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Dell Technologies Enhances REX-Ray for Container Interfaces

September 13, 2017

Dell Technologies announced the latest version of REX-Ray, the open source container orchestration engine that enables persistent storage for cloud-native workloads, reached a new milestone. Created by {code}, formerly {code} by Dell EMC, REX-Ray v0.10 offers the first-ever plugins enabled by the Container Storage Interface (CSI) that implement a pre-release of the CSI 0.1 specification. As a result, major cloud providers and software-based platforms are immediately interoperable through CSI. REX-Ray is the first CSI plugin implementation to stand as an early validation of the CSI specification to help progress towards industry acceptance and container orchestrator implementations.

CSI is a universal storage interface, effectively an API, between container orchestrators and storage providers that will allow predictable interoperability between the two. It is an iteration from existing integrations with lessons learned from the community and major container platforms including Kubernetes, Mesos, Docker, and Cloud Foundry. Container orchestrators adopting CSI can leverage any storage provider, cloud or otherwise, while enabling storage providers to work with any container orchestrator that implements the specification. The end result is that CSI adoption will provide applications with portability across infrastructures, helping bring choice to users, while containers become more applicable to a broader range of applications. {code} has a history of developing integrations for container platforms and is dedicated to supporting CSI to make cloud native computing ubiquitous, and to ensure storage is first-class and interoperable on behalf of applications.

"With REX-Ray, {code} is doing some important work to validate the Container Storage Interface standard we've been collaborating on to unlock the potential of the cloud-native ecosystem," said Benjamin Hindman, chief architect and co-founder, Mesosphere. "REX-Ray provides a vital service for some of the largest users on Mesosphere DC/OS, enabling them to simplify the management and allocation of persistent storage for stateful workloads across any infrastructure."

To meet the needs of enterprise users, in addition to supporting CSI, REX-Ray v0.10 offers new features and functionality, including:

•Industry-first, introduction of three native CSI storage plugins: This work represents the first three native CSI storage drivers, opening the market for more storage platform support, while also functioning as a blueprint for contributors looking to create CSI drivers.

◦The NFS plugin opens the market for storage platforms that do not have direct CSI support.
◦A block devices plugin introduces new capabilities for on-premises applications that can optimally make use of logical or physical devices local to a host.

◦Finally a VFS (virtual file system) driver that allows end-to-end CI verification of the CSI specification without the need of a separate storage provider.

•Immediate wide applicability of storage providers to CSI: Through REX-Ray's existing collection of current storage drivers (plus the three new native CSI plugins), 15 plugins are now immediately available to work with container orchestrators that adopt the CSI specification.

•Merging libStorage into REX-Ray: libStorage, an open source vendor and platform-agnostic storage framework from {code}, was absorbed into REX-Ray to simplify the process for end-user support and simplifies development of future storage drivers.

"We're in a catch-22 with containers, where adoption needs to increase to drive innovation, and innovation needs to continue to drive adoption," said Josh Bernstein, vice president of technology, Dell Technologies. "But this innovation can't exist in a vacuum—industry standards are critical to ensuring that containers are evolving, and container orchestrators are able to easily meet storage demands through a single protocol. REX-Ray's support for CSI demonstrates both our commitment to open source tools and our commitment to furthering container adoption."

{code} is the open source organization of Dell Technologies, dedicated to executing projects with complete transparency and openness. The mission of {code} is to contribute to and create open source projects, act in the interest of building a community and driving awareness of emerging technologies. The {code} Community currently has more than 4,300 members and the {code} team has shepherded 100 open source projects to date. REX-Ray is recognized by Docker as an approved, verified persistent storage solution for Docker containers and ships with Mesosphere DC/OS as the default persistent storage mechanism.

REX-Ray v0.10 is available on GitHub.

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