Meet Arrikto and its Rok container storage backup software

Arrikto, a small California startup, has devised a form of shared storage for Kubernetes-orchestrated workloads. It claims customers can save 64 per cent of AWS costs by running a 100TB Cassandra cluster in AWS using Arrikto’s Rok software, as opposed to Amazon’s Elastic Block Store.

Rok uses local NVMe SSD storage on a cluster node to provide persistent storage to containers. The node is located on-premises or in a public cloud.

Rok snapshots the application’s containers, stores those snapshots in S3-compatible storage and enables sharing across a global infrastructure.

Arrikto snapshots can migrate a containerised workload – apps plus data – across machines in the same cluster or across distinct locations and administrative domains over a decentralised network. This facilitates collaboration.

Rok lives on the side of the local storage stack and acts as a global data distribution layer that makes cloud-native apps permanent and portable. The software-only thin data services layer abstracts the underlying persistent storage and provides instant, parentless clones and snapshots.

Rok distribution layer concept

Customers can take immutable group-consistent snapshots of their applications and keep them in a backup store such as AWS S3. Combined with Rok’s instant cloning, recovery from hardware failure for this setup is quoted in minutes regardless of the stored volume’s capacity.

Rok Registry

Rok Registry is operated via a single pane of glass where customers can search, discover, and share datasets and environments with other users. Users create private or public groups and can define fine-grained access control lists.

Rok Registry brings together many Rok instances in a peer-to-peer network. The management tool does not store the actual data – merely references to data.This allows Rok instances to exchange snapshot pieces over the network. Only the changed parts traverse the network when users create new snapshots.

There is no vendor lock-in and customers can use any type of hardware for compute and storage. They can also move to the cloud provider of their choice, or move among different cloud providers.

Cost reductions

A Cassandra cluster running in AWS typically uses Amazon’s Elastic Block Store (EBS). Let’s envisage a 100TB Cassandra cluster on AWS that uses Rok store, with NVMe SSDs local to each instance. Arrikto claims this is 64 per cent cheaper per month, with a 51x read IOPS advantage. Here is Arrikto’s table:

The same setup on Google Cloud results in a 32 per cent cost advantage for Rok, according to Arrikto.

Citing performance and cost-savings, the company strongly recommends NVMe-backed instances combined with Rok.

Not a virtual SAN

From a data protection point of view, think of Arrikto as being akin to Kasten‘s K10 software, which provides backup and recovery for cloud-native applications and application migration across heterogeneous environments. Arrikto has pretty much the same functionality.

Kasten CEO Niraj Tolia, tells us: “We believe that Arrikto and Kasten occupy separate places on the data management spectrum. Arrikto is focused on primary storage [and] states that it is focused on fast storage for Kubernetes and, like all traditional storage vendors, providing supporting snapshots and cloning is a core part of any storage system’s functionality. 

“… It is critical to have data protection provided by a completely separate system with its own fault domain. This is why Kasten focuses on cloud-native backup, works with a variety of storage vendors, and provides customers the freedom of choice of selecting the best storage vendor for their environment (cloud or on-premises).”

Like Arrikto, Portworx provides storage and data protection for containerised applications. It also offers high-availability, backup, continuous replication and disaster recovery, on top of basic storage provisioning.

Rok does not provide a virtual SAN, such as provided by StorageOS. Apps running in each node in an Arrikto cluster can only access their local storage. They cannot access the SSDs running on another node.

Arrikto background

Arrikto – Greek for ‘explosive’ – was founded in Palo Alto by CEO Constantinos Venetsanopoulos and CTO Vangelis Koukis in 2014. They were engineers in the Hellenic Army and subsequently involved in building the Greek Research and Technology Network’s large-scale public cloud infrastructure.

Funding totals $4m, with a $2m seed round in 2015 and a $2m round in 2019.

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