Welcome to the  final blog post in our four-part series, where we look at what makes the combination of Portworx ® and Pure Storage so awesome. If you’re a virtualization or enterprise storage ninja and getting bombarded with requests or questions from a Kubernetes platform or application architecture team, then this series is for you!

In this final blog post, we’re going to wrap up and discuss how Portworx+Pure can be an absolute game-changer for you and your organization!

Recap: Bringing Proven Enterprise Table Stakes to Kubernetes

In Part 1, we went through an overview of all of the goodness that virtualization and enterprise storage has given us over the years and covered all of the operational excellence that you’ve been able to provide to the consumers in your organization. In Part 2, we covered how containerization and Kubernetes came about and how that changed the way your application and developer teams consume infrastructure. In Part 3, we covered a brief introduction to the Portworx portfolio so you understand what Portworx Enterprise, Portworx Backup, and Portworx Data Services are. We then covered in-depth details of some of the features and benefits that the Portworx platform provides—and how those benefits solve many of the common challenges that exist between the bare metal to virtualization and virtualization to containerization trends.

Why Portworx+Pure Changes the Game!

We closed Part 3 with a nice table that showed you how to draw the parallels between VMware infrastructure and Portworx+Kubernetes commonalities in your brain. Now, let’s dig in and investigate how the combination of Portworx and Pure Storage can bring simplicity and delight to your organization. Are your applications on bare metal, virtualized, containerized, or a little of everything? Are you running infrastructure on premises, in the public cloud, or in a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture? To Portworx and Pure Storage, it doesn’t matter—you should be able to benefit from the operational excellence that Portworx+Pure brings in any of these scenarios!

Core Infrastructure Operational Excellence

Operational excellence is serious stuff. After all, if you don’t have it ingrained in your infrastructure, you lose money, customers, and growth potential. Since 2009, Pure Storage has been simplifying your storage experience—from planning and installation all the way through to support and usability so you can focus on what matters the most—delighting your customers! From the high performance of all-flash, the never-ending goodness of Evergreen//One, Evergreen//Flex, and Evergreen//Forever, the AIOps capabilities of Pure1® and the capabilities to run Purity software for block storage on AWS and Azure with Pure Cloud Block Store—these all bring game-changing operational excellence for core infrastructure to your organization.

Infrastructure and Platform Teams – Unite!

In modern infrastructures today, platform engineers are to a VMware/storage admin, as VMware admins were to legacy infrastructure experts during the bare metal to virtualization trend. It takes collaboration, communication, and education to fully bridge the gaps between these teams to provide operational excellence to the consumers of your infrastructure—the developers. 

As a VMware or storage infrastructure ninja, you may have some questions running through your head. These could be:

  • What’s the best way forward to enable my platform or application teams? 
  • What if I don’t know enough about a certain cloud platform? 
  • What if I don’t know Kubernetes and can’t “speak the common language” with my platform and application teams?

I’m going to let you in on something here—this is no different than the early days of VMware and virtualization. Remember those “old school” server, network, and storage administrators who felt VMware was a drastic change to how they operated? But then as virtualization moved forward, they had to become integral parts of how infrastructure was provisioned, maintained, and used? The situation today is no different—the roles have simply changed.

In today’s DevOps practices, you’re seeing developers become more and more aware of the infrastructure they use to develop, deploy, and maintain their applications and code. But they’ll never have the depth of experience that you might have as an infrastructure ninja—so you need to be there to support and guide them along the way! This gives you a natural path to integrate and work with your platform engineering team, whom the developers rely on for providing infrastructure to run their applications. Maybe you can even see yourself moving forward in your career to platform engineering and becoming a site reliability engineer (SRE) or an architect on your platform engineering team to help develop the platforms your DevOps and application teams use!

The Portworx data platform can be an impactful and enabling tool in your toolbox to help you and your consumers moving forward in your organization, especially if you’re already a Pure customer or if you have Pure hardware in your on-premises infrastructure. Need to stand up a quick Kubernetes environment and provide enterprise features to your platform team with the performance and reliability that Pure FlashArray provides? No problem—use Portworx’s FlashArray Direct Access feature or FlashArray Cloud Drive provisioning to give them what they need! Want to stand up a small Kubernetes cluster in your existing vSphere infrastructure and provide enterprise storage capabilities to that Kubernetes cluster? Configure Portworx to use the vSphere APIs for provisioning backing VMDKs for the Portworx storage cluster, and be off and running in minutes!

If your teams have the need to protect their modernized applications and data, or provide self-service capabilities to developers for modern databases and data services—extend the enterprise storage features of Portworx Enterprise by deploying Portworx Backup and Portworx Data Services—for a holistic platform that can be used on any Kubernetes distribution—on any platform.

