) from next year.

CSI aims to unify the storage interface of container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm and provide access to all of them for storage suppliers’ products. Dell EMC also supports the CSI with its REX-Ray platform.

Computer Weekly recently surveyed the big five storage array makers as well as the hyper-converged and software-defined storage suppliers to find out how they can help when it comes to storage for containers.

Read more on containers and storage

Approaches to container storage generally take two approaches. These are Docker plugins that allow that supplier’s storage product to be provisioned as capacity for containers, and/or platforms that provide container storage management functionality that connect to the key container management platforms, such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes or Mesosphere Marathon.

Red Hat provides OpenShift Container Storage, which integrates with its OpenShift Container Platform. That is Red Hat’s “enterprise-ready” Kubernetes distribution.

Unlike server virtualisation, containers do not need guest operating systems and a hypervisor. They run from the Docker engine on top of the server operating system (OS), with calls to resources made from the container and shared from the environment in which they run.

Containers were designed for stateless storage that disappeared when the container was run down, but persistent storage is now seen as vital for enterprise use cases.

Read more on Virtualisation software

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