All containers leverage storage, but our storage technology drives containers themselves

In my last blog post, I explored the challenges that all enterprises have in overcoming IT complexity and the associated costs in dealing with it. The vast number of enterprises out there—such as the “smaller” regional players I referenced in that post—absolutely must find ways to squeeze more productivity and business value out of their IT investments. This is a matter that hits to the very bottom line of these enterprises and is an ever-present problem to resolve.  Additionally, these “smaller” enterprises find it harder to invest in all of the diverse talent who are proficient in the technologies that provide such value.

Containerization on Storage Is a Big Deal

So when a storage vendor like OpenDrives comes up with a truly distinctive solution that simultaneously reduces complexity and costs while improving application performance and user productivity, this is truly a big deal. For this article, I want to return to that topic I mentioned previously: containerization on storage. I want to take the time here to explain what that really means and how that differentiating capability underpins enterprises’ efforts to maximize value (quicker and greater ROI) while making the IT infrastructure a more streamlined, less complex environment that’s easier and cheaper to administer (lower long-term TCO).

Containerization in and of itself isn’t so unique these days. However, it can be challenging as the technology has not fully matured, and most enterprises are struggling to deploy it in a cost-effective manner. Packaging up application code with OS and library dependencies in as small a footprint as possible, making it all both lightweight and portable, gets us part of the way there. And yet, any IT professional can tell you that containerization can bring a new host of complexities requiring experienced personnel and specialized software/hardware. Yes, it can be technically difficult. And yes, it can also be costly.

What It Really Means

At OpenDrives, we see this challenge for our customers and want to simplify the process of moving to containers while also managing the costs associated with doing so. Our storage solutions consist of both compute nodes (for processing power and associated memory requirements) and capacity (storage media) modules for data storage. We built in the additional ability to share our storage compute resources with application containers so that our storage solution—and not a specialized server running in your data center on-premises or some virtualized server in the public cloud—drives the enterprise application and the associated workload.

We’re talking about running any enterprise application (yes, even home-grown ones) or workload on our compute nodes, not just a select few that may or may not meet your users’ needs. We package this capability within the orchestration built right into our product, so your team doesn’t need to be Kubernetes or Docker experts to be successful with containers! That’s even more savings on what can be costly ongoing technical training, too.

Creating an Appliance-Like Experience

If you refer to Figures 1 & 2 below, what you’ll see is the streamlining of an IT infrastructure by eliminating the associated application servers as those applications are containerized and pulled directly onto our storage. In Figure 1, you have a more traditional architecture that necessitates additional hardware (or cloud services) to run your application workloads. Data flows between the storage and requesting applications, but depending on where all these resources are located (perhaps across the country or even the globe?) you might introduce latency and other performance-inhibiting obstacles. Figure 2 shows the elimination of those application server resources as the containers are run directly on OpenDrives storage solutions. Applications and data in this architecture reside literally right next to each other, enhancing performance because of the appliance-like nature of the architecture.

What we do that’s so special is enable you to create that same appliance-like experience for any enterprise application and workload: a solution with easy-button simplicity, a streamlined architecture, and a built-for-purpose platform that drives cost effectiveness. Why pay for the extra resources and/or services? Why incur unnecessary latency and performance hits with a geographically distributed topology? Why not pull containerized applications directly onto our storage, placing them right next to the data they consume? The entire IT infrastructure becomes less complex, necessitating fewer administrative cycles and of course generating a positive effect on the bottom line by reducing costs across the board.

We Did It for Zmanda—We Can Do It for You

By way of an example, we’ve worked with Zmanda (a Betsol company) to containerize their enterprise backup and recovery application so that it runs seamlessly with and on OpenDrives storage. The entire EBR workload now functions extremely closely to the enterprise data being backed up (and potentially restored). We’ve created a tailor-made EBR appliance using the best-of-breed capabilities of both Zmanda and our own enterprise storage solution.

Less hardware, less complexity, quicker ROI, and lower TCO. Doesn’t it make you wonder what we can do with your workloads and your enterprise data? The solution is just a discussion away!