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MinIO has launched a set of features that could make Kubernetes management easier for IT administrators.
The new features are Operator, Console and Subnet Health. Together, they simplify the work behind deploying and managing object storage for Kubernetes by providing interfaces and functions familiar to administrators. This allows them to use MinIO's Kubernetes-native object storage platform to its full potential even with limited Kubernetes expertise, according to the company.
MinIO Kubernetes Operator is new software that allows admins to deploy MinIO object storage onto private and public cloud infrastructure. Through custom resource definition APIs, admins create and manage tenants and deploy object storage as a service. Operator, like all of MinIO, can be controlled through APIs, command lines and automation.
However, the new MinIO Console GUI is designed to let admins interact with the entire MinIO suite in a simpler way. With Console, admins can provision multi-tenant object storage with a few clicks, visually monitor Kubernetes clusters' health and perform auditing tasks. IT can also use Console to provide self-service interfaces to development teams.
MinIO is popular among the open source community and developers who think in terms of APIs and command lines, but in order to entice the enterprise market, the product had to reach a broader IT audience, said Jonathan Symonds, chief marketing officer at MinIO. Therefore, it was important for MinIO to design an interface that is friendly to IT admins but still captures the full functionality of MinIO's Kubernetes-native object storage platform.
"There came a need to become more savvy with a GUI that IT liked to consume," Symonds said.
The enterprise also expects a high level of product support, which prompted the creation of Subnet Health, Symonds said. The Subnet Health interface provides a 24-point check on a system's health that includes all the drives, memory, operating system, containers and MinIO components running on it. This can help customers identify the sources of problems more quickly.
Subnet Health is a component of Subnet, MinIO's commercial license. Subnet subscribers get software support through automation and direct-to-engineer interaction, and a subscription is billed monthly and priced by capacity. MinIO is also available for free without vendor support as open source software, and can be found on GitHub.
Enterprises expect more
Many storage products have a health check feature for root cause analysis, so it's not unique to MinIO, said Ray Lucchesi, president of Silverton Consulting. However, Subnet Health appears to be the beginning of a more advanced support system, something MinIO has been lacking, he added. The open source community and MinIO's Slack channel are decent resources for customers to find help, but enterprises expect more from a commercial license. There's a wide expectation gap between individual developers and corporations, Lucchesi said.
"Enterprises want to be talking to people who can provide answers directly," Lucchesi said.
Ray LucchesiPresident, Silverton Consulting
MinIO's new features indicate the vendor is trying to broaden its audience beyond developers and making its open source product more useable, Lucchesi said. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that MinIO would create a GUI so Kubernetes-naïve users can more easily fire up a pod or cluster of object storage.
When Kubernetes first started as small projects within organizations, it was the domain of developers, Lucchesi said. However, the appeal of Kubernetes is how easily it allows applications to scale, and when those projects -- along with their associated costs -- scale to a certain point, the IT administrators in an organization will want to take control of it.
Kubernetes and modern object storage are "tied at the hip," according to Symonds, but Lucchesi said he believes Kubernetes is simply a very good use case for object storage right now -- one with which MinIO can find plenty of success. Object storage is still viable outside of Kubernetes use cases and has applications in the medical research, media and financial industries. It also likely has a future in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Lucchesi said.
"The big way forward with object storage is to somehow tie it into the AI world. Deep learning calls for a lot of data, and that data has to go somewhere," Lucchesi said.