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New Astra Control and Trident releases deliver superior business continuity to Kubernetes

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Sayan Saha
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The latest version of NetApp® Astra™ Control 23.07 and Astra Trident 23.07:

  • Added support for Astra Control to a widely used NetApp business continuity solution.
  • Added support for the Longhorn storage provider.
  • Optimized Trident upgrades for large-scale Kubernetes environments and snapshot import

Astra Control is an application-aware data management solution that protects, recovers, and moves data-rich Kubernetes workloads in public clouds and on premises. It enables data protection, disaster recovery, and migration for Kubernetes workloads by leveraging NetApp’s industry-leading data management technology for Snapshot™ copies, backups, replication, and cloning.

Support for ONTAP MetroCluster

Many NetApp customers use MetroCluster configurations to achieve their business continuity goals in their data centers. These configurations protect against data center failures with automatic failover for many workloads, including Kubernetes clusters with a zero RPO and near-zero RTO.

Kubernetes clusters in MetroCluster configurations are usually "stretched" between data centers manually or on top of an existing vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC) configuration. NetApp MetroCluster provides synchronously replicated datastores to vMSC and persistent storage through Astra Trident to the stretched Kubernetes cluster, as shown in the following figure.

Metro storage cluster diagram

Although MetroCluster is an excellent business continuity solution for Kubernetes, customers still need protection against other failures like accidental or malicious data corruption, deletion, bugs, or ransomware. This release of Astra Control addresses these requirements. Additionally, Astra Control Center can be deployed in a Kubernetes cluster using MetroCluster for persistent storage. Switchover and switchback operations are completely transparent and don't affect Astra’s normal Snapshot, backup, clone, and restore operations.

Simple Data Migration using SnapMirror

With this release, customers can migrate data across ONTAP clusters without needing to move their application/namespace to another K8s cluster. Customers can replicate their persistent volumes with SnapMirror across ONTAP backends using a second storage class pointing to the second ONTAP instance. Consequently, customers can now use Astra to migrate data quickly and easily, as their storage reaches capacity or for other business reasons.

Support for Longhorn as a storage provider

Longhorn is a lightweight, reliable, and easy-to-use distributed block storage provider for Kubernetes.

It is free and open-source software. Originally developed by Rancher Labs, it is now being developed as an incubating project of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

This release of Astra Control qualifies and supports Longhorn as a storage provider.

Astra Control can provide Snapshot copies, backups, restores, and clones to Kubernetes workloads using Longhorn as a persistent storage provider.

Optimized Astra Trident upgrades

Trident upgrade optimization provides higher availability. Trident can now upgrade the Trident DaemonSet pod that runs on Kubernetes worker nodes individually. In previous Trident versions, it was necessary to wait for all instances of the Trident DaemonSet pod to terminate before deploying the new version of the pod. With this enhancement, Trident can upgrade Trident DaemonSet pods with minimal downtime, even if a pod on a single Kubernetes worker node fails to terminate.

Astra Trident Snapshot import

 Snapshot import allows users to make K8s and Trident aware of storage Snapshot copies that were taken out of band, either manually in an element manager such as ONTAP System Manager or automatically via a Snapshot policy (which Trident supports).

Snapshot import also supports cross-cluster migration use cases, so that a Snapshot taken by K8s/Trident on one cluster may be imported (unmanaged) to a different cluster, where it may be used to clone volumes for independent use on that destination cluster.

Astra Trident scale improvements for large K8s deployments

Scaling improvements in Astra Trident now enables the Trident controller to communicate more rapidly with the Kubernetes API resulting in significantly faster registration of Trident node pods with the Trident controller pod. Additionally, consumers of the Trident controller API will be given a Retry-After header, preventing superfluous retries that would otherwise exacerbate the issue.

Other enhancements

Astra Control also offers these enhancements as part of this release.

  • Use uPN for user ID for LDAP/AD configuration. With this release, Astra Control's user management can alternatively use the “userPrincipalName” (uPN) as the email ID. This field normally looks like an email address because it is usually username@fullqualifieddomainname. This alternative way can be used via an optional parameter available during LDAP configuration. Because it's an optional parameter, it doesn't need to be used where both uPN and email IDs are populated.
Input section for server details
  • Execution hooks for replication after failover. Astra Control provides a set of execution hooks for executing custom-application-specific actions before or after performing various data management operations like Snapshot copies, backups, and restores. This release provides a new type of execution hook to execute custom actions when a failover (and failback) is done using NetApp SnapMirror® that is integrated with Astra. This new post-failover execution hook has the same purpose as a post-restore execution hook: all additional actions that can be automated to complete a successful restore/failover of Kubernetes applications. 
Add execution hook input section

Summary

This Astra Control update delivers exciting new app data management functionality and addresses many customer pain points associated with Kubernetes data protection. Free trials are available for Astra Control. Sign up for a free trial to get started today.

Sayan Saha

Sayan Saha is a product executive with open-source software product management experience spanning Linux-based platform software, containers, Kubernetes, high-availability/clustering software, virtualization, hyper-converged systems, and software-defined storage. At NetApp, he runs product management for Astra—a fully managed (SaaS) multihybrid cloud data management platform for Kubernetes applications. Before NetApp, he was a product management leader at AWS and Red Hat, where he led cloud file storage, distributed storage, and Kubernetes storage products.

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