LINSTOR is officially part of OpenStack

It’s Official. LINSTOR Volume Driver is Now a Part of OpenStack Cinder.

It’s Official. LINSTOR volume driver is now part of OpenStack.

With this code merge, LINSTOR volume driver is now officially part of OpenStack and brings a new level of software-defined-storage (SDS) service to Cinder, the OpenStack’s volume service. 

While the next OpenStack release named ‘Stein’ won’t be out until April, the latest LINSTOR driver is already available on our GitHub repo.

Stay tuned for more news and updates from LINBIT.

Server Maintenance

Minimize Downtime During Maintenance

System maintenance, whether planned or in response to failure, is a necessary part of managing infrastructure. Everyone hopes for the former, rather than the latter. We do our system maintenance quarterly here at LINBIT in hopes that the latter is avoided. These maintenance windows are where we install hardware and software updates, test failovers, and give everything a once over to ensure configurations still make sense.

Normally in the case of planned maintenance, users are left waiting for access while IT does whatever they need to do. This leads to a bad user experience. In fact, that is precisely what lead to this blog post. I was looking for a BIOS update for a motherboard in the server room and was presented with this lovely message:

We are sorry!

I just had a bad user experience. And to further the experience, I have no indication as to when it will be back up or available. I guess I’m supposed to keep checking back until I get what I was looking for… if I remember to.

Here at LINBIT we use DRBD for all of our systems. This ensures that they are always on and always available for the end users and our customers. If for some reason you landed on this site and aren’t familiar with DRBD, DRBD is an open source project developed by us, LINBIT. In its simplest form you can think of it as network raid 1, however instead of having  independent disks, you have two (or more if you’re using DRBD9) independent systems. You essentially now need to lose twice the hardware to experience downtime of services.

One commonly ignored or unrealized benefit of using DRBD is that system maintenance and upgrades can be done with minimal to no interruption of services. The length of the interruption is generally tied to the type of deployment – for example if you’re using virtual machines, live migration can be achieved using DRBD resulting in no downtime. If you’re running services on hardware and they need to be stopped and restarted, your downtime will be limited to the failover time.

So how do we do this? Let say you have two servers; Frodo and Sam – Frodo is Primary (running services) and Sam is Secondary. In this example we need to update the BIOS and upgrade the RAM of our servers. Follow these steps

  1. First put the cluster into maintenance mode
  2. Next power off Sam (the secondary server)
    1. We can now install any upgrades or hardware we need to
    2. Power the system up, enter the BIOS and make sure everything is OK
    3. Reboot and update the BIOS
  3. Boot Sam into the OS
    1. At this point you can install any OS updates and reboot again if needed
  4. Once Sam is back up and everything is verified to be in good condition, bring the cluster out of maintenance mode
  5. Now migrate services to Sam – again depending on how things are configured this may or may not cause a few seconds of  unavailability of services
  6. Repeat steps 1-4 for Frodo

There you have it, one of the better kept secret benefits of using DRBD.

CSI Plugin for LINSTOR Complete

This CSI plug-in allows for the use of LINSTOR volumes on Container Orchestrators that implement CSI, such as Kubernetes.

Preliminary work on the CSI plugin for LINSTOR is now complete and is capable of operating as an independent driver. CSI is a project by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation which aims to serve as an industry standard interface for container orchestration platforms. This allows storage vendors to write one storage driver and have it work across multiple platforms with little or no modification.

In practical terms, this means that LINSTOR is primed to work with current and emerging cloud technologies that implement CSI. Currently, work is being done to provide example deployments for Kubernetes, which should allow an easy way for Kubernetes admins to deploy the LINSTOR CSI plug-in.  We expect full support for Kubernetes integration in early 2019.

Get the code on GitHub.

business-server-woman-SDS

OS driven Software-Defined Storage (SDS) with Linux

In the tech world, a “layered cake” approach allows IT shops to enable new software capabilities while minimizing disruption. Need a new feature? Add a new layer. But like “too much of a good thing,” this approach has caused the IT stack to grow over the years. Software layer bloat and complexity can lead to poor system performance.

Keeping all the layers of a tall stack version-tested and conflict-free can be both complex and costly.  This is especially the case when you deal with virtualization and containers. You want VM-native and container-native semantics and ease of use, but you also want speed, robustness, and maintainability. What’s the best path? Do you add a new layer, or add functionality to existing layers?

LINSTOR uses existing features

There is a better way. The idea is to fully leverage the functionality that already exists and has been taken through its paces. So, before adding anything, users should see what features are natively supported in their environment. You can start with the OS kernel and work your way up. We went through this analysis when we built LINBIT SDS and LINSTOR.

