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Civo and StorageOS partner for Kubernetes in the cloud

Civo, a managed Kubernetes cloud service, selects StorageOS to provide lightweight, persistent storage for their customers' container application needs and future database storage.

Civo, a cloud-native managed Kubernetes service, chose StorageOS as its persistent storage provider in a move it says will improve the customer experience significantly.

Civo, which exited beta in April, promises fast Kubernetes cluster launch times compared to other cloud providers for quick experimentation and development. 

Utilizing the lightweight K3s Kubernetes distribution, Civo claims it can launch a Kubernetes cluster within 90 seconds.

The service also provides a marketplace of Kubernetes tools and applications, giving programmers a chance to experiment with how their applications could use the latest container tools and techniques.

Civo's subscription prices are based on the amount of processing power required and data transfer needed, with additional backup and additional storage available with persistent volumes for database uses.

StorageOS provided Civo with the storage speed needed to create Kubernetes volumes at scale and maintain application performance by developing a custom storage driver with ongoing support, said Andy Jeffries, co-founder and CTO of Civo.

Andy JeffriesAndy Jeffries

"Any sort of storage provider is naturally a layer, or worst-case a bottleneck, between the customer's workloads and the disks," he said. "We need as lightweight [a layer] as we can right there to maximize our throughput for customers."

StorageOS also provides data replication for customer clusters within the company's two data centers located in the US and Europe.

"Where Storage OS comes in is it stores multiple copies of that [customer] data and distributes it all throughout our cluster," Jeffries said. "The failure of a single piece of hardware doesn't lose customer data."

Unlike other storage providers Civo contracted with in the past, Jeffries said StorageOS is willing to work not only with Civo but its clients as well to maximize the performance of Kubernetes clusters.

"We wanted a partnership and it felt like StorageOS were really the only ones willing to work with the customers," he said. "We've been working with [StorageOS] for 18 months. We've hit limits because we're launching things a lot more frequently than most of their other customers."

As Civo continues to expand its Kubernetes offering into more complex uses, such as ongoing database storage, Jeffries expects the symbiotic relationship between Civo and StorageOS to continue.

"We have customers launching minute by minute, there's new volumes being created, volumes being destroyed, we're putting quite a lot of stress on the system," Jeffries said. "Naturally, we've come across limits even down to the Linux kernel that we didn't know existed, but StorageOS has worked with us straight away."

This partnership is enabling Civo to evolve from a developing and testing environment and into supporting production clusters, recently testing a 1,000-node cluster.

Finding the right people, on the same page as you, that's beyond price.
Andy JeffriesCo-founder and CTO, Civo

Prior to using StorageOS, Civo attempted to manage its software-defined storage through Ceph and later NetApp. StorageOS, however, provided the scalable, self-healing storage Civo needed with the support to manage at the lowest levels possible.

"It's about finding the right partner," he said. "Finding the right people on the same page as you, that's beyond price."

Companies such as Civo offer a useful testing ground for developers to experiment with Kubernetes before eventually taking their more mature apps off the cloud and into on-premises uses, said Lucas Mearian, an analyst at IDC.

Unlike other software-defined storage offerings which can use Kubernetes, such as NetApp's Astra, Pure Storage's Portworx, or IBM Red Hat's OpenShift, StorageOS' own persistent storage can operate entirely within the cloud and makes its implementation very portable, Mearian said.

"StorageOS is one of the mature startups in this," he said. "They're a relatively small company compared to the others, but they have a good offering."

The company's native Kubernetes support enables developers to work with the storage volumes directly rather than needing to worry about an intermediary person or system, said Dave Raffo, a senior analyst for Evaluator Group.

"These [Kubernetes services] were built for developers; they can go right in," he said. "In StorageOS, the developer can go right in and do it themselves. They don't have to put in a claim with their SAN admin."

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