CoreOS has announced big plans to solve the persistent data storage challenge for container clusters once and for all with a new platform called Torus, an open source distributed storage system.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

June 1, 2016

2 Min Read
CoreOS Launches Torus for Distributed Storage on Container Clusters

CoreOS has announced big plans to solve the persistent data storage challenge for container clusters once and for all with a new platform called Torus, an open source distributed storage system.

The company, which develops an open source container ecosystem that is similar to Docker's but oriented around CoreOS's native Rocket container format, announced Torus in a blog post published June 1.

The post begins by noting that persistent data storage remains "one of the most interesting current problems" as containers and microservices become a central part of the cloud and other infrastructure.

That's not for lack of previous efforts to address the issue. CoreOS already offers different strategies for connecting container infrastructure to storage systems. Docker has its own answer to the persistent data storage challenge in the form of Docker Data Volumes.

But CoreOS says better storage solutions are needed. "Deploying, managing, and operating existing storage solutions while trying to shoehorn them into a modern container cluster infrastructure is difficult and expensive," the company said in announcing Torus. "These distributed storage systems were mostly designed for a regime of small clusters of large machines, rather than the GIFEE approach that focuses on large clusters of inexpensive, 'small' machines."

GIFEE is an acronym for "Google Infrastructure for Everyone," which refers to the promise that CoreOS and other vendors have made of making massively scalable infrastructure like Google's available to organizations of all sizes.

According to CoreOS, Torus innovates in the data storage space for containers by offering a simple way to access distributed storage. The storage system is abstracted to appear as a single file, simplifying data operations. And it's designed to be deployed via Kubernetes, the popular open source container orchestrator tool that originated at Google and has become a major part of CoreOS's container tool set.

Torus remains basic for now, but CoreOS plans to add new features as development continues, according to the blog post.

Making the Old New Again

So what are Torus's prospects? It's not the only open source distributed storage system — there are several others, like Ceph and GlusterFS, which are designed for traditional infrastructure — but it has the distinction of being the first major container-centric distributed storage platform. If Torus develops in the way CoreOS promises, IT admins will probably see it as a more elegant and sophisticated persistent storage solution for containers than alternatives like Docker Data Volumes.

Torus also has the advantage of strong backing from CoreOS, which is likely to integrate it deeply into its container ecosystem in the way it has done with most of its other home-grown container tools. That means Torus will have more solid backing within the CoreOS container ecosystem than a third-party storage solution.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like