It turns out there is a lot of SDS-type functionality already inside the Linux kernel and the OS. Software RAID adds drive protection, LVM does snapshotting; there is replication, deduplication, compression, SSD Caching, etc. So, no need to reinvent the wheel when building a storage system. But these efficient and reliable tools need to be presented in a VM-native or container-native way so that the software is easy to use and fits the way users interact with VMs or containers. This is where LINSTOR comes in.

Integrations to Kubernetes and OpenStack

LINSTOR is a Linux block device provisioner that lets you create storage pools, defined by which Linux block storage software you want to use. From these storage pools you can easily provision volumes either through a command-line interface (CLI) or your favorite cloud/container front-end (Kubernetes, OpenStack, etc). Simply create your LINSTOR cluster, define your storage pool(s), and start creating  resources where they’re needed on-demand.

With LINSTOR, you can:

  •       Scale out by designating nodes as controllers or satellites
  •       Display usage statistics from participating nodes
  •       Define storage pools for different classes of storage
  •       Set security/encryption for volumes
  •       Deploy in Non-Converged or Hyper-Converged infrastructures
  •       Define redundancy for each volume
  •       etc.

In short: you can do everything a more complicated SDS product provides, but in a lighter weight, more maintainable, faster, and more reliable fashion.

Don’t just take our word for it. In a recent report titled, “Will the Operating System Kill SDS?“, Storage Switzerland covers this approach.

 

Try it out. Test it. Play with it. Commit code to it. Send us your feedback. As always, we’d love to hear from you about how you use the software so that we can make the software better in future revs. Our goal is the same as it has been for nearly 20 years. We are reducing the cost and complexity of enterprise storage by enabling customers to choose Linux for their back-end storage in any environment.

 

Building on open-source software and leveraging the capabilities in the Linux kernel results lower TCO, always-on apps, and always-available data for enterprises everywhere.

Greg Eckert on Linkedin
Greg Eckert
In his role as the Director of Business Development for LINBIT America and Australia, Greg is responsible for building international relations, both in terms of technology and business collaboration. Since 2013, Greg has connected potential technology partners, collaborated with businesses in new territories, and explored opportunities for new joint ventures.

LINBIT USA Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

mission-critical-10yr-linbit

Customers are Recognized as Key to Business Success

Beaverton, Ore., September 6, 2018 LINBIT USA, the pioneer in open source High Availability (HA), Disaster Recovery (DR) and Software-Defined Storage (SDS), has reached a milestone this September, celebrating 10 years of business in the Americas. Recognizing the deep collaboration with its customers, LINBIT USA credits its loyal customer base as a critical component for driving its tremendous growth over the last decade.

After developing the company’s flagship HA software, DRBD(R), in 2001, Philipp Reisner, CEO of LINBIT, founded the company in Vienna, Austria. After years of break through performance, DRBD was integrated into the Linux kernel in 2009. Today, DRBD has over 2 million downloads and is the foundation for LINBIT’s expansion into the SDS and Container space.

LINBIT USA was established in 2008 to offer development, consultancy, 24/7 support, and OEM/ISV integration services in North, Central and South America and boasts an impressive enterprise customer list of names, such as Cisco, Microfocus, CN Rail, Bechtel, Adamson Systems, Performance Matters and TruckPro.

TruckPro, with over 150 retail locations in 33 states, relies on LINBIT for resiliency. “Uptime is very important for our business and anything we can do to quickly recover from any issue is paramount,” said Henry SantaMaria, Director of Infrastructure at TruckPro. “Our investment [in LINBIT’s software] yielded a noticeable increase in performance and stability which we did not have before.”

“It gives me great pride in joining LINBIT employees, clients and business partners in celebrating the 10th anniversary of LINBIT USA, said Brian Hellman, COO of LINBIT and head of LINBIT USA. “We have accomplished a great deal since the business started, and as the company continues to thrive and expand, we are very excited about our future. Our customers have made us who we are today.”

Read the LINBIT USA Anniversary blog for a look back on the history of LINBIT.

About LINBIT

LINBIT is the force behind DRBD and the de facto open standard for High Availability (HA) software for enterprise and cloud computing. The LINBIT DRBD software is deployed in millions of mission-critical environments worldwide to provide High Availability (HA), Geo Clustering for Disaster Recovery (DR), and Software Defined Storage (SDS).

