Red Hat Stretches Gluster Clustered Storage Under Containers

Red Hat has been aggressive in building out its capabilities around containers. The company last month unveiled its OpenShift Container Platform 3.6, its enterprise-grade Kubernetes container platform for cloud native applications that added enhanced security features and greater consistency across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

A couple of weeks later, Red Hat and Microsoft expanded their alliance to make it easier for organizations to adopt containers. Red Hat last year debuted OpenShift 3.0, which was based on the open source Kubernetes orchestration system and Docker containers, and the company has since continued to roll out enhancements to the platform.

The moves highlighted the growing role that containers are playing in an increasingly cloud-centric world. Now company officials this week are unveiling Red Hat Container Native Storage 3.6 that supports containerized applications and infrastructure in OpenShift Container Platform clusters. Container Native Storage is based on Red Hat’s Gluster Storage software-defined storage (SDS) platform and integrated with the OpenShift Container Platform. Gluster is a more robust and secure offering designed for hybrid clouds with support for both on-premises and public cloud deployments. Container Native Storage 3.6, which will be available later this month, is designed to server storage out of container environments and enables organizations to eliminate the need for a special storage platform for containers.

The new offering gives customers an integrated container platform that supports hybrid clouds, reduces costs, provides a single control plane and point of support, and a more streamlined user experience, vendor officials said.

“As enterprises deploy containers, many see a need for storage solutions designed specifically for these types of systems,” Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of storage for Red Hat, said in a statement, adding that new capabilities “further strengthen the tight integration of Red Hat Container Native Storage with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.”

Software-defined container native storage enables organizations to merge storage services with container platforms in a manner similar to any other container service, and can run on physical, virtual, public cloud and traditional storage appliances, according to Red Hat. The aim is to make it easier for enterprises to adopt container-based applications, which offer a more streamlined way than virtual machines to deploy and run distributed applications.

During a conference call this week to discuss Red Hat’s quarterly financial earnings, president and CEO Jim Whitehurst was adamant that containers will be the future for application development in an increasingly hybrid-cloud world, and that OpenShift will be a key product for the company going forward.

“Most enterprises are in the early-adoption phase of a container platform,” Whitehurst said on the call. “While we’re certainly seeing enterprises who a key part of their decision criteria is to run across multiple deployment models, including on-premise and across multiple clouds. I know of one or two that are running applications that didn’t span across. Enterprises are starting to do it, but those are enterprises on the bleeding edge. Most are choosing, ‘I’m going to run OpenShift on-premises on OpenStack or I’m going to run it on Amazon.’ Those are the more common pick-one options, but we are seeing enterprises do it and do it successfully. But I think that’s still much more on the bleeding edge.”

Among the new features in Container Native Storage 3.6 is support for file, block and object interfaces, which means that container applications could be ported to the container platform without any necessary changes, officials said. Block storage through iSCSI drives support for distributed databases and similar low-latency workloads, while object storage delivers an embedded object store in the OpenShift Container Platform for cloud native applications that need protocol support as in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). The object storage is under Technology Preview.

It also includes support for all key elements of OpenShift Container Platform, such as registry, logging and metrics, and three times the number applications and microservices that can be deployed on a single storage cluster.

Red Hat is enabling administrators to test OpenShift Container Platform with Container Native Storage through a full multi-node OpenShift container running in the public cloud.

In August, Red Hat added greater security capabilities in OpenShift Container Platform through a product applicability guide for understanding how Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) effects the Red Hat platform, secrets encryption and image signing, and enhancements to NetworkPolicy to enable customers to make services available while controlling who can access an application on the network. Red Hat also made it easier to find and consume services through the Service Broker and Service Catalog, the OpenShift Template Broker, the Ansible Playbook Broker and an integrated install of Container Native Storage.

The expanded partnership between Red Hat and Microsoft brought native support for Windows Server containers on OpenShift, OpenShift Dedicated on Microsoft Azure, and SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linus and OpenShift.

“These additions to the companies’ joint roadmap will focus on simplifying container technologies to help enterprise customers increase their agility, flexibility and choice, while reducing complexity across hybrid cloud footprints,” Whitehurst said during the conference call last month.

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