According to industry analysts, up to 10% of apps will be housed in containers within the next two years. This rapid adoption of container technology is driving a new set of data management and infrastructure requirements, especially for applications that rely upon advanced storage functionality. To meet this need, Docker and its ecosystem partners are creating more robust deployment capabilities that go beyond simple stateless use cases.


One example is Flocker container management software from ClusterHQ. Flocker enables operations teams to directly attach a storage volume to a container and then migrate the container, along with its data, between servers. Container volumes are no longer tied to a single host; instead, they can follow the container as it is moved between hosts. By decoupling the container from the volume, Flocker enables a new set of use cases where applications with persistent data can fully realize the benefits of a containerized deployment method.


NetApp has recently completed two integrations with Flocker. The first integration is for OpenStack users who want to use Flocker in conjunction with Cinder to provide storage services for their applications. The NetApp® Unified Cinder Driver enables administrators to use the NetApp storage system that best meets their needs: FAS systems running clustered Data ONTAP® or Data ONTAP 7-Mode, or E-Series SAN systems running the SANtricity® OS. The provisioning of Cinder volumes for an application deployed by Flocker is handled by the driver, without requiring the OpenStack tenant administrator to perform manual volume management in support of container movement.


NetApp also plans to release a native integration that will not require OpenStack. The native driver will enable administrators to connect directly to their clustered Data ONTAP systems, and using the iSCSI storage protocol, create, mount, and use NetApp LUNs. Removing the dependency on OpenStack will enable any organization to deploy NetApp storage for its containerized applications and benefit from enterprise features such as nondisruptive operations, storage efficiency, and high availability.


For more information about NetApp’s Flocker integration, check out this blog post from ClusterHQ. Additional implementation details can be found on the NetApp Open Source blog. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or e-mail us at

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew has worked in the information technology industry for over 10 years, with a rich history of database development, DevOps experience, and virtualization. He is currently focused on storage and virtualization automation, and driving simplicity into everyday workflows.