Rancher Labs Longhorn Selected as CNCF Sandbox Project
October 31, 2019

Rancher Labs announced that The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has accepted the company’s vendor-neutral container storage solution - Longhorn - as its latest Sandbox project.

Longhorn joins 20 other current projects and was accepted in recognition of the unique value it brings to the cloud-native ecosystem.

As enterprises increasingly look to use containers to manage stateful apps -- any program that saves client data from the activities of one session for use in the next session – they require support for persistent storage. However, the market for persistent storage is still nascent with complexity and a lack of enterprise capabilities as key challenges. Longhorn helps teams manage stateful workloads in Kubernetes by providing a solution for persistent storage that can be deployed easily while dramatically simplifying use and management.

Liz Rice, CNCF TOC Chair, commented: “Storage is an important area of the Cloud Native landscape, so I'm delighted that Rancher are contributing Longhorn to the CNCF. By becoming a CNCF Sandbox project, Longhorn can help the open source community accelerate the maturity of persistent block storage solutions for Kubernetes.”

Key capabilities of Longhorn (currently v0.6.2) include enterprise-grade distributed block storage, volume snapshots, built-in backup and restore, live upgrades without impacting running volumes, cross-cluster disaster recovery with defined RTO and RPO, one-click installation, and an intuitive user interface. Deploying Longhorn as persistent storage for Kubernetes brings three benefits:

- Simplicity. Longhorn is much simpler than traditional storage software. Longhorn implements its enterprise-grade storage features with only 30,000 lines of Go code, including both the data plane (Longhorn engine) and the management plane (Longhorn manager). Longhorn is lightweight because Rancher builds on storage technologies that already exist in the Linux operating system. The speed and capacity of modern storage hardware like SSD and NVMe also led to a greatly simplified design.

- Easy-to-use. Most users interact with Longhorn through its free UI, and it exposes a storage class for easy provisioning of replicated volumes. Longhorn can be installed and upgraded with a few clicks, without needing to first read all of the documentation to understand every nuance. The Longhorn UI not only offers visibility into storage volumes, but it also helps teams understand the Kubernetes workload that created the volume.

- Built-in multi-cluster backup and DR. Longhorn protects data at multiple levels. As enterprise-grade distributed storage, Longhorn replicates data synchronously across multiple nodes. Users can create snapshots directly in primary storage and revert to previous snapshots from the UI. They can also make backups of snapshots to secondary storage and recover the volume to the same cluster or a different one. Users can even create a read-only asynchronous replica in a different cluster, making it possible to quickly recover data and the application in case of a cluster failure.

Sheng Liang, CEO, Rancher said: “Longhorn’s contribution to the CNCF represents Rancher’s long-term commitment to the wider cloud-native eco-system and the Kubernetes community in particular. We’re indebted to the thousands of users who have already experimented with Longhorn and have provided valuable feedback over the years. Becoming a CNCF project will increase the awareness of Longhorn and accelerate its development velocity.”

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