Storage and Containers: New Technologies, New Problems

MARCH 4TH, 2021

Application development and deployment has gone through some major changes with the rise of container-orchestration tools like Kubernetes. These tools let developers focus on building software and delivering value, make it easier to move applications to the cloud, reduce variables, and make it easy to reuse code. But one challenge that comes with containers is storage. But let’s start by defining containers.

What Are Containers?

Containers are applications that bundle all dependencies, libraries, and configuration files into a single package. That makes it easier to spin up new container instances and simplifies moving containers from one computing environment to another. That’s a big help to developers. It makes it possible to move an application from a testing environment to a live production environment and to migrate from a physical machine to a cloud-based virtual machine. That’s why IDC projects that by 2023 over 80 percent of workloads will shift to or be created by containers.

Because containers don’t get bogged down by differences in operating systems and software versions, they are incredibly flexible and portable. That makes them a perfect fit for many cloud applications. And, as more and more computing and storage moves to the cloud, containers are likely to become a core technology for today’s organizations. But, while container orchestration tools like Kubernetes deliver exceptional scalability and portability, they don’t quite deliver when it comes to data storage.

Storage On Kubernetes

Storage on Kubernetes is difficult. First, a Kubernetes architecture is very dynamic. Containers are quickly spun and can be quickly taken down depending on the developer's goals. While containers have a relatively short lifespan, storage is permanent. That means storage can’t live by the same rules as containers—continuous creation and destruction.    

With more and more enterprises adopting containers, data protection is becoming a critical issue. And, as these enterprises use containers in testing environments before deploying new applications, they are finding out that unexpected things can happen during that migration and deployment. That makes backing up your data critical.

Containers and Backups

As more and more containers are put into use, more and more data will be created that needs to be backed up and stored. Because containers are typically used for testing and development, their lifespans are usually shorter than the lifespan of the data they create. Whether for compliance or other reasons,  that data needs to be stored and protected long after a container is taken down.

Backing up containers isn’t a time-based process, with scheduled backups every few minutes or hours. Instead, backing up containers is more event-driven. So, if you make changes to a container but don’t get the results you expect, you need to be able to get back to the previous state fast. So you need a backup taken of that previous state to which the container can be restored. All of these issues have led to container backups becoming a key priority for IT and developer teams.

Container Storage Solutions

Here’s what you can do to make sure your data is stored, backed up, and protected when using containers. Start by assessing the data requirements for each containerized application. Also, make sure you have protocols in place that stop container data from being needlessly overwritten. Finally, be sure you are aware of every container’s security and access requirements in your environment.


While containerization has been a big enhancement to application development, you need to think about your storage, backup, and protection strategies for your containerized data. Dealing with the storage issue today will help ensure your container-based development doesn’t have a downside. Learn more about how StorageCraft can help you back up and protect your data by talking to a StorageCraft engineer.

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