 

mission-critical-10yr-linbit

LINBIT USA Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

LINBIT US is celebrating a decade of service and growth. 10 years ago, we started our journey with you from a newly established office in the pacific northwest. In that time, we have moved into new offices, grown our team 4 times in size, built some really great software, and most importantly, met, collaborated with, and served some of the most sophisticated customers along the way. Here’s a snapshot of some of the major milestones told in the present tense.

2010: Our bread and butter has always been High Availability. LINBIT HA software, DRBD, is now in the Linux mainline kernel since 2010, as of release 2.6.33. This promises to be a standout event that makes enterprise-grade HA a standard capability within Linux and puts the open source community on par with the best of proprietary systems out there.

2015: Fast forward to 2015. LINBIT is a company that is actually being talked about as the best solution for huge enterprises! Hundreds of thousands of servers depend on the replication that DRBD provides. All our customers are doing really cool work. And some of them are very well known, such as Cisco and Google. We are forming strong partnerships across North and South America– think RedHat and Suse.

New Horizon: Disaster Recovery

2016: Not only is the LINBIT HA product a success, but our new product focused on disaster recovery, DRBD Proxy, is  proving to be incredibly useful to companies who need to replicate data across distances. LINBIT is having wonderful success in providing clients peace of mind in case a disaster strikes, or perhaps a clumsy admin pulls on some cables they weren’t supposed to be pulling on! Oh, and we can’t forget our fun videos that go along with these products: LINBIT DR, LINBIT HA, and LINBIT SDS.

More in 2016: The official release of DRBD9 to the public. A huge move for enterprises looking to have multiple replicas of their data (up to 32!). Now, companies can implement software-defined storage (SDS) for creating, managing and running a cloud storage environment.

New Kid on the Block: LINSTOR

2018: Now that SDS is a feature, many clients are looking for it. LINBIT is making it even easier, and plausible, with the release of LINSTOR. With this, everything is automated. Deploying a DRBD volume has never been easier.

2018: At this point we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that LINSTOR has Flex Volume & External Provisioner drivers for Kubernetes. We now provide persistent storage to high performance containerized applications! Here is a LINSTOR demo, showing you just how quick and easy it is to deploy a DRBD cluster with 20 resources.

Now: A new guide describes  DRBD for the Microsoft Azure cloud service. We have partners and resellers who have end clients running Windows servers that need HA. One of our engineers even created a video of an NFS failover in Azure!

What else? There is almost too much to say about the past 10 years and the amount of growth and change is astonishing. However, at our core, we are the same. We believe in open source. In building software that turns the difficult into fast, robust, and easy. In our clients. In our company.

“We are grateful”

During a conversation at Red Hat Summit this year, LINBIT COO Brian Hellman was asked how long he had been at LINBIT.  “I replied ‘10 years in September.’ The gentleman was surprised; ‘That’s a long time, especially in the tech industry’.  To which he replied, ‘I love what I do and the people I work with — Not only the members of the LINBIT team, but also our customers, partners, and our extended team.  Without them we wouldn’t be here, they make it all possible and for that we are grateful.”

To whomever is reading this, wherever you are, you were part of it. You ARE part of it! So a big thank you for reading, caring, and hopefully using LINBIT HA, LINBIT DR, or LINBIT SDS. Cheers to another 10 years!


Kelsey Swan
Kelsey turns her personal passion for connecting with people into a supporting LINBIT clients. As the Accounts Manager for LINBIT USA, Kelsey engages with customers to provide them with the best experience possible. From Enterprise companies, to Mom and Pop shops, Kelsey ensures the implementation of LINBIT products goes smoothly. Doing what is best for the client is her #1 priority.

LINBIT Supports High Availability for Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services Users

Proven Open-Source High Availability For Leading Cloud Platforms

Beaverton, OR, August 14, 2018 – LINBIT, the pioneer in open source High Availability (HA), Disaster Recovery (DR) and Software-Defined Storage (SDS), today announced the general availability of LINBIT HA software on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2). Protecting block data and creating always-on applications in the cloud is a growing need, but it is not automatic and requires software infrastructure tools such as those provided by LINBIT. The public cloud services market is projected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 and LINBIT HA fills a critical need in the cloud market by supporting cloud user’s storage availability requirements without installing proprietary software.

Typical HA offerings from cloud providers generally only recover from failures at the virtual machine level. LINBIT HA goes beyond that to  recover applications from any failure that impacts application execution, including application level failures. itself. This makes LINBIT’s open-source software compelling for both cloud providers and cloud end-users.

