By Olli Walsdorf, Technical Marketing Engineer, Cloud and Compute Infrastructure Group
How MinIO Cloud Scale Storage benefits from Infrastructure as Code
With the rise of hybrid cloud scale storage, solutions that use both local on-prem and offsite storage resources are getting more popular. Hybrid deployments are the new normal and every cloud scale storage vendor has a solution for it. Popular use cases for hybrid cloud scale storage are disaster recovery, data protection, capacity management, or data management.
But not every storage solution fits into the area of hybrid cloud storage. Comparing SAN, NAS, and Object Storage, each technology has its pros and cons but only Object Storage has the advantages of “speaking” the same language as public cloud, is endlessly scalable and has the low cost price tag you need for large unstructured data.
Cisco has been working for over a decade with the most popular cloud scale storage vendors and created intelligent solutions to help customers build a hybrid cloud scale storage solution. With Cisco Intersight and the option of using Infrastructure as Code (IaC), building such solutions is getting simpler and more straight forward. We released several Cisco Validated Designs for cloud scale storage deployments that use IaC:
- Design and Deployment Guide for Scality RING 8 + Scality NAS Archiver on Cisco UCS C240 M5 with Cisco Intersight and Terraform
- Design and Deployment Guide for Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 on Cisco UCS C240 M5 with Cisco Intersight and Terraform
As we move to a hybrid cloud world where flexibility, elasticity, and scalability are key, changes or so-called day-2 operations for cloud scale storage become more and more important. It starts with a simple deployment, installation, and configuration on day 0/1 but evolves quickly when you need to scale-up (adding disks in a node) or scale-out (adding nodes to an already running cloud scale storage solution). You might make these changes locally in your on-prem solution first, but then move your applications together with the compute and storage to a hybrid cloud environment.
Cisco Intersight and MinIO – Cloud Scale Storage Operations automated by HashiCorp Terraform
One of the things I like when working with storage and tools is the ability to automate. Another one, is a lightweight cloud scale storage solution in combination with the first approach. The first one comes with Cisco Intersight in combination with Terraform Infrastructure as Code and the second with MinIO.
MinIO is a high performance, distributed object storage system. It is software-defined, runs on Cisco UCS and is 100% open source. MinIO is different in that it was designed from its inception to be the standard in private/hybrid cloud object storage. Because MinIO is purpose-built to serve only objects, a single-layer architecture achieves all of the necessary functionality without compromise. The result is a cloud-native object server that is simultaneously performant, scalable and lightweight. While MinIO excels at traditional object storage use cases like secondary storage, disaster recovery, and archiving, it is unique at overcoming the challenges associated with machine learning, analytics, and cloud-native application workloads.
The key to success is the Cisco Intersight platform and its interface to Infrastructure as Code (IaC) via Terraform. In October 2020 we released the first version of the Terraform Provider for Cisco Intersight. After subsequent improvements and integrations into the provider, you can now run Terraform either as a local entity or use Intersight Service for HashiCorp Terraform (IST). The first approach is helpful when working in a closed environment, the second when simplifying your IaC strategy across your hybrid cloud operations, securely integrating your on-premises environment with Terraform Cloud Business.
Now Terraform and Cisco Intersight play very well together when it comes to Day-1 and Day-2 operations with Intersight Service for HashiCorp Terraform. On Day 1 you would create policies and profiles with Terraform and deploy the profiles to the specific nodes with a Terraform plan. Once done, the operating system and hardware is configured and prepared for MinIO installation. Whereas the MinIO installation is really a very simple step, you could also call the MinIO Ansible module within Terraform to go with a truly fully automated IaC approach for the complete solution.
Intersight is the cloud-based lifecycle management platform for Cisco UCS. With Intersight Cisco UCS servers and storage are treated as infrastructure resources that can be allocated and reallocated among application workloads for more dynamic and efficient use of server capacity. The combination of Cisco Intersight and Cisco UCS gives you all the flexibility, elasticity and scalability we talked about in the beginning.
So, what are then typical day-2 operations for Cisco UCS together with MinIO?
- Scale-up your MinIO cluster by adding more disks in the Cisco UCS system.
- Scale-out your MinIO cluster by adding more Cisco UCS systems to the MinIO cluster.
- Add network bandwidth by enabling additional network ports in the network interface to avoid bandwidth constraints.
- Replace a failed disk in the Cisco UCS system.
- Replace a failed node in the MinIO cluster.
Now all these typical Cisco UCS day-2 operation steps can be automated through Cisco Intersight and the Terraform provider for Cisco Intersight as well as Intersight Service for HashiCorp Terraform.
There are a lot of details in how we configure this automation, and our White Paper illustrates the day-1 and day-2 examples. I have also made a short video with some examples how to do Day-2 operations with Cisco Intersight, Terraform and MinIO.
What does it mean for me?
The storage world has evolved alongside customers’ sophistication in managing their IT operations. Once organizations evolve to a hybrid cloud architecture, Cisco Intersight together with Terraform can not only simplify typical Day-2 operations by automating processes but also help in bringing up a Day-1 environment easily. MinIO makes deploying and operating cloud-scale storage solutions for hybrid cloud environment easier.