With the ever growing demand for automation, REST APIs have become ubiquitous and required for IT organizations to implement digital transformations for companies of all sizes. REST APIs are convenient, and unlike older protocols, they are simpler, more secure, and are easily accessible and interoperable between clients and servers via essentially all programming languages.
Unfortunately many storage systems have incomplete and limited API sets which creates barriers to automation and digital transformation efforts. Others lack the role based access controls (RBAC) and other security features required to safely and securely automate operations. Further, traditional storage systems create islands or silos of data which complicates automation as many IP addresses must be tracked and queried to get basic information about the health and status of the multitude of storage appliances or storage clusters.
In comparison with Dell/EMC’s ScaleIO REST APIs which have good coverage, QuantaStor has around 300 more REST APIs enabling IT organizations to access a more complete set of features include RBAC management, object and file based storage management, remote-replication, backup policies, multi-tenancy, license management, and much more.
It’s All About the Grid
At OSNEXUS we’ve put many years of R&D into developing solutions to these problems and the net result is the QuantaStor storage grid technology which is built into our SDS platform. The first problem of API coverage is solved by QuantaStor’s service oriented architecture (SOA) which ensures every single QuantaStor API is accessible via three separate ways. Namely, via the web management interface, via the REST API service, and via the QuantaStor CLI. The second problem was how to deal with large groups of storage appliances spanning sites and datacenters so that both automation could be simplified but also so that QuantaStor could scale to managing over 100PB of storage.
This is also where QuantaStor’s storage grid technology steps in. The QuantaStor storage grid technology links appliances together into a management grid so that all the appliances can be managed via a federated interface. But what makes QuantaStor really stand apart is that the federated web, REST API, and CLI interfaces are accessible from every appliance. There’s no additional software to install, it’s all built into the architecture of QuantaStor. Further, appliances within a grid can span many datacenters, different hardware vendors, and can even include QuantaStor virtual appliances which are essentially our same SDS software deployed as VMs.
With a storage grid, IT teams are able to route all REST API calls to a single (or multiple) highly-available IP address to route API calls to. They can route API calls to any appliance for any operation on any resource and the grid automatically takes care of the request internally to the correct appliance or appliances. The grids internal object eventing system updates all the nodes within seconds so operations can be viewed in real-time from anywhere.
The grid is also resilient to site outages and appliances continue to function normally even when communication across sites or racks is not available. This is because each appliance is a master of its subset of the storage grid. This in turn allows for management of individual appliances even when the elected master node is in another site and is inaccessible via the WAN.
QuantaStor’s grid technology greatly simplifies storage automation tasks faced by IT organizations, but with all that information available via APIs there becomes a greater need for IT organizations to augment that data with additional organizational metadata like asset tags, department IDs, and more. QuantaStor solves this with a series of multi-tenancy and resource tagging features. This enables IT organizations to associate their own key-value pairs of metadata with the storage and other resources within the storage grid. This in turn enables automation of auditing and chargeback accounting.
QuantaStor SDS provides over 500 REST APIs in version 4.5 and the API set is continually augmented as new features are deployed so that IT organizations can automate any and all aspects of their storage grid.
Common uses for REST APIs in QuantaStor include:
- Automated snapshots for data-mining of storage volumes and network shares.
- Automated appliance setup including license key injection, network configuration, grid setup, pool creation and storage provisioning.
- Automated asset management and chargeback accounting. Easily determine storage utilization by department and even IO load by time or day and IOPS.
- User portals for storage provisioning and assignment with quota enforcement.
- Gathering alerts and health information for automated reporting.
- IO statistics on performance metrics.