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Project Astra and the cloud native applications ecosystem

Rajeev Chawla

Project Astra unlocks the power of Kubernetes to accelerate developer agility, drive business productivity and enhance IT operational efficiencies. We are excited to see Project Astra hit a major milestone and progress to an expanded preview stage. Early access customers included leading companies from diverse fields ranging across digital entertainment, biopharmaceutical, telco, and online media. We are grateful for their valuable feedback to help improve our product and prioritize features on the roadmap.

A central tenet of Project Astra is application centricity. The lack of an agreed-upon application construct in Kubernetes and the cloud-native ecosystem makes app and data (that belongs to the app) management a challenge. We saw this as an opportunity and worked on providing a rich set of easy to use application data management capabilities from Project Astra. As we’re edging closer to general availability, we’d like to start discussing our initial application integration targets and partnerships as well as offer a picture of where we’re headed beyond. More to follow on that after a brief reminder of Project Astra basics.

Project Astra, at inception, is built upon our industry-leading enterprise storage Cloud Volumes service offerings at AWS, Azure, and Google public clouds, and our open-source persistent storage provisioner and orchestrator for Kubernetes (Trident). It also includes sophisticated application discovery and lifecycle orchestration logic to offer a hosted aaS experience delivering holistic application data management.

Project Astra in the cloud (infographic) In subsequent versions, we’ll expand to leverage our proven enterprise-class data storage solutions on-prem, and to include the debut of an upcoming Kubernetes-native ONTAP powered software-defined storage solution. project astra kubernetes native storage solution (infographic) While Project Astra provides data management for all Kubernetes hosted stateful applications, it delivers the most powerful capabilities for a range of tightly integrated applications. Its application-centric approach to provide consistent data management (for example, snapshots, backup, clone, and application + data portability) for Kubernetes applications starts with building upon NetApp’s industry leading and enterprise proven data management capabilities to create instant space-efficient snapshots & clones, to backup to cloud storage, and to simply and efficiently move and migrate them across availability zones, regions, clouds, and in hybrid scenarios from on-prem and back.

Project Astra data management process (infographic) It builds from there to discover and discern the relationships between persistent volumes and other components, such as configmaps and secrets, that comprise application state.  And to intelligently sequence operations to ensure application consistency when establishing point in time encapsulations of their state and storage. We’re working on deep integration with popular and leading stateful applications, such as relational databases, NoSQL databases, event streaming platforms, and continuous delivery platforms, to bring application-consistent data management operations.

Project Astra for Kubernetes control tower Here is what some of the leading ISV vendors have to say about Project Astra:

It's one thing to stand-up another instance of your applications in some separate infrastructure, but it's a whole other matter to make sure the data that goes along with those applications (for example, large binary artifacts, relational / analytical data, and pipeline definitions) is there ready to be used. We are pleased to work with NetApp and partner with them on Project Astra to simplify application data management challenges in the context of Jenkins.
- Anders Wallgren, VP of Technology Strategy, CloudBees

We are delighted to see Project Astra bring consistent data management to stateful applications running on Kubernetes. We are looking forward to working with NetApp on data management challenges, in particular, backup and DR, for our enterprise-ready event streaming platform used by companies to run their business in real time.
- Sid Rabindran, Director, Technology Partners, Confluent  
NetApp's Project Astra elegantly maps the complexity of a Kubernetes deployment into the storage fundamentals of replicate, backup, and restore. By understanding the application architecture, we can all work together to make data and storage management fit the elasticity of Kubernetes while delivering operational simplicity.
- Sam Ramji, Chief Strategy Officer, DataStax

Astra is a great technology which helps simplify storage provisioning and stateful workload mobility in a cloud native world. We are delighted to be working closely with NetApp on Astra’s tight integration with the Iguazio Data Science Platform and apply Astra benefits to modern AI/ML workloads and hybrid clouds.
- Yaron Haviv, Co-Founder and CTO, Iguazio   Partners are an integral part of how we think about the Kubernetes applications ecosystem and we are excited to work together with the evolving cloud-native ecosystem to forge powerful and complete solutions. Together we will offer proven solutions to our customers as they deploy their cloud native applications on Kubernetes.

Join us at these INSIGHT 2020 sessions on Project Astra to learn more.

Sign-up here to request participation in the Project Astra preview program.

Rajeev Chawla

Rajeev is a Sr. Director of Product Management in the NetApp's Cloud Data Services BU. Prior to NetApp, Rajeev was at VMware where he led the integration of CloudVelox technology into HCX. Rajeev joined VMware via the acquisition of CloudVelox where he was co-founder and Chief Product Officer. Rajeev brings over fifteen years of experience as an entrepreneur and an R&D leader. Rajeev is a holder of 20 US patents and several awards. He received a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi.

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