CFD9: Cloud-Native State of Mind with Portworx

At a tech conference in 2016, Andy Banta (@andybanta) walked around with a tombstone declaring the “The storage admin is dead.” But four years later is this true? Often, it’s a storage admin or IT ops job to present the storage volumes for the containers. While containers may be stateless, applications are not. State needs to be kept somewhere.

At Cloud Field Day 9, we heard from a company that takes a cloud-native approach that makes the storage admin role less relevant. In fact, Portworx’s software-defined storage control plane abstracts away a lot of the inherent complexity of managing storage in containers and also working with heterogeneous storage.

Portworx deploys as a container within a Kubernetes cluster and presents a Software-Defined Storage Control Plane for any storage platform whether on-premises or in the Cloud. Portworx, recently acquired by Pure Storage, was founded with “the sole intent of enabling stateful applications.”

Portworx @ Cloud Field Day 9.

Portworx offers a number of modules that handle storage functionality typically handled by external storage.

PX-Store. SDS; Moves storage mgmt into Kubernetes. Container granular virtual volumes. All storage presented as block. Relies on PX-AutoPilot for intelligence about the storage.

Modules

  • PX-Backup. Can quiesce and define application backup groups.
  • PX-DR. Aims to deliver multi-cloud availability
  • PX-Migrate. Move containers among Portworx clusters.
  • PX-Secure. Encryption, access control, etc.
  • PX-AutoPilot. Determines the environment and how best to use storage.

Modules and features can be enabled from a yaml file.

Wrap-up

Even in a container world, data persistency matters. Often times containers need proprietary CSI drivers specific to the storage arrays or operators bolted on to help container-based applications keep state. In many ways, this keeps container workloads tied to their infrastructure. Portworx, on the other hand, brings the storage management layer into the container world with a level of abstraction that supports infrastructure agnosticism, greater application portability, management ease, and flexibility.

If you interested in learning more about Portworx, the CFD9 videos and other Tech Field Day videos are an amazing resource. If you are the hands-on type and have a Kubernetes cluster and want to give Portworx a try, visit this site.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

View all posts by Becky Elliott →
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