Container Data protection
The adoption of containers in enterprises is in full swing, and container platforms like Kubernetes are quickly becoming the standard for deploying applications to production. In a recent study on container data protection by ESG, 67% of respondents said they’re running containers for production applications with the remaining 33% planning to do so within the next 12 months. That means that containers are quickly becoming a mature way to deploy applications to production, with 27% of workloads currently running as containers and an expected 39% of workloads running as containers within 24 months from now.
Data Protection is fragmenting across environments and teams
As containers democratize the ability to provision infrastructure, data protection has become a shared mandate involving not just IT Operations providing the container infrastructure but also application development and cloud platform teams consuming containers. This shared mandate creates a disconnect between responsibility (the development team) and accountability (IT Operations), increasing the risk of improper data protection across production applications.
To make the challenge of fragmentation worse, containers can, and do, run across on-prem and all of the public clouds, and the changes of your organization running across a mix of these is high: fragmentation also happens across all of these environments. And while in the good old days of virtualization, you knew the application data was stored in a VMDK or on the shared storage, containers move data storage to external data storage services in the cloud and on-prem, severely impacting visibility into the state of data protection across environments. In the ESG research into data protection for containers, they found that 71% of respondents run containers across a mix of public cloud and private datacenters, and 45% of respondents agreed that a data protection solution that works across multiple disparate public cloud infrastructure services is critically important to their business.
Defragmenting data protection
The challenge is, how do we solve this multi-dimensional fragmentation? The key is to tightly integrate data protection at the container level and separate concerns.
For teams creating container-based workloads, this means they just have to apply pre-defined policies in a way that makes sense for them: at the persistent storage level, at the Kubernetes cluster or namespace level, using dynamic tags or even backing up data at the container registry or artifact repository level, before it’s deployed to production.
This way, they do not need to configure the policies or build the data protection infrastructure. Instead, they can just consume containers in a self-service and on-demand manner, and apply the right policies so they know data protection is taken care of.
For IT Ops, who are and remain accountable, compliance is everything. They value the power of visibility and policy-based management as the ‘orchestration glue’ across environments to retain visibility and remain compliant.
Container-native data protection is the key
That means container-native and multi-cloud capabilities for container data protection are key factors in deciding technologies and processes for container platform architecture, say 61% of the respondents in the ESG research. At the same time, managing data protection of container-based applications in hybrid and multi-cloud environments remains the biggest challenge, and the ‘old way’ of backing up is not sufficient for taking care of data protection in a multi-cloud estate across containers and virtual machines.
In order to separate data protection concerns between IT Ops and those creating containers while offering self-service and on-demand data protection for container creators, tight integration of data protection into the container landscape is needed. Re-purposing existing data protection does not offer this tight integration for teams to truly consume data protection autonomously.
So if you’re running container-based workloads (or considering doing so) in the on-prem datacenter or the public cloud, and are looking at data protection solutions, look into solutions that help manage the separation of concerns and self-service, as well as the technical complexity of data fragmentation.
The ESG Container Data Protection eBook has the details if you want to know more about the state of data protection for container-based workloads, including container adoption rates for production applications, how hybrid and multi-cloud strategies are intricately linked to container deployments, how to handle the shared mandate and separation of concerns and how to tightly integrate data protection into container platforms.