Cloud-native Operational Excellence

Similar to how Pure’s storage solutions bring operational excellence to bare metal, virtualized, and AWS/Azure cloud infrastructure, the Portworx platform can bring operational excellence to your Kubernetes infrastructure for tomorrow’s modern applications—regardless of platform or location. If you’re running Kubernetes, you can run Portworx!

We covered many aspects of this in Part 3 of our blog series, showing you how Portworx running on Kubernetes fills many of the enterprise gaps that exist so you can bring features and benefits to your consumers that they’re already accustomed to. As you dig deeper into cloud-native architectures, what you’ll find is that there are exponentially more projects and products that are out there which you can choose from. In comparison to virtualization with VMware packaging most everything you need into one platform/product line, there are literally hundreds of products, platforms, and technologies to choose from in cloud native—just take a quick look at the CNCF landscape!

This amazing breadth of choice means that cloud-native operational excellence can become a huge challenge for you and your organization. Interoperability and integrations between these products, platforms, and technologies can be a drag on velocity and efficiency—especially when it comes to tracking breaking changes, feature rot, open source projects that wither on the vine, or overarching changes to the way something operates or functions. Add the challenges of keeping your skill sets and knowledge up to date around several different products or projects across multiple disciplines in your organization, and at times, it can feel impossible to imagine operational excellence without a huge staff to support everything!

But there is good news here! Instead of having to learn and understand multiple cloud provider storage primitives, the feature (non)-parity that exists between them, and trying to figure out how those differences impact your platform and application teams, you can again bring simplicity and destroy that friction by using Portworx. Even if your application teams are targeting running on, say, Azure to begin with—then need to spin up applications on premises or on AWS for example—if you have the consistent storage layer of Portworx, there’s no need to worry about the lack of a feature or benefit as your application is migrated or extended to a multi-cloud architecture.

How to Get Started with Portworx

Now that you know how Portworx provides many of the enterprise features in Kubernetes environments you’ve been providing your consumers with for years, how can you get started? Head on over to Portworx Central and create an account! From there, you can sign up for a 30-day trial of Portworx Enterprise as well as a free forever version of Portworx Backup. All you will need is a Kubernetes cluster deployed with a minimum of one empty storage device per worker node for Portworx Enterprise to use as the backing storage for the Portworx storage cluster. Installation is super simple, and in most cases, you can be up and running with Portworx on your cluster and be provisioning persistent volumes to use in less than 10 minutes! From there, you’ll be able to test out and show your developers and infrastructure consumers how enterprise features can be brought to Kubernetes—no matter where you’re running or what platform you’re running on! 

Similar to how Pure brought simplicity to enterprise storage used for bare metal, virtualization, and legacy applications, Portworx can bring that same simplicity to many of the challenges that you’ll face when deploying modern applications that have persistent storage needs on Kubernetes. By meeting simple requirements such as high availability and replication of volumes in Kubernetes, to advanced configurations such as synchronous replication and 3DC deployments with Portworx Enterprise, enabling comprehensive data protection and ransomware mitigation with Portworx Backup, and providing easy modern data services deployments with Portworx Data Services, Portworx enables your teams to accelerate modern application development, reduce cost, and scale beyond what you’d get with other storage and data solutions running on Kubernetes.

Interested to see some of our Portworx products and features in action via video without having to deploy a Kubernetes cluster? Check out our Portworx YouTube channel, where you can see many of our products and features in action before you install a free trial in your own environment!  

Skilling Up as a VMware or Storage Ninja

Finally, I want to leave you with some resources in case you’re new to Kubernetes and want to learn more—after all, that’s what growing our careers is all about! First, you’ll need a decent skill set with Linux if you don’t already have that in your toolbox. The Linux Foundation has a great foundational course (LFS101x), which is free and teaches you the basics around Linux system administration. Once you have your Linux training wheels on, the next stop should be learning the basics of Kubernetes. A great place to start here is just reading the Kubernetes documentation and the concepts section. Now that you’re feeling adventurous, your last stop in getting a basic understanding of Kubernetes is to stand up your own cluster, without any of the automation aids you’ll find in platforms like EKS or GKE, and tackle Kelsey Hightower’s “Kubernetes the Hard Way.” This is how many of us got our start in the Kubernetes ecosystem—by learning from the ground up and clearly understanding all of the manual steps necessary to build a Kubernetes cluster before jumping into the automated platforms.

