July 24, 2024

Container storage platforms: Big six approach starts to align

6 min read



Containerisation typifies the most important current shifts in IT. Containers are supposed as light-weight and transportable – concerning techniques, involving datacentre and cloud – and are a cornerstone of electronic transformation and cloud-indigenous software advancement.

But whilst containerisation perhaps simplifies the improvement, deployment and operation of software environments, behind the veil is a fantastic offer of complexity.

Not least, which is identified in storage, where by ability should be provisioned for containers, then managed, taken care of and shielded. That can turn into a difficult and opaque process, which should be designed seen and trackable.

For that cause, all the large storage suppliers – and a variety of startups not dealt with right here – have made or obtained container storage platforms, or one thing like them. In reality, they frequently do far more than just storage, with info safety and superior performance of other sorts extra in.

In this short article we search at the container storage and facts protection platform offerings from the large six, specifically Dell EMC, HPE, Hitachi, IBM, NetApp and Pure Storage.

We appeared at the exact topic a yr back, and it is fairly recognizable how points have moved on.

Even though Pure Storage led the way with Portworx, many others have created significant additions to their portfolios in the area of a yr. Dell EMC has its Container Storage Modules where by after it rested on VMware Tanzu (now departed, of training course), IBM has personalized its storage all over Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform with Spectrum Fusion, and NetApp has folded its Astra container management portfolio into BlueXP

Dell EMC Container Storage Modules

Dell EMC made its Container Storage Modules typically out there in October 2021. CSM contains many plug-ins that deliver storage and facts safety administration with Kubernetes that goes past basic CSI functionality.

CSI motorists usually support provisioning, deleting, mapping and unmapping volumes of details. But, Dell EMC aims CSM at business clients seeking for additional in conditions of automation and management by way of a relatively very simple UI.

CSM end users can entry storage array attributes to which they ordinarily wouldn’t have obtain. Consumers can make their existing storage container-completely ready via data attributes on Dell’s storage arrays fairly than working with additional computer software.


HPE designed its own Kubernetes administration system, HPE Ezmeral Runtime, which can be deployed on its Synergy program hardware.

Ezmeral is made to deploy cloud-native and non-cloud-indigenous applications using Kubernetes and can run on bare-steel or virtualised infrastructure, on-premise or in the cloud. It incorporates app deployment features, with facts management like out to the edge, moreover AI/ML and functions configuration.

Ezmeral offers persistent container storage and configuration automation to established up container HA, backup and restore, security validation and monitoring to minimise handbook admin duties. 


Hitachi Kubernetes Service (HKS) lets Hitachi Unified Compute Platform devices to take care of file volumes and objects on clustered Kubernetes nodes.

HKS makes it possible for UCP nodes to be deployed as a Kubernetes-managed private cloud with container management throughout on-premise and hybrid cloud environments. The software program driving HKS originated with Containership, which Hitachi obtained in 2019.

IBM Spectrum Fusion

It’s not a container storage system in the exact way as that from Dell EMC or Pure, for example, but Spectrum Fusion is aimed at being storage for Crimson Hat OpenShift Container Platform. The firm has personalized its products and solutions for use with Purple Hat program because its $34bn acquisition of the open source software package seller in July 2019.

Spectrum Fusion merges things of Spectrum Scale’s General Parallel File Method (GPFS), Spectrum Explore to catalogue and index metadata, and Spectrum Secure In addition for backup and restore. Fusion also supports S3 object storage on-prem or in the cloud. Buyers can manage Spectrum Fusion through a single portal.

The 1st Spectrum Fusion release was a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) system that came with Crimson Hat OpenShift. Now it is readily available as a application-outlined merchandise that can run on any x86 components that can run OpenShift.

In the beginning, the components set up of Spectrum Fusion required 6 nodes minimum, or 6 appliances. With the new software-only Spectrum Fusion it’s down to three. Clouds supported include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud.

The program-only release also involved facts defense for containers in addition monitoring and analytics integration with IBM Turbonomic, an application resource and community general performance administration application that utilizes automation and AI for optimisation.

NetApp Astra/BlueXP

NetApp announced Astra Facts Store in October 2021 as a unified data shop and source pool for containers and VMs, but that was superseded in November 2022 by BlueXP as a solitary manage plane across Astra and NetApp’s on-premise and cloud storage merchandise. 

Astra has info protection capabilities such as snapshots that make it possible for shoppers to roll back again Kubernetes clusters to a past state if something goes mistaken. Consumers can also get complete application-mindful backups and restore programs to an additional Kubernetes cluster. Whole programs and their details can be cloned and moved in between Kubernetes clusters far too.

Meanwhile, Astra Handle Company is a cloud-based company for Kubernetes clusters managed by NetApp while Astra Handle Middle gives similar performance for on-premises storage managed by the customer. 

Pure Portworx

Pure Storage was arguably the bellwether for storage suppliers as they oriented to containerisation when it acquired Portworx in 2020 for $370m.

Portworx builds in container-native functionality to allow discovery, provisioning and management from inside Kubernetes clusters. It can find out, load balance and take care of Pure Storage FlashArray and FlashBlade components natively from deployments in Kubernetes.

From the variation 2.8 up grade in early 2021 Portworx can run fully from containers in Kubernetes (and other container orchestrators) and to supply persistent ability for organization apps.

In early 2022 Portworx PX-Backup got anti-ransomware object locking as well as the Portworx Information Expert services databases-as-a-services presenting and PX-backup-as-a-support. Portworx will get SafeMode immutable snapshot at some level, also.

Portworx is correctly a suite of software-defined storage, details safety and details companies goods that operates from containers to establish pools of storage, regulate provisioning and offer innovative storage operation – such as backup, disaster recovery, security, vehicle-scaling and migration – on storage regional to Kubernetes cluster servers, on exterior storage arrays and ability in the key cloud providers, AWS, Azure and GCP.


Resource website link In today’s technology-driven economy, container storage platforms have become an important part of the IT landscape. Containers provide a lightweight alternative to virtual machines, allowing applications to be more scalable, portable, and secure. Despite the increasing popularity of containers, there has been significant fragmentation in the market. This fragmentation has hampered the adoption of container storage platforms by enterprises, as different solutions often seem incompatible.

In response to the fragmentation in the market, a group of leading vendors has formed the Big Six Initiative. The initiative brings together companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, and Red Hat to discuss standards and create interoperability between their respective container storage solutions. The participants have agreed on common approaches for security, networking, storage, and logging. They have also identified a set of common APIs to ensure compatibility across platforms.

The Big Six Initiative has already had a major impact on the container storage platform market. With many of the leading players on board, enterprises now have greater assurance that their investments in container storage platforms will be compatible with other vendor solutions. This has created a more stable market and opened up opportunities for new players, who can benefit from the existing common standards.

Overall, the Big Six Initiative is an important step in promoting the adoption of container storage platforms by enterprises. By providing greater interoperability, security, and scale, container storage platforms can now be implemented with greater confidence. Companies have shared their enthusiasm for this new approach and are encouraging other vendors to join the initiative.