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Containerization is a flexible, efficient strategy for data storage and one that's gaining popularity. Containerized storage can run in different environments, conduct independent processes in shared space and reduce storage hardware overhead.
In today's storage landscape, software-defined and cloud storage continue to grow in popularity, signaling a move away from traditional storage architectures. The rise of container storage makes sense in this market, and vendors are matching interest with containerized offerings and improvements to the technology.
As with any evolving technology, there are misunderstandings about the available products and lots of information to digest. Many organizations miss out on the advantages that containers provide because they deployed them incorrectly. To get the most out of data storage containers, check out these five tips we've outlined below.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Containerized storage is a fast-growing technology, so there's no shortage of vendors to help an organization get started. Vendors have done a good job resolving early issues with the technology, such as the lack of support for persistent storage.
Once an organization has chosen the right product, transitioning to storage containers is relatively painless. With Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration system, vendors can create plugins compatible with their systems, easing the move from legacy storage.
The most time-consuming part of moving to containerized storage is likely the homework an organization must do prior to choosing a vendor and product. Organizations should have a complete understanding of their applications, internal expertise and the level of vendor support they will need before selecting a product.
Savings will come over time
Cutting costs is a top priority on just about every IT wish list, and it's possible with containerized storage. Significant financial benefits may take time to see, but the wait is worth it. Storage containers save money over time by getting rid of wasteful practices, improving operational efficiency and using less storage capacity.
Containers treat storage dynamically, eliminating the risk of overallocating siloed storage pools. Automated provisioning and deprovisioning simplify storage management, streamlining processes and freeing staff for other tasks. The flexibility of containerized storage enables organizations to not only avoid overprovisioning but to reduce the amount of storage space used overall.
Partner with the cloud
Containerized storage continues to evolve, thanks in part to the cloud's expanding role in data storage. As organizations move critical data and applications to the cloud, storage containers have become a valuable tool for deploying and migrating apps in a multi-cloud environment.
Other technologies, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, AWS Outpost and Azure Stack compete in this arena, but containers appear to still be the top choice for deploying and migrating business-critical applications.
Watch out for persistent myths
Container technology isn't new, but it's evolving as interest grows. Outdated and incorrect information persists, so IT teams must have their facts straight before adopting -- or rejecting -- containerized storage options.
Some misconceptions about containers stem from early issues that vendors have since resolved, while others assume the technology is capable of more than it is. For example, containers aren't immune to internal or external attacks. A container file system can be accessed just like a virtual machine or server, so risk mitigation strategies must address container storage if it's part of the overall storage strategy.
Other misconceptions, such as the idea that containers don't require persistent storage or organizations shouldn't run stateful workloads on containers, can cause serious issues. Organizations must have a clear understanding of what containers can and can't do before deciding on a deployment strategy.
Increase your chances of success with the right setup
While the benefits of container storage abound, it can be easy to miss out on them.
Having the right systems in place, such as the right architecture, can determine the advantages container storage will provide. DAS won't offer nearly as much flexibility as NAS, and a low latency all-flash environment will enable much greater performance. Organizations must assess their existing storage infrastructure and systems to ensure they will get the most out of containerization and not negate any of its performance benefits.