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Hitachi Vantara follows the herd on Kubernetes storage

HKS allows Hitachi Unified Compute Systems systems to directly manage file volumes and objects on clustered Kubernetes nodes. Hitachi acquired the software code from Containership.

Hitachi Vantara previewed its plans to address the growing use of storage for stateful Kubernetes containers.

The Hitachi Kubernetes Service (HKS) is a new compute component revealed this week for Hitachi's Unified Compute Platform converged, hyper-converged and rack-scale systems. HKS allows UCP nodes to be deployed as a Kubernetes-managed private cloud. Enterprises can streamline container management across local and hybrid cloud environments. 

Most of the issues surrounding persistent storage for containers have been satisfactorily addressed. Storage vendors have moved on to equipping their array-based systems to support a surge in container adoption. Dell EMC storage enhanced its container storage management via integration with Dell Technologies-owned VMware's Tanzu. NetApp launched Project Astra to containerize its OnTap storage operating system to manage clustered Kubernetes nodes. All-flash pioneer Pure Storage shelled out $370 million to buy Portworx, a container startup that specializes in cloud-native application development tools.

Hitachi wrote a Kubernetes API for HKS based on the open source Container Storage Interface, enabling Hitachi storage arrays to manage persistent volumes directly on Kubernetes nodes. The software behind HKS originated with Containership, a Pittsburgh-based startup that Hitachi acquired in 2019. The vendor said HKS is expected to be generally available later this year

Hitachi acquired that code primarily to address compute management and storage, which remains a challenge in Kubernetes deployments, said Peter Meister, Hitachi Vantara's head of product management for enterprise cloud.

"We believe containers will [create] the largest growth in storage over the next 20 years, especially at the mobile edge. That's going to be where the new compute gets managed along with new flash-based storage systems," Meister said.

Clusters created with Hitachi Kubernetes Service
Clusters created with Hitachi Kubernetes Service

Container storage and data security

Container storage management will remain a hot topic for the foreseeable future, said Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Sinclair pointed out that Hitachi added its own Kubernetes training and certification and a self-service management portal to augment HKS.

"Hitachi Vantara has always had great technology for on-premises. HKS gets it to a higher level conversation around application development for cloud-native workloads. That is the strategic direction enterprises are going with their IT services," Sinclair said.

Analyst firm Gartner Inc. projects that 75% of organizations will run production-level apps in containers by 2024, compared with about 30% now. Data protection and security are ongoing issues that could hinder adoption. Amazon Web Services last year had to address Kubernetes-related data leaks caused by the exposure of private IP addresses in the public cloud.

Meister said Hitachi is exploring strategic partnerships with data security vendors to protect and recover stateful apps in Kubernetes environments. Hitachi said HKS will be sold on consumption, available at a minimum of 129 virtual CPUs.

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) is a division of TechTarget.

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