Virtualization Technology News and Information
Portworx Releases STORK, an Open-Source Kubernetes Scheduler Extender to Add Additional Capabilities for Stateful Applications in Production

Portworx, the solution for running stateful containers in production, today released STORK (STorage Orchestrator Runtime for Kubernetes). STORK is an open source project that takes advantage of the extensibility of Kubernetes to allow DevOps teams to run stateful applications like databases, queues and key-value stores more efficiently on Kubernetes. STORK has been implemented to communicate with storage drivers through a plugin interface, so it can be extended to work with any storage driver for Kubernetes, not just Portworx. Contributions to STORK are welcome and encouraged from the Kubernetes community.

STORK allows stateful applications to take advantage of scheduler extenders in order to enjoy the benefits of storage-aware scheduling via Kubernetes in production at scale. Using a scheduler extender, STORK provides hyperconvergence, storage health monitoring and snapshot-lifecycle features for stateful applications on Kubernetes. STORK was developed in collaboration with customers running large scale stateful applications in production in order to address operational issues inherent to data services.

Key features and benefits of STORK

Enabling hyperconvergence for stateful containers

Modern stateful applications like Cassandra, Kafka, ElasticSearch and more scale out to increase capacity and perform best when each instance runs in close proximity to its data. Having local direct storage access reduces latency and improves the response times of these databases. For this reason, it is ideal to schedule a pod on a host where its data is located. Today, DevOps teams have to use techniques such as labels, constraints or affinity/anti-affinity to ensure data locality. These rules are hard to manage when running applications at scale across a large number of servers and data centers, increasing room for error.

STORK solution: Kubernetes was designed with extenders in mind. STORK enables the seamless deployment of complex distributed stateful applications by implementing a Kubernetes scheduler extender that influences pod scheduling based on the location of volumes that a pod requires. So even after failure events, pods are scheduled on hosts that already have a copy of data, ensuring ongoing hyperconvergence.

Health monitoring of storage plugins
A common issue with stateful applications is the wear and tear induced by the storage fabric. The overall health of a pod will be subject to this wear and tear over time. This can result in pods not being able to be rescheduled to healthy hosts if a storage driver experiences a failure, resulting in application unavailability.

STORK solution: STORK solves this issue by failing over pods when the storage driver on a node goes into an error or unavailable state. This allows applications to be truly highly available without any user intervention.

Volume Snapshot support

Stateful applications have a complex life cycle that needs to be managed. Snapshots provide a key management tool for data recovery or duplication of an environment for testing. Today, DevOps teams have to manage these life cycle operations using the tools provided by the storage provider instead of directly through Kubernetes, reducing the automation benefits of the Kubernetes platform for complex data workflows like DR, testing, upgrades and blue-green deployments.

STORK solution: STORK adds support for orchestrating volume snapshots through Kubernetes. This allows users to take snapshots of PVCs and then restore those snapshots to other PVCs all through Kubernetes. This allows users to automate complex data workflows, all through Kubernetes.

"We listened carefully to our enterprise customers and built STORK to solve critical efficiency limitations that enterprises running stateful applications on Kubernetes commonly encounter," said Gou Rao, CTO, Portworx. "We're committed to expanding on this open source project with the help of the community in order to address the pain points and needs of enterprises."

For more details and information on STORK, please visit the Portworx blog here.

Instructions to install Stork with Portworx can be found here.

Published Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:19 AM by David Marshall
Armel Tene - (Author's Link) - March 26, 2018 11:57 AM

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