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It’s no secret the impact that containers are having on the enterprise. In fact, the global application container market is expected to reach 8.2 billion USD by 2025. Wrangling all those containers requires an orchestration layer and leading the charge, of course, is Kubernetes.

Assuming you are part of a growing group of enterprises looking to start or expand your Kubernetes deployment, what are your options from a technology perspective? The IT vendors you speak with may tout that their solutions are purpose-built for Kubernetes, but if you look under to covers you might find otherwise. Also, like most enterprises you are likely not only running Kubernetes alone, but virtualized workloads as well. So a solution that is purpose built for a single application platform won’t exactly simplify your life. What you need to ask yourself is what are some of my key Kubernetes challenges and how can the right technology help address them without adding a layer of complexity to my environment and support my existing workloads?

Kubernetes: Recognizing the Challenges

According to a D2iQ study, 37% of organizations deploying Kubernetes have difficulty scaling up effectively and 37% lack the IT resources to do so. The same study mentions that a whopping 78% of developers feel that Kubernetes add-ons introduce a significant amount of complexity to their organization. Because Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform, a Kubernetes administrator must have a deep understanding of the container piece as a foundational skill. What makes this even more tricky is that in traditional data centers, application administrators usually must request a slice of the IT pie to setup their deployment, and this can take some time.

Taking these challenges into consideration, we put together the following pro tips that we would recommend to help you simplify your Kubernetes application delivery day 1 and long into the future.

Pro Tip 1: Look for a self-service provisioning model which empowers your application owners

The fastest setup to delivery requires empowering your application owners to provision storage resources so the Kubernetes (or virtualization, Linux, etc.) admin can get out of the way.

Through a combination of an API-first approach to storage and a first-class container storage interface (CSI) driver, control of every single aspect of your data storage system is done through a native API that works reliably at scale.

We took this into account when developing the Kubernetes CSI Driver for Cloud-Defined Storage which does all of the dirty work for Kubernetes admins when it comes to provisioning storage. It puts your application owners in the driver’s seat so every data storage related request is fully automated.

The CSI driver works with standard servers that you simply source with Nebulon ON or cloud-controlled SPUs, which is faster than buying an enterprise storage array. Also, our CSI driver’s lightweight integration into native K8s tools allow the application owner to provision their own storage.

Pro Tip 2: Choose a technology which enables simplified on-going maintenance

If you’re a Kubernetes shop, you’re responsible for doing everything on your own, including end-to-end operations. This can get extremely complicated, especially when it comes to storage.

From a storage lens, picking the right technology allows Kubernetes admins to be relieved of the burden of dealing with the storage subsystems that are tedious to manage and require specialized expertise to maintain. With Cloud-Defined Storage, true maintenance—including monitoring, issue resolution, performance and capacity optimizations—is done in our cloud, Nebulon ON. The cloud monitors the storage layer, recognizes issues, helps resolve them, and by the power of AI can prevent them (AIOps). It also helps avoid management operations that could get a customer into a pickle.

Nebulon ON also vastly simplifies maintaining and upgrading the storage subsystem. Upgrading the storage system and hard drive firmware are both “one click upgrades” with Nebulon ON, which also provides easy to consume summaries of capacity and performance metrics for all your systems in one view.

Pro Tip 3: Pick a solution that is as flexible as the needs of your data center and can be easily accommodated for other data center applications

You are likely going to find yourself in a situation where you need to switch the workloads you are running. In traditional solutions this can be a nightmare. Some solutions may not even be optimal for more than one workload.

With Nebulon Cloud-Defined Storage (CDS), all the guesswork is taken out of provisioning storage (and server) resources to a variety of apps with a catalog of preconfigured application templates. Aside from built-in best-practice configurations, templates also enable incredible flexibility in mutating workloads. Built a VMware cluster last week but need to flip it to Ubuntu this week for another workload? No problem. Nebulon’s ability to publish user-defined boot volumes and images as part of the application template makes this a breeze.

Nebulon’s application templates, combined with Nebulon’s module for Ansible that will be published in a few weeks, empower you to build a fully functional Kubernetes environment in less than 15 minutes.

Additionally, with Python, PowerShell and the Kubernetes container storage interface (CSI) driver, we make building and managing on-prem infrastructure as easy as it is in the public cloud. Additional modules for Terraform and other providers will be coming soon.

To learn more about Cloud-Defined Storage, click here.

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Aaron Patten

Principal Solutions Architect

Aaron Patten is a technology enthusiast with 20 years of experience in various IT related roles. Aaron is passionate about building solutions and teaching others how to best use them to solve real world problems. He is most comfortable in the lab and currently is focused on VMware, Kubernetes and distributed databases with a splash of DevOps for good measure.