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Lab Insight: Scalable Storage Performance for Cloud Native Applications

Executive Summary

There are two major trends occurring in IT, both of which have implications for how companies will operate and pay for their IT application needs.  The first trend is the now widespread adoption of public cloud computing, along with the use of both private and public clouds, known as a hybrid cloud.  The second is the rise of cloud native applications, which are built and operated using containers and Kubernetes.  This shift gives companies an opportunity to examine their current storage environment and determine an optimal approach to support the new environments.

The world of containers and cloud native applications is rapidly evolving and gaining traction across a wide section of companies, regardless of their industry. Evaluator Group’s recent research shows that 67% are either in production or testing to move containers into production.[1] This is due to the design of cloud native apps that enables them to run across hybrid clouds, including on premises and public cloud environments.  As a result, companies that deploy cloud native apps are better able to leverage hybrid clouds to increase their IT efficiency.

With a change in how cloud native applications utilize storage, new Container Native Storage systems have emerged that are built on a cloud native infrastructure, while existing storage has been modified to support these apps are termed Container Ready Storage.  Although storage performance is a critical factor to enable scalable cloud native applications, to date there have been few independent performance comparisons of Container Native Storage and older Container Ready Storage products.  Although vendors do provide performance data, it is often presented in such a way that makes comparisons difficult if not impossible.

Evaluator Group was asked to compare several different storage solutions for cloud native applications and evaluate their performance, scalability, manageability and ease of use.  Our testing was designed to be unbiased providing accurate comparisons. The test environment and workloads were designed to compare storage options available for cloud native applications.  Testing occurred within Evaluator Group’s test lab and was designed to directly compare three leading software defined storage offerings.  We evaluated Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation (ODF) storage, along with two other storage solutions.

A summary of the results of Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation vs. competitive alternatives:

  • Red Hat delivers higher performance than both competitors in all tests
    • Up to 3.0x performance using standard configuration (default CPU and RAM)
    • Up to 7.5x performance using optimized configuration (which utilized more of the available CPU and RAM per node)
  • Red Hat is easier to install, monitor and manage (installed and managed from OpenShift console)
  • Red Hat is highly customizable for higher performance (vs. limited customization for competitors)

[1] Evaluator Group – “Hybrid Cloud in the Enterprise” Research Study, to be released July 2021

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Related to this document:
Lab Insight: Enterprise Application Migration in Hybrid Clouds, Lab Insight: Data Protection in a Hybrid Cloud Environment, Technical Insight: Discussion of the differences of CSI implementation

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July 20, 2021

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