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Protecting the new world

Considering the new world of containerised applications? Don’t forget data protection too...

Written on: Feb 11, 2021 8:39:25 AM

Written by: Alex Raben


[Data Management, COOLSPIRiT]

The term 'data containerisation' - What does it mean? What does it do? How does it help an organisation and what considerations are required?

For the early adopters, containers have been with us for some time now, others not so much - maybe you are just considering the path to deployment. Wherever you are on the journey, we need to look further into this topic, to understand what this means in terms of data protection too, and how it will shape any considerations moving forward. However this technology is implemented, it is utilising the beating heart of any organisation - their data. 

While containers have been with us for several years, the industry and IT teams are now shifting to embrace this technology. What was once a new and trendy approach to hosting applications and code, it is definitely becoming mainstream within many organisations - with many in research, planning or implementation phase. To begin with, Docker is likely the first container platform that most people consider and this research introduces the concept of lightweight containers running packaged applications - today the market also includes many additional vendors with technology products to help IT teams successfully move into the world of containers.

History has a habit of repeating itself... In the same way that VMware revolutionised IT service delivery capabilities through virtualisation, so too does containers and how it promises a significant transformation in supporting efficient application packaging for new infrastructure services. To support application deployment at scale using lightweight containers, IT teams have embraced technologies such as Kubernetes to provide an orchestration layer for this. The aim here all along has been application packaging - but we must not ignore the data element here.

In a virtualised world, we have VMs which comprise of both applications and data. In the world of containers, data is separate to the container itself and so additional steps, such as mapping data volumes to the containers, needs to be supported. The very nature of containers and their longevity can also give rise to additional considerations… a container may only exist for a matter of minutes and so how do we consider data protection aspects here? Does this container have any ‘stateful’ data, or is the data it uses considered ephemeral and can simply be discarded upon its use?

The whole principle of containers being highly portable is essentially at odds with the need to utilise stateful data.

So, there is an association between containers and the data which serves them and these have to be brought together from a data protection perspective - and let us not forget about data security too. This applies to stateful data requirements and thankfully platforms such as Kubernetes now supports many different types of stateful data volumes. The products and methods needed to protect this data, which is being generated and stored in new ways by organisations, is rapidly evolving across the industry, with vendors continually adding features and functions to their data protection platforms - ensuring tools and services are available for use by their customers.

As the world gradually moves towards more of a containerisation infrastructure (with many organisations currently on many different paths) and embracing cloud-based DevOps, the world of data protection will similarly evolve to offer capabilities for protecting and preserving the associated data - available now and with continual development taking place by vendors, we believe these product enhancements will become even more relevant throughout the coming year...

Our expert team at COOLSPIRiT are ready to help customers with their containerisation journey and look forward with anticipation to ensuring the protection of this data with a solution that meets all business and technological requirements.

 COOLSPIRiT would like to thank Paul Brunyee of Arcserve for his invaluable expert thoughts and insight - helping to create this blog.

If you would like to talk simply call our expert team on 01246 454 222 or email hello@coolspirit.co.uk

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