Cloud Native Applications

Comprehending Cloud-Native Storage Solutions and its Key Features

Chandan Gaur | 01 October 2021


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Introduction to Cloud-Native Storage

Cloud-native is a new paradigm for developing and running software applications that incorporates technological trends such as cloud computing, containerization, serverless, and microservices. Cloud-native storage is a type of storage technology that is intended to be used in a cloud-native environment.

A cloud-native storage platform manages data for stateful applications and solves ongoing data storage challenges in Kubernetes or other cloud-native infrastructure-based cloud-native environments. Object storage solutions in a distributed architecture can be based on modern object storage technology, block storage, or traditional disc drives.

To make the deployment process easy and run the application in high availability, cloud-native development is necessary. Click to explore about, Managing Cloud Native Workloads

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation describes the nature of cloud-native tools and environments, which most cloud-native storage solutions mimic (CNCF). The features are scalability, high availability, vendor neutrality, security, resiliency, manageability, observability, declarative deployment, and API-based automation.

What are the key features of Cloud-Native Storage?

The basic key features of Cloud-Native Storage are mentioned below:


It must be available in high demand. Storage System has the feature through which it also accesses the data even when the event is failed - whether in the transmission system, storage medium, controller, or other components. Storage Availability provides three elements :

  1. On other storage devices, it maintained the replicated copies of data.
  2. In any case of Failure, the redundant devices handle the failover.
  3. Failed Components can be healed and restored.

There are several metrics for measuring availability:

  1. Recovery time object (RTO)- It is the time from failure to the restoration of service.
  2. Recovery point objective (RPO): how recent is the latest copy of data? It affects most of the data that can be lost in the case of failure.
  3. Percentage of uptime: % of the total time the service is up and available.
  4. Meantime between failures (MTBF): how often faults occur
  5. Meantime to recovery (MTTR): how much time it takes the service to recover from failure.
A Cloud-Native database is a sort of database service which is used to build, deployed and delivered through cloud platforms. Click to explore about, Cloud Native Databases on Docker and Kubernetes


Cloud-Native Storage can be scalable easily. The storage system scalability can be defined in four dimensions:

  1. Client Scalability: through which we have the ability to increase the strength of clients and users who access the storage system.
  2. Throughput Scalability: ability to run with more throughput, which is measured in MB/sec or GB/sec, or using the same interface for a large number of operations per second.
  3. Capacity Scalability: it has the ability to increase the storage capacity of storage systems in a single deployment
  4. Cluster Scalability: it has the ability to increase the storage components by adding more components as needed

Storage Performance

It should support predictable, scalable performance and service levels which are typically measured from the following perspectives.

  1. Time to Complete Read/Write Operation.
  2. A maximum number of storage operations per second.
  3. Throughput of data can be stored or retrieved in MB/s or GB/s.


Cloud-Native Storage considered support consistency as follows:

  1. After the write, update, or delete operations, read operations should return the correct and updated data.
  2. The system should be called "strongly consistent" if there is no delay between the modification of data and the availability of new data to read operations by clients.
  3. The system is "eventually consistent" if there is a delay until read operations return the updated data.

In a Consistent system, read delay can be considered a recovery point objective (RPO) because that represents the most data loss in case of component failure.

Cloud-Native database delivers a scalable, reliable database solution. Click to explore about, Types of Databases and Cloud Native Databases


It should be durable because it protects the data against any loss. It goes beyond accessibility which describes the system's ability to ensure that the data remains can be stored for an extended period. Some factors affect the durability of a storage system:

  1. Layers of Data protection, such as several data copies available.
  2. Level of redundancy- local redundancy, redundancy to a remote site, redundancy over public cloud availability zones, & redundancy over regions.
  3. Durability characteristics of storage media- for example, SSD, rotating disk, tapes.
  4. System's ability to detect corruption due to the component failure, wear out of social media & so on & automatically reconstruct or restore corrupted data.

Dynamic Deployment

Dynamic deployment is the final desired criteria for cloud-native storage systems that can deploy or provision them quickly as per requirement. It can also be deployed and instantiated in a variety of ways, which includes

  1. Hardware Deployment:- Physical storage equipment deployed in the data center. It uses this deployment model to build standardized components which can be added to the cluster with no special configuration, swapped, and removed when needed.
  2. Software Deployment:- Storage components defined as a software component on commodity hardware, devices, or cloud instances. For both local and cloud environments, cloud-native software solutions can typically be installed. Some software-defined storage systems are built as containers & can be deployed automatically using orchestrators.
  3. Cloud Service:- These cloud services should be managed by the public cloud providers & delivered as a service, with the abstraction of the underlying storage implementation. By using a web interface or API, the user provisions new instances or additional storage.
Today's cloud ecosystem features a kind of various cloud strategies designed to suit organizations. Click to explore about, Multi vs Hybrid vs Hybrid Multi-Cloud vs. Private Cloud

