Neil Salamack

Containers, OpenStack, and the Brave New World of DevOps

Blog Post created by Neil Salamack Employee on May 17, 2018

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According to Wiki, a “Creator” is, “Something or someone who brings something into being”. These days with all the digital technology and tools, it’s never been a better time to be a Creator.  With businesses working to be the next disrupter, there have never been more tools available to accelerate innovation. Every so often a “process” change is so significant that it becomes much more than that, it becomes a broad sweeping movement or even a culture. That is precisely what is happening with DevOps. For those who don’t know DevOps, at it’s core it enables business to accelerate the development and release of products by applying agile and lean principles to software development.  The rate of business change is main driver for DevOps and that’s why its adoption has spread like wildfire. The movement started with small companies and is now driving process and cultural change in large enterprises.  But it’s not all about DevOps per se, the tools available to software developers and IT engineering enable DevOps to develop, maintain, and release new products and features at a dizzying rate. Let’s discuss some of the most significant tools that are literally changing how software development is done and how IT environments are deployed.


DevOps benefits include:

  • Overall accelerated business innovation
  • Deploy with a process that can scale, and is both repeatable and reliable
  • Integrated process for capturing and measuring data points on quality
  • Built-in propagation of process benefits
  • Ownership of both development and operations which extends to the production environment and customer experience


There’s no “Me” in “TEAM”…

Uh… well there may be “me” in “team”, but there’s also an “us” in DevOps : )  Remember its not just a process, it’s a culture! And its never been easier to be part of the “US”, this is because everyone can work on their own code or module and check-in at any time.  Consequently, the DevOps model is flexible enabling updates and enhancements at any point in this perpetual process.  Think of the development team as a collective driving higher synergy through interaction.


Tools of the Trade - Containers Enabling DevOps


There is a huge amount of hype around “Containers”, heralded as the virtual machine of the new millennia. There’s good reason for the excitement as Containers offer several huge benefits, like the ability to run the application in a lightweight “container” totally agnostic of the underlying OS.  But that’s not all.


Containers are super tools for DevOPs for the following reasons:

  • Velocity – Containers spin up faster (Average of 500ms compared to 2-7 minutes for a virtual machine) enabling the developer to test and retest quickly
  • Easy - Simplified, quicker code integration of multiple modules
  • Accelerated delivery pipeline and code release process
  • Develop one version, run it on anything, anywhere


OpenStack and DevOps
Transparency, sharing, and open exchange is embedded into the DevOps culture and process. It’s no surprise that OpenStack is finally finding its place within DevOps.  OpenStack is maturing and has developed a fast-growing ecosystem. It enables the DevOps community by providing an open, affordable and stable platform upon which to deploy “containerized” apps. OpenStack offers robust data services and leverages open API’s for simple standardized application development. The OpenStack block storage service is called, “Cinder” and a growing number of enterprises are adopting it as part of their DevOps repertoire.

So as this is a “storage” related blog, you may be asking how enterprise storage play’s in to support containers, OpenStack and the overall DevOps initiative.  Well, here’s where the rubber meets the road.


What about Storage for Containers?
Good question.  Container are light and agile.  Agile meaning that they can be spun up and deleted so quickly that they have a disposable, “ephemera-like” quality.  This is fine for cloud native applications delivering search results and then deleting the container, but what about traditional applications like databases which require “persistent” storage?  Luckily storage vendors like Hitachi Vantara offer plugins to their storage OS to enable a persistent connection between the container and the storage. The Hitachi Storage Plug-in for Containers provides connectivity between Docker containers and Hitachi VSP storage platforms. With the plug-in, Hitachi customers can deliver shared storage for Docker containers that persists beyond the timeline of a single Docker host. This is essential for enabling DevOps and agile IT. It also makes stateful application development available for container-based workloads. With a persistent connection to the storage, containers can be protected with high availability, replication, and snapshots. As containerized apps find themselves into mission critical applications, enterprise-class data protection capabilities will be required.


What about Storage for OpenStack?

As mentioned earlier, OpenStack Cinder provides a REST API to exchange block data to the storage. Leading storage providers like Hitachi Vantara offer a driver like the Hitachi Block Storage Driver Plugin to enable enterprises to leverage their existing storage for OpenStack. The benefits are similar to the container driver in that it opens up rich storage services for OpenStack based applications.


The Takeaway – Roll with the Changes

So, keep DevOps on your radar, in fact you may want to get in front of the wave by initializing some cultural and process changes before your competitor does.  Luckily, Hitachi Vantara is here to help you leverage storage solutions to support DevOps and help you win the game.  So go ahead, make some DevOps noise and disrupt your competition.


Learn About DevOps

Paula Phipps’ Blog - The Super Powers of DevOps to Transform Business


More great blogs in the Data Center Modernization Series here:

Hu Yoshida's blog - Data Center Modernization - Transforming Data Center Focus from Infrastructure to Information

Nathan Muffin's blog – Data Center Modernization

Mark Adams's blog - Infrastructure Agility for Data Center Modernization

Summer Matheson's blog - Bundles are Better

Richard Jew's blog - AI Operations for the Modern Data Center