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Get higher availability with Regional Persistent Disks on Google Kubernetes Engine

May 23, 2018
Palak Bhatia

Product Manager

[Editor's note: This is one of many posts on enterprise features enabled by Kubernetes Engine 1.10. For the full coverage, follow along here.]
Building highly available stateful applications on Kubernetes has been a challenge for a long time. As such, many enterprises have to write complex application logic on top of Kubernetes APIs for running applications such as databases and distributed file systems.

Today, we’re excited to announce the beta launch of Regional Persistent Disks (Regional PD) for Kubernetes Engine, making it easier for organizations of all sizes to build and run highly available stateful applications in the cloud. While Persistent Disks (PD) are zonal resources, and applications built on top of PDs can become unavailable in the event of a zonal failure, Regional PDs provide network-attached block storage with synchronous replication of data between two zones in a region. This approach maximizes application availability without sacrificing consistency. Regional PD automatically handles transient storage unavailability in a zone, and provides an API to facilitate cross-zone failover (learn more about this in the documentation).

Regional PD has native integration with the Kubernetes master that manages health monitoring and failover to the secondary zone in case of an outage in the primary zone. With a Regional PD, you also take advantage of replication at the storage layer, rather than worrying about application-level replication. This offers a convenient building block for implementing highly available solutions on Kubernetes Engine, and can provide cross-zone replication to existing legacy services. Internally, for instance, we used Regional PD to implement high availability in Google Cloud SQL for Postgres.

To understand the power of Regional PD, imagine you want to deploy Wordpress with MySQL in Kubernetes. Before Regional PD, if you wanted to build an HA configuration, you needed to write complex application logic, typically using custom resources, or use a commercial replication solution. Now, simply use Regional PD as the storage backend for the Wordpress and MySQL databases. Because of the block-level replication, the data is always present in another zone, so you don’t need to worry if there is a zonal outage.

With Regional PD, you can build a two-zone HA solution by simply changing the storage class definition in the dynamic provisioning specification—no complex Kubernetes controller management required!


Alternatively, you can manually provision a Regional PD using the gcloud command line tool:


Regional PDs are now available in Kubernetes Engine clusters. To learn more, check out the documentation, Kubernetes guide and sample solution using Regional PD.

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