If you really want to build up your Kubernetes chops after going through the above, the CNCF has a great series of live exams (think VCAP in the VMware world) to prove out your Kubernetes knowledge. Now, these won’t get you to the point where you know everything and can go off and support a production environment, but they do lay the foundation so that you understand the concepts and administration of Kubernetes to build your knowledge as an SRE or a platform engineer. There are three separate certifications available: Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD), Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA), and Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS)

Personally, I tackled the CKA first, then came back around and completed the CKAD and CKS. If you’re just beginning, I’d recommend taking the CKAD first, then CKA, and then CKS (CKS certification requires that you have your CKA first anyways). There are a ton of resources out there to help you study for these exams—from paid and official Linux Foundation courses such as LFS258 to simple Udemy courses that cost no more than a few days of coffee. There are also many hands-on scenarios that you can take at sites such as Killercoda, both around Kubernetes basics, as well as exam-specific scenarios for the CKAD, CKA, and CKS. Note that once you register for the CKAD, CKA, or CKS, CNCF gives you two free sessions at Killercoda for the killer.sh scenarios associated with the exam you’re taking so you can get a feel for the types of questions and content that you’ll run into during the actual exams.

If you’re a Pure customer already, you might also want to simply engage with your sales rep and ask to talk to one of our Portworx Cloud Native Architects (CNAs). This group of folks are some of the best people I’ve worked with in my career—and are hyper-focused on being trusted advisors to the customers they talk with. They can walk you through when and where to use specific technologies depending on where you are in your journey to modernizing your infrastructure, give you heads up on specific “gotchas” you might encounter with containerization and Kubernetes, and like any good trusted advisor, will tell you if what you may be planning or thinking about could come with negative consequences that you may not see but they can due to the extensive work they’ve been doing in the Kubernetes ecosystem and helping other customers succeed.

Recap: Portworx+Pure Enables You to Delight Your Customers!

Well, we’ve reached the end of our (current) journey together during this blog series. I hope you’ve learned a few things, including how even though technology changes, such as going from VMware to Kubernetes, the concepts and needs of the enterprise really don’t change too much. It’s critical for your teams to maintain operational excellence and simplicity as you move through different technologies and stages with your business, and to be able to delight your customers at the same time. A major part of that operational excellence is you—and being able to constantly improve your skills and the toolbox you have available to solve the problems facing your business. Pure Storage and Portworx together aim to provide you with the simplicity needed to achieve greatness in your organization—regardless of where or what you’re running on your infrastructure!

Upcoming Events

We have some outstanding upcoming events for you to come and talk with us in person. If you’re attending any of them, please make sure to come by our booth and chat! Even if it’s reminiscing about the old days, new technology, or operational issues you’re having, we love having “geek-out” sessions with you and are always looking to become trusted advisors to help you and your business along your journey! We’ll also be running hands-on workshops at several of these events, so if you’re interested in getting some keyboard time in with our products, make sure to sign up!

RedHat Summit 2023 – May 23-25 – Boston, MA – Booth 616

Is your organization using or looking at using RedHat OpenShift for virtualization or containerization efforts? Come talk with us and understand how Portworx can help you accelerate application development, reduce cost, and provide amazing scalability, availability, and resiliency to your applications running on OpenShift!

AWS Summit London 2023 – June 7 – London, UK – Booth S33

AWS Summit New York 2023 – July 26 – New York, NY – Booth TBD

If you missed us at all of the regional AWS Summits last year or at AWS re:Invent 2022 and will be in London or New York this year, come talk with us about how we can make your EKS deployments more efficient and cost-effective compared to using straight EBS volumes or EFS filesystems! 

Pure//Accelerate 2023 – June 14-16 – Las Vegas, NV

At Pure//Accelerate® 2023, Pure Storage executives and world-renowned speakers will share their vision for the future, including CEO Charles Giancarlo, industry experts, and other inspirational thought leaders. If you’re able to join us in Las Vegas, Portworx will be holding a Day 0 event on Tuesday, June 13 where you can come and get your keyboard on with hands-on labs to experience Portworx for yourself. On June 14 and 15, be sure to join our breakout sessions to learn how existing customers have had success with their modern application deployments using Portworx!

KubeCon North America 2023 – November 6-9 – Chicago, IL

We love being at CNCF events and the Kubernetes energy that surrounds them! We’ll be in Chicago this year (Detroit style or Chicago deep dish?) and showcasing all of the awesomeness we’ve been working on throughout the year! This will include our Kubernetes Data Workshop where you can come in for a full Day 0 schedule of instructor-led training around all of the products that comprise the Portworx platform to see how our features and functionality can help you deliver operational excellence on Kubernetes!