As Kubernetes continues to rise in popularity, vendors are trying to make data protection on the open-source container management platform easier for IT administrators who may not have comprehensive knowledge of the technology.
Several Kubernetes data protection vendors, including Kasten by Veeam and CloudCasa by Catalogic, launched product updates this week at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon or just before it. Notable trends in product releases included automation and expanded support across the container ecosystem.
Third parties, simplicity crucial for data protection
Krista Macomber, an analyst at Evaluator Group, pointed to an October research report from her firm that shows more than half of about 300 responding businesses use Kubernetes in production. While Kubernetes applications are designed for resiliency, capabilities built in for backup and operational recovery are often lacking, Macomber said. That's why organizations need third-party Kubernetes data protection.
"It's very important with ransomware and all of the other cyberattacks that organizations are facing today. They're not leaving these applications exposed, especially as they're beginning to move into production," Macomber said.
Kasten, CloudCasa, Portworx by Pure Storage and Trilio are among the top vendors focused on Kubernetes data protection and management, Macomber said. However, she noted that more traditional vendors, such as Dell and Veritas, have started to build in protection for Kubernetes workloads.
Simplicity is important for data protection in Kubernetes environments, which can get complicated and complex.
"This is a big pain point we at Evaluator Group have experienced when using open-source tools for Kubernetes data protection -- that third-party tools can address," Macomber said.
Recent Evaluator Group research showed an uptick in protection of Kubernetes workloads, with 74% of organizations implementing some form of it. However, less than half of the organizations that reported they protect Kubernetes are doing it with a third-party product, Macomber said.
Kasten K10 adds automation, support
Kubernetes is still new for organizations from SMBs to enterprises, said Gaurav Rishi, vice president of product and partnerships at Kasten by Veeam.
"So not only are [companies] working in a diverse environment, I think they're finding that they have a skills gap, which would make things operationally complex," Rishi said. "The operations team members don't have all the skills. And so I think the industry is screaming for help in terms of Kubernetes-native tools that can help address this gap."
That general lack of knowledge is one of the foundations of the release of Kasten K10 v5.5, which the vendor unveiled Tuesday. The product update, which is expected to be generally available later this year, features new autonomous operations capabilities and expanded support across workload types, geographic regions, storage types and security.
Users can factor in their application's non-peak hours and accordingly specify a backup window. This type of feature can take some of the burden off administrators at organizations that don't have Kubernetes specialists.
"We want to make sure that we're not putting the onus on the ops team members to fine-tune manually the job windows," Rishi said. "You just set these backup windows. But after that, we take care of making sure that we schedule and stagger jobs if needed."
K10 v5.5 also provides a guided UI to generate suitable install commands.
"IT staff is being tasked with a lot, particularly as data protection teams must work alongside the business to build resiliency against cyberattacks like ransomware," Macomber said. "It's important for them to find avenues to streamline mundane tasks out of their day-to-day. The automation also helps to reduce human errors that could create compliance or security holes."
In addition, K10 v5.5 supports Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization, which lets users run and manage VM and container workloads side-by-side on OpenShift. The product update also adds support for OpenShift Container Platform 4.10, Kubernetes 1.23, Azure Files as a backup target, and Azure managed identities, plus additional regions for AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
Catalogic extends CloudCasa to GKE
On Oct. 11, Catalogic extended CloudCasa, its cloud native backup-as-a-service platform, to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). The integration adds to the company's multi-cloud data protection portfolio that already includes Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Amazon's Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).
The update of CloudCasa also included the addition of Any2Cloud Recovery, a feature that restores the backup of any cluster to cloud along with support for private links. It provides private connectivity between clusters, backup storage, and the CloudCasa service without exposing customer traffic to the internet, according to a press release.
Sathya Sankaran, COO at Catalogic and founder and general manager of CloudCasa, said that with Kubernetes users on the rise, there was a growing overlap between cloud and Kubernetes customers.
Macomber said that app developers and IT ops are looking for application and data migration across Kubernetes distributions and want flexibility in what clouds they're running in and recovering to.
"They want to be able to support the 'big three K' areas and be able to recover from EKS to AKS," she said.
Enrico Signoretti, head of research product strategy at GigaOm, said an advantage of CloudCasa is its versatility -- a compelling aspect for data migration and recovery.
"You can back up your data in an environment, and now you could replicate this environment," he said.
Sankaran said the company is seeing growth in subscriptions for CloudCasa. From July to September 2022, 200 new customers signed up for its free version, which includes up to 100 GB and backup resources, persistent volume snapshots, and a limited number of monthly security scans. CloudCasa also offers monthly Starter, Pro and Pro+ plans at $199 for 1 TB, $699 for 5 TB and $1,499 for 20 TB respectively.
"We want to have between 5% to 20% of our free users effectively converted into paid users," he said.
Other CloudCasa updates included automated backup and recovery for Azure Files on AKS; protection for native (non-CSI) persistent volumes on AKS, EKS and GKE; and traffic restriction to private links and private container registries.
Macomber said that support for private link connections without internet connectivity is an interesting feature from a security standpoint.
"Bad actors are becoming more and more innovative and resourceful in the ways that they find to penetrate the environment, which means a multi-layered approach to security that addresses the perimeter is important," she said.
Portworx, Trilio also enhance Kubernetes data protection
Portworx by Pure Storage has added a fully managed version of its Kubernetes storage management software with Portworx Enterprise as a Service.
This new service, available now, automates creation and deployment of storage for Kubernetes customers and works with a variety of Kubernetes orchestration services, both managed or customer controlled, including EKS and OpenShift.
Debuting alongside Portworx Enterprise as a Service are two additional capabilities: PX-Fast and Near-Sync DR. Both are available now in preview.
PX-Fast adds high data throughput and IOPS capabilities using NVMe drives to the Kubernetes data management service. Near-Sync DR provides backup and recovery times for data under 24 seconds even from geographically separated data centers.
These services and capabilities will roll into Portworx Enterprise 3.0, the next version of Portworx, which enters preview this week. A Portworx spokesperson said Enterprise 3.0 will become generally available in April 2023.
In addition, Trilio last week launched the general availability of its Continuous Restore. The capability lets users continuously stage data in multiple heterogeneous clouds, which improves recovery time objectives, according to the vendor.
Continuous Restore is available in the TrilioVault for Kubernetes v3.0, which launched last week. The update to TrilioVault extended support for OpenShift, which includes its managed service offerings on AWS and Microsoft Azure. TrilioVault for Kubernetes v3.0 also integrates with Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, which provides fleet management.
TechTarget Editorial's Tim McCarthy contributed to this report.