Rancher Labs’ Cloud-Native Container Storage Solution Longhorn Released

Open source software provider Rancher Labs, enabling organizations to deploy and manage Kubernetes at scale, has announced the general availability of Longhorn, an “enterprise-grade”, cloud-native container storage solution.

“As enterprises deploy more production applications in containers, the need for persistent container storage continues to grow rapidly,” said Sheng Liang, CEO of Rancher Labs. “Longhorn fills the need for a 100% open source and easy-to-deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes storage solution.”

Storage for Kubernetes

Sheng Liang
“Longhorn fills the need for a 100% open source and easy-to-deploy enterprise-grade Kubernetes storage solution,” said Sheng Liang, CEO of Rancher Labs.

Longhorn would increase developer and ITOps efficiency by making persistent storage easy to deploy with a single click, and without the cost overhead of proprietary alternatives. It would also reduce the resources required to manage data and operate environments, “enabling teams to focus on shipping code faster, and delivering better applications.”

Longhorn is 100% open source, distributed block storage built using microservices. Since the product was released in Beta in 2019, thousands of users have battle-hardened Longhorn by stress-testing the product as a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox project.

The version of Longhorn now released would deliver a rich set of enterprise storage features, including:

  • Thin-provisioning, snapshots, backup, and restore
  • Non-disruptive volume expansion
  • Cross-cluster disaster recovery (DR) volume with defined RTO and RPO
  • Live upgrade of Longhorn software without impacting running volumes
  • Full-featured Kubernetes CLI integration and standalone UI

Users can leverage Longhorn to create distributed block storage mirrored across local disks. Longhorn also serves as a bridge to integrate “enterprise-grade” storage with Kubernetes by enabling users to deploy Longhorn on existing NFS, iSCSI, and Fibre Channel storage arrays and on cloud storage systems like AWS EBS, all the while adding useful features such as application-aware snapshots, backups, and remote replication.

Longhorn Availability

Rancher Labs has a long history of collaboration with storage system vendors including NetApp, EMC, and Pure Storage. And with software-defined container-native storage vendors including Portworx, StorageOS, and OpenEBS.

“Our support of Longhorn does not change our partnership with our storage partners who offer numerous additional capabilities beyond Longhorn,” added Mr. Liang. “We believe, by being 100% open source and easy-to-deploy, Longhorn will help bring additional persistent workloads into the Kubernetes ecosystem and help drive further demand for advanced storage systems.”

Participants in a recent Longhorn user survey cited its simplicity, ease-of-use, and one-click deployment capabilities as key differentiators. They also praise Longhorn’s built-in multi-cluster back up to external storage and DR as unique benefits, eliminating the need for ITOps, DevOps, storage Admins, and developers to invest time and resources provisioning dedicated third-party storage infrastructure.

Existing Rancher users can install Longhorn from Rancher’s app catalog. Longhorn is also free to download and use, and customers looking for support can purchase a premium support model with the same SLAs provided through Rancher Support Services. There are no licensing fees, and node-based subscription pricing would keep costs to a minimum.

Demonstrating the company’s commitment to storage, the Longhorn engineering team has grown three-fold, and as Longhorn further matures, it would become ever more tightly integrated with Rancher Labs’ central ‘Run Kubernetes Everywhere’ strategy.

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