Latest PowerFlex Ecosystem Updates

By Simon Stevens, PowerFlex Engineering Technologist, EMEA. December 2021.

The past year has seen a huge increase in the amount of ecosystem integrations that have been announced for PowerFlex. Our Solutions Development team have been busy all year round, working on multiple whitepapers, deployment guides and solutions briefs that help our customers to achieve better business outcomes. Even over the past few weeks, with the Christmas and New Year holidays fast approaching, the pace of updates has not relented – in fact, there have been several recent announcements that I want to highlight in this blog. I have chosen to highlight a couple of recent announcements that highlight key trends and themes that are currently at the forefront of the minds of those in charge of implementing innovation in their datacenters.

PowerFlex Certified for Amazon EKS Anywhere

Amazon EKS Anywhere allows Amazon EKS customers to create and operate Kubernetes clusters on customer-managed infrastructure that is supported by AWS. Being able to have the same Kubernetes experience on-prem that customers already have in the public cloud is now a major driver in public cloud strategies. As such, EKS Anywhere is part of AWS strategy to move services on-prem to any infrastructure, and the recent certification means that PowerFlex can now be used as one of those infrastructures supported by AWS.

Having this certification extends the reach of PowerFlex in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments, as summarized in the table below:

Table 1: PowerFlex Validations for Hybrid Cloud/Multi-Cloud Use Cases

More details about EKS Anywhere partners can be found here: https://aws.amazon.com/eks/eks-anywhere/partners/

Dell Container Storage Modules (CSMs) 1.1 Released

If you have not heard about the Dell Container Storage Modules over the past 18 months – where have you been ??! The Container Storage Modules (CSMs) build on top of the Container Storage Interface (CSI) foundation to deliver robust and powerful enterprise storage capabilities for Kubernetes clusters. CSMs are software modules for storage management that go beyond CSI functionality for a number of Dell EMC Storage platforms, including PowerFlex. These are open-sourced, yet they are also fully supported by Dell Support.

The latest version of the CSMs were released at the start of December 2021, these have a number of key updates which are relevant to PowerFlex customers:

  • Dell EMC CSI driver updates to align with the 1.5 CSI Specification.
  • Support for Kubernetes 1.20/1.21/1.22
  • Support added for SLES 15 SP3
  • Support for ReadWriteOncePod Access Mode – Allows volumes to be mounted as read-write by a single Pod.
  • CSI Driver for PowerFlex Standalone Helm Chart – This decouples the CSI Driver for PowerFlex Helm chart from the installation script.
  • CSI Driver for PowerFlex Volume Group Snapshot (VGS) Enhancements – This gives the ability to move from a snapshot group name to a group ID for PowerFlex.
  • There is also a new verify script to help with installation, additional VGS related fields are now returned in “kubectl get” and updates for troubleshooting.

Complete details of this version of the CSMs, as well as the download of the CSMs can be found by referring to the CSM GitHub landing page here: https://github.com/dell/csm . It is also worth looking at “The Why?”, “The What?” and “The How?” series regarding the CSMs that my colleague Itzik Reich has previously blogged about – find his “The Why?” article (with links to the “What” and “How” articles included) here : https://volumes.blog/2021/10/13/introducing-dell-container-storage-modules-csm-part1-the-why/

It can be seen that, when making a choice for their on-premise infrastructure, customers need to know that they are selecting a platform that is both validated and fully supported for use in hybrid cloud use cases. Customers who choose PowerFlex can be safe with the knowledge that not only do they have a highly scalable, highly reliable block storage platform that provides amazing levels of performance, they also are fully invested in a storage platform that is has been tested and validated for use in todays multi-cloud environments.

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