Models of Cloud-Native Storage Solutions

The best solutions to cloud-native storage are defined below:

Cloud Storage for Public

Public Clouds can provide a range of cloud-native storage options, which including object storage (such as Amazon S3 or Azure Blob Storage), cloud-based file shares ( such as Amazon EFS or Azure Files), and managed disk attached to compute instance ( such as Amazon EBS or Azure Managed Disks)

Cloud Storage for Business

Whenever organizations build private clouds, they often turn to commercial cloud storage services that provide easy scalability, high reliability, and convenience. Most of the services offer post-production support and operations & maintenance (O&M) services. As demand for cloud-native storage grows, private cloud infrastructure vendors offer the most mature cloud-native interfaces that allow on-premises resources to consume cloud storage.

Storage Services that is self-maintained

Mainly two types of storage service companies can build in-house: block storage and simple file storage. Ceph RBD & storage area networks (SAN's) are relatively considered mature solutions for block storage. However, due to their complexity, they often require specialized support and maintenance teams.

Services like GlusterFS, NFS, and CephFS provide file storage services for those companies who decided to create their own distributed storage systems. As NFS is relatively mature, which is insufficient to address the high-performance application requirements. GlusterFS and CephFS are often unable to meet the performance and reliability needed for mission-critical applications.

A new trend in on-premises cloud-native storage is S3 compatible storage--local storage devices that support the S3 API.

The basic difference between SQL vs. NoSQL vs. NewSQL Click to explore about, SQL vs NoSQL vs NewSQL: The Full Comparison

Local Storage

There are so many use cases in cloud-native applications which doesn't make any sense to use a distributed storage service. Two most common cases in which edge devices or components in a cloud-native system use local storage:

  1. Databases: cloud-native applications still use the traditional databases, both SQL and NoSQL. In many cases, cloud-native storage provides the throughput and the high performance required for production databases. So databases may be already be replicated or set up for redundancy, making high availability built into cloud-native unnecessary.
  2. Caching: In most cases, components use local storage as a cache for temporary information, which is not necessary to persist to protect the data. Ephemeral storage is the most common example used by the containers, which is erased when the container shuts down.
Managed Kubernetes is an open-source system, for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized and microservices applications. Click to explore about, What are Managed Kubernetes Services and Solutions?

Addressing Infrastructure Challenges

Managed Kubernetes services can help to reduce the complexity and skills required to manage large container deployments. When IT professionals evaluate their technology roadmaps, one of the essential criteria is streamlining the infrastructure that supports Kubernetes workloads. On their cloud-native shortlists, many Kubernetes users included their current storage and cloud vendors. Then it appeared that users were having difficulty narrowing that list.

Cloud providers exposed block storage through storage classes and dynamic provisioning with the rise of managed Kubernetes. Customers could connect to AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes, Azure managed discs, Google Persistent Disks, and Kubernetes worker nodes running on AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure. This provided an advantage to cloud providers.

When asked which cloud-native storage services they use, Kubernetes users cited Amazon EBS, Google Persistent Disk, and Azure Disk Storage as the most popular. In many cases, StatefulSets enabled cluster workloads to access the cloud provider's block storage. As they are widely used, the block storage from large cloud providers was not explicitly designed for Kubernetes workloads.xenonstack-cloud-native-infrastructure-challenges

Customers of traditional storage companies were far more likely to complain about storage issues. For example, 46 percent of Pure Storage customers reported difficulties with container-related storage, compared to 27 percent of the average Kubernetes user. While some were considering established companies, open-source projects were top of mind for those looking for new storage options. When compared to the average respondent, the 27 percent of Kubernetes users who faced storage challenges were more likely to consider Rook (26 percent vs. 16 percent ), Ceph (22 percent vs. 15 percent ), Gluster (15 percent vs. 9 percent ), OpenEBS (15 percent vs. 9 percent ), and MinIO (13 percent vs. 9 percent ). These open-source efforts were notable for not being motivated by a desire to sell hardware.

Users were more likely to cite storage challenges for traditional storage companies and the newer breed of uniquely cloud-native storage offerings. While many users of newer offerings, such as MayaData'sOpenEBS, Minio, and Portworx, reported storage issues, they most likely referred to problems connecting legacy data stores. On the other hand, traditional storage companies addressed their customers' concerns by implementing new approaches such as CSI.

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