BLOG: NetApp Astra

November 22nd, 2021 BLOG: NetApp Astra
Carlos L. Marques
Enterprise Architect


Cloud-first companies are adopting Kubernetes for container orchestration and optimization, allowing them to create, deploy, and operate cloud-native applications. However, managing data for Kubernetes is challenging. NetApp is working to change this by controlling complexity with a new suite of data management tools called Project Astra.

NetApp Project Astra is a Kubernetes-native, software-defined platform for application and data portability that includes Astra Control, Astra Trident, and Astra Data Store. Astra Control and Trident are used for Kubernetes data management, and Astra Data Store is used for Kubernetes native storage.

The Astra suite of solutions helps with data management of Kubernetes cloud workloads. Astra provides cloud data services for scalability across on-premises and hybrid cloud environments. With Astra, companies can easily manage, protect, and move data-rich Kubernetes workloads between on-site environments and the public cloud.

The main goal of NetApp Astra is to simplify the consumption of storage while managing the end-to-end lifecycle for workloads. Astra provides key data services for applications, including analytics and dev/test.

Mainline is happy to offer NetApp Astra, and we have worked with some of our clients on Trident projects. At Mainline, we want our customers to have a choice of where to run their workloads reliably while taking advantage of rich data management functionality. We appreciate that Astra allows Kubernetes users to leverage the infrastructure of their choice while protecting their data.

Here’s an overview of the 3 solutions in the NetApp Astra suite and their use cases:


Astra Control


Containerized applications are difficult to back up, recover, and replicate. Astra Control solves this problem by delivering a robust set of storage and application-aware data management services for stateful Kubernetes workloads. These services are powered by NetApp’s trusted data protection technology.

Astra Control manages, protects, and migrates data-rich Kubernetes workloads in both public cloud and on-premises environments. By leveraging NetApp’s industry-leading data management technology for snapshots, backup, replication, and cloning, Astra Control enables data protection, disaster recovery, and migration for your Kubernetes workloads. Astra Control is available both as a fully managed service and self-managed software.


Astra Trident


The challenge of providing persistent storage for stateful applications prevents many companies from broadly adopting containers, slowing their process of digital transformation. Companies want to deploy applications and have these applications tell storage what they need. Astra Trident delivers data connectivity to persistent data stores for Kubernetes applications.

The connectivity delivered by Trident allows Kubernetes applications to communicate with storage while delivering flexibility from a deployment and orchestration perspective. Trident is a Kubernetes Container Storage Interface (CSI) driver, which is deployed as a free open source offering from NetApp.

The solution integrates natively with Kubernetes and its Persistent Volume framework to seamlessly provision and manage volumes from systems running any combination of NetApp’s ONTAP, Azure NetApp Files service in Microsoft Azure, Cloud Volumes Service for AWS, or Cloud Volumes Service for GCP.

Trident offers a unique level of flexibility and visibility as the first out-of-tree, out-of-process storage provisioner that works by monitoring events at the Kubernetes API Server. Trident uses a unified interface to orchestrate across multiple platforms simultaneously. Instead of tying a request for a persistent volume to a particular system, Trident selects one based on the higher-level qualities that the user is looking for in its volume.


Astra Data Store


NetApp recently announced a preview of Astra Data Store, the newest addition to the Astra Project family. Data Store provides a virtual storage array for Kubernetes environments so that companies don’t need to implement an external array.

Astra Data Store breaks ground as one of the first to provide Kubernetes-native shared fie services, which are integrated with data management function and are offered as a software-defined solution.

Astra Data Store is a unified data storage platform for file and block storage, containers, and virtual machines. This scalable, resilient platform offers automatic enterprise-level data management for all Kubernetes workloads.


Astra Use Cases


Astra has many valuable use cases for Kubernetes users, including those for data protection, disaster recovery, and application development.

Data Protection
Astra enables companies to take application-aware snapshots for local data protection. If data gets deleted or becomes compromised, applications and associated data can be reverted to a previously recorded snapshot in the same Kubernetes cluster.

Disaster Recovery
Astra provides remote backup for disaster recovery. A full application-aware backup of an application and its state can be used to restore the application and associated data to a different Kubernetes cluster. Astra addresses your company’s disaster recovery requirements by allowing you to restore to a cluster in the same or a different region.

Application Portability
Astra uses instant active clones to provide application portability for cloud bursting and migration. An entire application, along with its data, can be moved from one Kubernetes cluster to another, regardless of where the clusters are located.

Building Applications
Astra can support any containerized workload with a full set of enterprise data management services and tools, allowing you to build mission-critical Kubernetes applications. Applications can also be built as service platforms for DevOps. Astra makes it possible to create flexible, software-defined platforms, which provide automated, repeatable services, simplifying the developer’s job.


More Information:

As a NetApp Star partner, Mainline delivers enterprise storage solutions that are efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. Our top-level partnership assures clients that we maintain the stringent Star partner certification requirements across the NetApp storage family of products, plus we are backed by a strong relationship with the NetApp team. For more information on how we can help you, contact your Mainline Account Representative directly, or reach out to us here with any questions.


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