Kubernetes, Containers and Protection?

If you work in the technology industry in any shape, form, or fashion, you may have heard the term Kubernetes before. However, not everybody knows about Kubernetes. This is your lucky day, I will discuss what is Kubernetes, issues with protecting Kubernetes, and some solutions that are offered by Dell Technologies.

Before we get into Kubernetes, let us take a few minutes to talk about Containers. Containers and Kubernetes go hand and hand and can be viewed as the same thing. However, Containers and Kubernetes are two separate entities. A Container is an application that bundles all its dependencies, libraries and configuration files into a single package. Containers provide a simpler way for development and operations teams to consistently execute and increase productivity. The consistent execution and increased productivity is due to Containers being typically used when a developer wants to move an application from a testing environment, such as a laptop, to a live production environment. The use of containers is also common when migrating from a physical machine to a cloud-based virtual machine. They are a standalone package of all the dependencies that can run organizational applications efficiently and increase productivity. The value in adopting containers will enable application(s) to run virtually anywhere while creating predictable dev/test environments that will significantly increase productivity and agility.

Benefits of Containers:

• Platform independence

• Resource efficiency

• Effective isolation and resource sharing

• Flexibility and speed

• Scalability

• Operational simplicity

• Can run virtually anywhere

• Create predictable environments

Where Does Kubernetes Come In?

Kubernetes, K8s, or Kubes, is a portable, extensible, open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. Kubernetes is an open-sourced container orchestration tool that has surged in popularity and has skyrocketed since it was released to the open-source community about a half a decade ago. Kubernetes allows IT technicians to break apart monolithic applications into smaller distinct microservices and reliably run applications between computing platforms.

Kubernetes provides organizations with a framework to run distributed systems resiliently while taking care of scaling and failover for applications. Kubernetes provides an organization with a lot of benefits. According to kubernetes.io, the following are the benefits of Kubernetes:

  • Service discovery and load balancing Kubernetes can expose a container using the DNS name or using their own IP address. If traffic to a container is high, Kubernetes is able to load balance and distribute the network traffic so that the deployment is stable.
  • Storage orchestration Kubernetes allows you to automatically mount a storage system of your choice, such as local storages, public cloud providers, and more.
  • Automated rollouts and rollbacks You can describe the desired state for your deployed containers using Kubernetes, and it can change the actual state to the desired state at a controlled rate. For example, you can automate Kubernetes to create new containers for your deployment, remove existing containers and adopt all their resources to the new container.
  • Automatic bin packing You provide Kubernetes with a cluster of nodes that it can use to run containerized tasks. You tell Kubernetes how much CPU and memory (RAM) each container needs. Kubernetes can fit containers onto your nodes to make the best use of your resources.
  • Self-healing Kubernetes restarts containers that fail, replaces containers, kills containers that don’t respond to your user-defined health check, and doesn’t advertise them to clients until they are ready to serve.
  • Secret and configuration management Kubernetes lets you store and manage sensitive information, such as passwords, OAuth tokens, and SSH keys. You can deploy and update secrets and application configuration without rebuilding your container images, and without exposing secrets in your stack configuration.

Protection for Containers and Kubernetes

Soon, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production; given that data loss and the ability to keep track of data remains one of the leading concerns for using containers and Kubernetes. However, organizations can’t afford to treat data protection as an afterthought if they want to unlock the benefits of cloud-native technologies. Container orchestration tools like Kubernetes are convenient due to their scalability and portability, however, they do fall short when it comes to data protection. Deploying any type of data protection method can be challenging due Container’s ability to be rapidly started up and shut down, depending on the developers’ goals and specifications. That means containers are essentially temporary and have a relatively short lifespan. There is a growing number of organizations that are now using containers in a testing environment before they deploy new applications. During these testing environments, it is being discovered that unexpected things can happen to data during that migration and deployment. Properly backing up data is incredibly important in Kubernetes and will only become more critical over time.

What is a solution to protect an organization’s containers and Kubernetes? The best solution to protect containers and Kubernetes is Dell’s PowerProtect Data Manager (PPDM). PPDM’s Data Manager enables admins to discover, protect and restore production workloads in Kubernetes environments while protecting production and dev/test workloads. This will ensure that the data is easy to backup and restore. Tag teaming with VMware, PPDM’s Data Manager leverages the Project Velero Kubernetes-native architecture developed for Kubernetes environments and is integrated directly into the user interface. Users of PPDM gains the enhancement to protect their data by protecting directly to PowerProtect appliances, such as Dell’s PowerProtect Data Domain (PowerProtect DD) to gain benefits from unmatched efficiency, deduplication, performance, and scalability.

PowerProtect Data Manager Solution Benefits:

• Single platform for VMs, Apps and Kubernetes – No silos, no shadow for separate IT projects.

• Enterprise features are built in: Policy based engine and built-in change copy (replication) for compliance and disaster recovery with PowerProtect appliances

• Maintain control when you need it and delegate when you don’t

• Simple user experience with a very minimal learning curve for users

Signing Off

This only a 36,000 feet overview of Kubernetes, Containers, and how to protect it. After reading this and you have additional questions, feel free to leave your comments below and I will do my best to answer every question.

Dell Technologies can give organizations the choice to confidently plan their modern data protection strategies through constant innovation, agile engineering, and tight integration with VMware. Dell has a solution for any organization’s data protection needs and is willing to help find the best solution for your needs. I highly encourage you to check out their website, link provided below, for more information about PPDM and other solutions offered by Dell. Also, if you enjoyed reading my blog and want to read more or other blogs posted by my team, the link will be provided below as well.

Useful Links

IT Infrastructure Solutions, Workforce technology, OEM | Dell Technologies US

Data Protection for Kubernetes Workloads – Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager for Kubernetes Workloads (delltechnologies.com)

BLOG | GEOS (engineeringtechnologists.com)

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