“Microsoft has worked closely with LINBIT and is excited that it has expanded its technology to support High Availability needs for Azure Linux customers,” said Hosung Song, Senior Software Engineer, working in Azure Compute, Open Source Software Workloads Innovation Team.

“LINBIT software supports always-on applications and always-on data in OS-native and VM-native, and now Cloud-native environments,” said Brian Hellman, COO of LINBIT. “We are excited to support high availability for end-users of both Azure and EC2.”

LINBIT has created a new tech guide and video which demonstrate how to cluster any Linux distribution in Azure using the LINBIT DRBD software, which has been a part of the Linux kernel for almost a decade. With a few simple clicks, users can create and configure an HA NFS cluster using Microsoft’s quickstart template.

“Digital transformation means the kind of availability and scalability that can keep up with increasing storage demands,” said Phillip Reisner, CEO of LINBIT. “With more than 1.7 million downloads of the DRBD software, LINBIT is proud to deliver robust open source solutions that are imperative to keeping the digital world running.”

About LINBIT
LINBIT is the force behind DRBD and the de facto open standard for High Availability (HA) software for enterprise and cloud computing. The LINBIT DRBD software is deployed in millions of mission-critical environments worldwide to provide High Availability (HA), Geo Clustering for Disaster Recovery (DR), and Software Defined Storage (SDS) for OpenStack and OpenNebula based clouds.

https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3871416

LINBIT Announces Open-Source Persistent Block Storage for Kubernetes

LINBIT SDS supports MariaDB and can create, remove, snapshot, and replicate Kubernetes storage volumes for Enterprise and Database Applications.

Beaverton, OR, July 26, 2018, LINBIT, the de facto standard in open source High Availability (HA), Disaster Recovery (DR), Software-Defined Storage (SDS), and the force behind the renowned DRBD® open-source software, today announced the general availability of LINBIT SDS for Kubernetes, which includes container-native persistent block storage for stateful applications and support for the MariaDB database. LINBIT SDS is an open-source storage management solution that relies on LINSTOR, a feature-rich volume and configuration management software, and DRBD, the robust in-kernel data replication software. LINSTOR takes advantage of DRBD, a part of the Linux kernel for nearly a decade, to deliver fast and reliable data replication.

Kubernetes is the industry’s most popular container orchestration tool in scale-out, elastic, or cloud environments. MariaDB is a leading open source relational database management system that is used by many enterprise customers. Kubernetes users can now easily run database applications inside containers, relying on fast Linux block storage for application performance, data resilience, and service availability. “For IT organizations and engineering teams using Kubernetes, LINBIT SDS is a great way to save time and money,” said Brian Hellman COO of LINBIT. “Before considering proprietary vendors, take a look at what your Operating System can do natively.”

LINBIT SDS provides a host of capabilities to manage persistent block storage for Kubernetes environments. It supports logical volume management (LVM) snapshots, which enhance application availability while minimizing data loss; thin provisioning, which improves efficient resource utilization in virtualized environments; and configuration management, which simplifies tasks such as adding, removing, or replicating storage volumes. View the LINBIT video that demonstrates using Kubernetes to deploy LINSTOR provisioned persistent volume for MySQL deployments.

About LINBIT
LINBIT is the force behind DRBD and the de facto open standard for High Availability (HA) software for enterprise and cloud computing. The LINBIT DRBD software is deployed in millions of mission-critical environments worldwide to provide High Availability (HA), Geo Clustering for Disaster Recovery (DR), and Software Defined Storage (SDS) for OpenStack and OpenNebula based clouds.

container native storage

Container-Native Software Defined Storage (SDS) from LINBIT

Container-native technologies represent the next wave of efficiency for data centers. Just like previous waves, a new technology points to new levels of efficiency and delivers some of it, but as you get deeper into it, you see opportunities to optimize how it works. And after a while longer, you see it. You see how the whole thing could have been done in a “native” way to get the most out of it. This is pretty typical. Technology often hits its mark only after the first few revisions. When it comes to containers, we are now getting to that stage across the industry. “Container-native xyz” is now possible and can bring maturity and speed.

At LINBIT, we have seen the needs of the DRBD community evolve over time. Starting with data replication in clusters, customers welcomed an open source alternative to proprietary paths towards high availability (HA): always-on applications and always-available data. That model was later expanded to provide geo-clustering: geographically distributed resources that provide LINBIT DR.

