Dell Previews Data Protection Software for Kubernetes

At the VMworld 2019 conference this week, Dell Technologies provided a preview of how the company’s backup and recovery software will leverage open source Project Velero software to add support for Kubernetes clusters. Project Velero is based on software developed by Heptio, which was acquired by VMware late last year, and previously was known as Project Ark.

Dell EMC PowerProtect software will incorporate Project Velero, which—in addition to providing backup and recovery tools—also makes it possible to migrate persistent volumes between Kubernetes clusters. Velero uses the Kubernetes application programming interface (API) to capture the state of cluster resources and restore them whenever necessary.

Sam Grocott, senior vice president for product marketing at Dell Technologies, says adding support for Kubernetes represents another example of how his company is expanding its portfolio to embrace Kubernetes clusters in collaboration with VMware, which is a unit of Dell Technologies. Dell EMC PowerProtect software will provide an enterprise-grade tool for backup and recovery of Kubernetes clusters along with support for existing platforms, he says.

Dell is signalling it intends to make a case for extending the reach of an existing backup and recovery platform versus building a separate set of tools that IT operations teams would have to master. The need for such capability is increasing as the number of stateful applications accessing persistent storage on Kubernetes clusters continues to steadily increase.

It’s still early days as far as data protection of Kubernetes is concerned, but as the number of Kubernetes clusters running in production environments increases, backup and recovery will become more of an issue. Velero comes with a command-line interface (CLI) that makes it accessible within the context of a DevOps workflow. However, Dell is also going to make it possible for IT administrators to leverage a graphical user interface to manage backup and recovery in the same way they currently do on legacy platforms.

While Dell Technologies is leveraging its relationship with VMware to gain access to a variety of Kubernetes technologies, the company also has made it clear it intends to support Kubernetes running on multiple virtual machines as well as bare-metal servers. Organizations will be able leverage Kubernetes running across hybrid cloud computing environments to back up and recover data, as well as tap into disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offerings spanning multiple clouds to construct to ensure continuous application availability.

Dell Technologies, of course, is not the only vendor eyeing the need for data protection on Kubernetes platforms. There are startups squarely focused on Kubernetes as well as a raft of other vendors trying to extend their exising offerings to Kubernetes.

Less clear is the degree to which data protection will remain a task managed primarily by a storage administrator instead of simply becoming yet another automated process within the context of a larger best DevOps practice. Whatever the path chosen, the volume of data at potential risk on Kubernetes clusters is now increasing at exponential rates.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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