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By Tushar Thole, Senior Manager R&D, Storage and Availability Business Unit

Unveiled at this year’s VMworld, Project Hatchway is VMware’s persistent storage and availability platform for cloud-native applications. It enables static and dynamic provisioning of persistent storage for cloud-native applications in Kubernetes and Docker swarm environments deployed on vSphere. By tightly integrating with the software defined storage (SDS) control plane in vSphere, Project Hatchway exposes a rich set of data services. As a result, VMware customers have a wide variety of storage infrastructure choices for container environments, from hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) powered by VMware vSAN™ to traditional SAN and NAS storage.

Here’s a quick video that provides a behind-the-scenes look at Project Hatchway offerings for Docker and Kubernetes:

What’s New in vSphere Storage for Kubernetes?

vSphere Cloud Provider (VCP) in Project Hatchway exposes persistent storage and data services at a container volume granularity for Kubernetes environments. VCP has been introducing enterprise-grade storage features for Kubernetes-based deployments on vSphere with every Kubernetes release, with the upcoming Kubernetes 1.9 release being no exception. VCP now supports Kubernetes clusters that span across multiple vCenters and datacenters — a feature highly requested by VMware customers. To provide the same level of robustness that customers have come to expect from VMware products, Hatchway’s team invested a significant amount of effort in automating tests for VCP. By sharing those back with Kubernetes, VMware is now one of the biggest contributors of tests for storage subsystems.

Pivotal Container Service (PKS), also announced at VMworld, is purpose-built to operationalize Kubernetes for enterprise and service provider environments. Though not explicitly shown in the diagram below, VCP enables persistent storage for PKS via a tight integration with HCI powered by vSAN.

Project Hatchway

What’s New in vSphere Storage for Docker?

vSphere Docker Volume Service in Project Hatchway exposes persistent storage and data services at a container volume granularity for Docker environments. Apart from Docker API/CLI, it exposes ESXCLI extensions to support various Day 1 and Day 2 operations for vSphere administrators. It is among the first Docker Volume plugins that supported Windows as the container host OS – a feature we’ve improved since VMworld.

vFile, a managed plugin to enable out of the box shared file storage for cloud-native applications, was another notable VMworld announcement. Thanks to key architectural improvements, vFile workflows are now more resilient to failures. vFile has been resonating with early adopters, and feature requests have been trickling in steadily. Expect to hear a lot more exciting news on this topic in the near future.

The Road Ahead – CSI

If you’re following cloud-native storage updates closely, then the topic of Container Storage Interface (CSI) needs no introduction. CSI aims to define an industry standard that will enable storage vendors to develop a plugin once and have it work across a number of container orchestrators. Thanks to our friends at {code} team at Dell Technologies, we now have a CSI driver for vSphere that conforms to the current CSI spec(v0.1). By productizing the CSI driver for vSphere, Project Hatchway will expand the persistent storage support, which currently exists for Kubernetes and Docker-based deployments, to additional orchestrators such as Mesos and Cloud Foundry.

Project Hatchway is now included in the Cloud Native Storage category in the latest CNCF landscape. The adoption of Project Hatchway offerings is growing steadily among both customers and external developers. Every feature request or issue filed by customers helps us define our product roadmap. Be sure to keep your issues, feature requests and pull requests coming. Email us at hatchway@vmware.com.

Visit Us at KubeCon

Drop by our booth at KubeCon for demos around PKS, and communicate with us throughout the event on our VMware Code channels (#docker, #kubernetes).

Stay tuned to the Cloud-Native Apps blog for more updates on KubeCon and Project Hatchway, and follow us on Twitter (@cloudnativeapps).