Market feedback: Need for flexible storage management

HA and DR are environments that, by necessity, pay special attention to data and storage. They provide a front-row seat to how data management and storage management technologies are changing. We saw early on that LINBIT users have growing needs for flexible provisioning, configuration management, and cluster management, without sacrificing data availability and application up-time. LINBIT’s entry into the SDS world was natural and motivated by addressing that need: flexible storage management with built-in HA and DR.

LINBIT SDS provisions, replicates, and manages data storage independent of hardware, enabling the use of commodity hardware in addition to open source software, an important objective for many data centers. Today, LINBIT SDS is a successful player in the SDS market. Additionally, LINBIT is an enthusiastic member of the open source OpenSDS Project, making it easier and more cost-effective for the millions of DRBD users to implement SDS solutions.

Putting all of that in the context of container technologies, it became clear a couple of years ago that a container-native implementation of LINBIT SDS would be an emerging need. That led to the announcement we made recently focused on a major addition to the LINBIT product suite: LINSTOR, which adds support for Kubernetes and OpenShift environments.

Reduced costs for cluster storage

LINSTOR fills a significant gap in the market by providing container-native block storage, which as you may know, is especially important for enterprise/database applications. LINSTOR can also provide data persistence for elastic applications, which dynamically create or remove containers depending on the load.

With LINSTOR, enterprise and database applications can benefit from container technologies while preserving data even when a container is eliminated. This can reduce the cost and complexity of deploying scale-out cluster storage.

Just as virtualization changed how storage can be configured and managed, container technologies demand a new approach. LINBIT SDS and LINSTOR provide that.

By simplifying storage cluster configuration and ongoing management, then plugging into cloud and container front-ends, users get the resilient infrastructure they need while retaining flexibility to choose vendors. For example, using a pool of Linux storage, system administrators can set the number of nodes, the number and size of storage volumes, and number of replicas. LINSTOR does the rest and builds the environment, eliminating the complex and error-prone process of manually setting up cluster configuration files for each individual server.

As always, we’d love to hear from you if you are using or are interested in using LINSTOR and LINBIT SDS. We are proud that LINBIT users scale from small shops to  large enterprises; to universities and government agencies . We’re committed to delivering always-on/always-available/always-efficient technologies.

LINBIT joins the Open Source OpenSDS Project

(Press release originally posted at www.linuxfoundation.org.)

With 1.7 million downloads, LINBIT Represents the Largest Community of Open Source Mission Critical Workloads

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018), May 1, 2018 – The OpenSDS Project, an open source community addressing software-defined storage integration challenges with the goal of driving enterprise adoption of open standards, today announced that LINBIT, a longtime leader of open source technologies, has joined OpenSDS. OpenSDS is a Linux Foundation hosted project.

The OpenSDS Project is comprised of storage users and vendors, including Dell EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Western Digital, Vodafone, NTT Communications, Toyota ITC, Yahoo! Japan, and Oregon State University. The project seeks to collaborate with other upstream open source communities such as Cloud Native Computing Foundation and OpenStack, as well as industry organizations such as Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). LINBIT’s contributions to OpenSDS will offer seamless integration of DRBD remote data replication in OpenSDS.

“Being responsible for mission critical applications, the LINBIT community has always defined the frontline of the open source momentum in the enterprise,” said Steven Tan, chair of the OpenSDS Technical Steering Committee and VP and CTO Cloud Storage Solutions at Huawei. “We welcome LINBIT to the OpenSDS Project, and look forward to offering its trusted Linux technologies to the OpenSDS community”

“Cloud and container technologies present new challenges for efficient storage management, as do digital transformation and the increasing value of data assets,” said Philipp Reisner, CEO of LINBIT. “LINBIT is ideally positioned to address these challenges, building on its decades of experience with always-on, always-available technologies and leveraging the advanced development work that we are doing with erasure coding, highly available message queuing (HA-MQ), and geo-clustering via highly available network address lookup (HA-DNS).”

In a related announcement, LINBIT launched the public beta release of LINSTOR, a major new addition to its SDS product portfolio for the growing containerized applications space. With container-native block storage, LINSTOR fills a significant gap in the market to provide data persistence for elastic applications with support for Kubernetes and OpenShift environments.

The OpenSDS technical community hosts discussions on a dedicated mailing list: [email protected] For more information about OpenSDS, please email [email protected].

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and industry adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information at www.linuxfoundation.org

Sebastian Schinhammer
Sebastian brings his experience in marketing to the table. As Marketing Manager at LINBIT he cares especially about content marketing, brand appearance and public relations. He fills brands with life telling engaging stories. Sebastian strives for his marketing efforts being helpful information or great entertainment rather than all bark but no bite.