VAST Data quick-fills Kubernetes containers with file data

VAST Data has announced Kubernetes Container Storage Interface (CSI) support for its storage array operating system. This enables automated provisioning of storage to containers and will also work with Red Hat Open Shift and other container orchestration platforms.

VAST, a heavily funded venture-backed storage startup, said it can stream up to 9GB/sec of data to servers running containerised workloads. VAST claims recent customer testing showed that VAST’s CSI driver and Universal Storage system delivered three times the performance of a Pure FlashArray all-flash SAN storage system using NFS over RDMA.

VAST’s array is a solid state-based system that uses quad-level cell flash memory, Optane XPoint media and NVMEoF access to store data in a single tier and provide low latency access to it. XPoint is used as a metadata store and write buffer. VAST Data nodes are clustered from 2-10,000 stateless servers that all expose an NFS, NFSoRDMA (NFS over Remote Direct Memory Access) and S3 global namespace.

VAST added NFSoRDMA support in its September 2019 v2.0 software release. When used with the CSI interface it can stream data into single containers at nearly 9GB/sec. A Mellanox and VAST Solution Brief claims “RDMA offloads boost NFSoRDMA performance to 18.7 GB/sec per client”. 

NFSoRDMA protocol

We suggested to VAST that the NFSoRDMA protocol was quite old, being 2014-era or earlier.

VAST marketing head Jeff Denworth replied: “2014 isn’t that old, I would argue. More importantly, it’s in the kernel. I can’t begin to tell you all the customers who complain to us about using parallel file systems and the nail-biting experience it is to upgrade an OS and fear breaking the file system or vice versa.

“So we made the conscious choice to avoid this complexity by digging down into what’s already in the Linux kernel and keeping things simple all while expressing the performance of Flash to all Linux applications.

“We are only a bit unique in our use of this as we’re the only all-flash company shipping a NFSoRDMA server, but Oracle/ZFS paved the way for us on this one and I’d argue there’s more ZFS in the world by a factor of at least 1,000 vs. all the world’s high speed file systems combined.”

We understand VAST Data will add SMB support in a matter of months.