The reference configuration, which refreshingly lacks a catchy name or acronym, combines HPE’s Synergy composable system as the basis for running Portworx’s PX-Enterprise storage platform using Kubernetes as the container orchestrator and scheduler.
Portworx CEO Murli Thirumale explained that Synergy automates the hardware provisioning, while Kubernetes and the Portworx platform automate the application lifecycle management. The combo allows organizations to deploy native container storage on bare metal in 30 minutes using DevOps tools such as Red Hat’s Ansible.
HPE launched Synergy in late 2015, touting the product as a “composable infrastructure” in contrast to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms. Composable infrastructure combines compute, storage, and networking into a pool of fluid resources that an application can grab as necessary to meet its specific needs. HPE’s infrastructure management software automates, provisions, and configures resources according to application needs.
PX-Enterprise is the enterprise version of Portworx’s container storage platform. The enterprise version was launched in mid-2016. Portworx targets customers running stateful applications – like databases – in containers. It offers the ability to spin up storage controllers in container form to match the speed of container-based application creation. The product is an alternative to storage-area networking (SAN) and allows users to take advantage of storage in an ad hoc manner.
The Kubernetes community adopted support for stateful storage with its 1.3 iteration in mid-2016. The most recent 1.9 update continued ongoing enhancements for both stateless and stateful deployments.
Stateful Vs. Stateless
Containers were initially viewed as a perfect match for stateless applications that did not require stored data to operate or support a running application. These were typically web services that acted as a go-between for any storage needs. Any actual storage within a stateless container was ephemeral, and thus a restart flushed out stored data.
However, as container use cases have evolved, stateful models have matured. These allow containers to maintain stored data even if a container is restarted and can support more developed applications. This model has become critical for enterprises that are running more advanced applications within containers.
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