Key Criteria for Evaluating Kubernetes Data Storagev3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Kubernetes Data Storage Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take

1. Summary

Organizations of all sizes are embracing cloud computing. They realize that the unparalleled flexibility and continuous innovation that comes with the cloud are key drivers of digital transformation, supporting their ever-evolving activities, business processes, and user base. And yet, despite the hype of the first few years, companies have realized that the cloud isn’t perfect, nor is it the place for every single workload. They’ve rediscovered the value of running applications on-premises, including containerized apps.

That means that containerization is overtaking virtualization as the predominant deployment method, and Kubernetes has become the standard for deploying and managing applications in production.

Kubernetes is now ubiquitous—across the major hyperscale and edge cloud providers, the smaller independent service providers, and the on-premises data centers. The Kubernetes API and associated storage protocols are no longer emerging or optional technology but a hard requirement for organizations looking to deploy an application to a new location.

Organizations can now consider more factors than ever before, including financial and business-related issues, when choosing where their applications and data should run. With the widespread adoption across cloud, edge, and on-premises, Kubernetes is instrumental in executing the vision of portable, flexible, and agile hybrid-cloud strategies, making applications and their data portable and cloud-agnostic—for the most part. It needs the right integration with infrastructure layers—such as storage—to complement its still-maturing native support for stateful data storage.

While organizations have discovered the ease that the ubiquitous availability of Kubernetes APIs brings, they have also learned that infrastructure dependencies like storage are still a major consideration for full-blown production deployments with mission-critical applications, especially in multicloud scenarios.

It’s still a significant task to select and implement a Kubernetes storage solution for persistent data that makes the most of Kubernetes’ application mobility and data portability potential.

Spurred by the rising popularity of cloud computing and containerized applications, developers are increasingly discovering the value and operational simplicity of object storage. That means a key success factor for choosing the right Kubernetes data storage platform is the solution’s support for object storage as a first-class, enterprise-grade storage protocol, in addition to file and block storage. As storage vendors continue to work on adding both native Kubernetes support and support for object storage, finding the right solution to fit your requirements remains a non-trivial task, because vendors have to support a common data storage layer that abstracts physical and cloud resources with a standard set of features and services for data protection, security, and enterprise data management (as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1. Data Storage for Kubernetes

With Kubernetes now supporting business critical applications and services, requirements become more stringent. Scalability, performance, resilience, security, and other non-functional requirements are the order of the day, and Kubernetes needs to do it all to ensure a consistent level of throughput without service disruptions. These requirements drive the demand for enterprise-class stateful data services, solid security controls, mature multitenant performance management—like quality of service (QoS) and bandwidth throttling—and thorough alerting, reporting, and monitoring.

Lastly, enterprises do not want to be locked into any single vendor’s ecosystem as they reap the benefits of Kubernetes’ portable and agnostic promise, and they look for a storage solution that works with feature parity across on-premises and cloud infrastructures.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the Kubernetes data storage market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting a Kubenetes data storage platform, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and help decision makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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