The Data Protection Opportunity with Kubernetes

The Data Protection Opportunity with Kubernetes

This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, Catalogic Software Chief Operating Officer Sathya Sankaran offers his take on the data protection opportunity with Kubernetes.

Containers and Kubernetes were built to harness the power of elastic cloud compute. Much of the early focus on Kubernetes was on stateless compute with storage being relegated to second place. “Persistence” is the default state in legacy workloads, but in Kubernetes, it’s the add-on state. By default, Kubernetes storage is non-persistent. Any storage defined as part of a container in Kubernetes is held in temporary storage space, which exists as long as the Kubernetes pod exists. Then it is removed.

Legacy application developers treat storage clean up as an afterthought. In Kubernetes, storing seems to be the afterthought and data is one container instance away from being permanently lost. There are several of these problems or gaps with Kubernetes-backup, Disaster Recovery (DR), security and more. Today, solutions are on the rise that can help address these gaps.

The Data Protection Opportunity with Kubernetes

Application snapshot management is to all Kubernetes developers – regardless of where their workload is, on premises or in cloud – an important offering on the rise. Snapshots provide Kubernetes developers with a way to copy a storage volume at a particular point in time without creating an entirely new volume. Snapshots also allow database administrators to create backup copies that can be used for recovery or testing.

Snapshot management is filling a gap where users historically had access to snapshots much like gym memberships, but rarely ever used them. Solutions such as an in-place snapshot management solution that is storage agnostic, save organizations time and money while strengthening its disaster recovery capabilities. Snapshot management ensures that the gym membership mentality does not get in the way of carrying a relevant and current data copy.

An additional issue is that snapshot management for traditional storage was until recently, almost non-existent. SMI-S standards did not hold up and were largely seen as a sub-par retrofit; each storage behaved differently with ROW snapshots and COW snapshots. In Kubernetes, snapshot standardization has been addressed very early on with the Container Storage Interface (CSI) initiative. There are already over 50 storage providers that conform to it.

Another way to improve the Kubernetes ecosystem is to improve cyber resilience. Cyber resilience is the ability of an organization to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a cyber threat. Having cyber resilience means an enterprise is not without any power should a threat occur. It can identify, adapt and effectively respond to cyber threats. Cyber resilience is now a key part of backup and disaster recovery (BUDR) strategy.

DR has taken a back seat with the fault tolerant architectures of elastic cloud compute, so it is important to consider solutions that protect users from cyber-attacks with tamperproof backups. Easy to use Kubernetes backup services are now available to protect multi-cloud, multi-cluster, applications and cloud native databases helping to bridge the data management and protection gap between DevOps and IT operations.

With the exponential increase in cyberattacks, there is great deal of time and energy spent at enterprises ensuring that they have good insurance. This, in combination with the real, “on the ground” facts of new users who are not used to managing backups, are the new defensive front line. They understand backups but are often not battle hardened and some of the tried-and-true rules are often not top of mind for them. This is where a backup service comes into play, taking away the burden of maintaining a separate backup infrastructure and helping IT teams subscribe to enterprise data protection policies in an easy and understandable way.

With ongoing Kubernetes adoption, it is good to keep in mind that it allows for more input than a more mature ecosystem and so requires flexibility and a versatile architecture. As the ransomware threats for Kubernetes grow, it is important to consider DR and back up strategies up front to tackle the ever-changing threat landscape. For solution builders and innovators, this is exciting notion and an opportunity to “shift left” to affect real change in the development cycle.

Sathya Sankaran
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