Skip to main content

What is OpenEBS?#

OpenEBS Architecture

OpenEBS helps Developers and Platform SREs easily deploy Kubernetes Stateful Workloads that require fast and highly reliable Container Attached Storage.

OpenEBS turns any storage available on the Kubernetes worker nodes into local or distributed Kubernetes Persistent Volumes.

OpenEBS Local and Distributed volumes are implemented using a collection of OpenEBS Data Engines. OpenEBS Control Plane integrates deeply into Kubernetes and uses Kubernetes to manage the provisioning, scheduling and maintenance of OpenEBS Volumes.

OpenEBS supports hyperconverged and disaggregated deployments. OpenEBS is the leading choice for NVMe based storage deployments.

OpenEBS was originally built by MayaData and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and is now a CNCF sandbox project.

Why do users prefer OpenEBS?#

The OpenEBS Adoption stories, mention the top reasons driving users towards OpenEBS as:

  • OpenEBS can be used across all Kubernetes distributions - On-premise and Cloud.
  • OpenEBS with Kubernetes increases Developer and Platform SRE Productivity.
  • OpenEBS is Easy to use compared to other solutions.
  • OpenEBS has Excellent Community Support.
  • OpenEBS is completely Open Source and Free.

What does OpenEBS do?#

OpenEBS manages the storage available on each of the Kubernetes nodes and uses that storage to provide Local or Distributed Persistent Volumes to Stateful workloads.


In case of Local Volumes:

  • OpenEBS can create Persistent Volumes using raw block devices or partitions, or using sub-directories on Hostpaths or by using LVM,ZFS,sparse files.
  • The local volumes are directly mounted into the Stateful Pod, without any added overhead from OpenEBS in the data path.
  • OpenEBS provides additional tooling for Local Volumes for monitoring, backup/restore, disaster recovery, snapshots when backed by ZFS or LVM, and more.

In case of Distributed (aka Replicated) Volumes:

  • OpenEBS creates a Micro-service for each Distributed Persistent volume using one of its engines - Mayastor, cStor or Jiva.
  • The Stateful Pod writes the data to the OpenEBS engines that synchronously replicates the data to multiple nodes in the cluster. OpenEBS engine itself is deployed as pod and orchestrated by Kubernetes. When the node running the Stateful pod fails, the pod will be rescheduled to another node in the cluster and OpenEBS provides access to the data using the available data copies on other nodes.
  • The Stateful Pods connect to the OpenEBS Distributed Persistent volume using iSCSI (cStor and Jiva) or NVMeoF (Mayastor).
  • OpenEBS cStor and Jiva focus on ease of use and durability of the storage. They use customized versions of ZFS and Longhorn technology respectively for writing the data onto the storage. OpenEBS Mayastor is the latest engine that has been developed with durability and performance as design goals and efficiently manages the compute (hugepages, cores) and storage (NVMe Drives) for providing fast distributed block storage.

OpenEBS Distributed Block volumes are called as Replicated Volumes, to avoid confusion with traditional distributed block storages that tend to distribute the data across many nodes in the cluster. Replicated volumes have low blast radius compared to traditional distributed block storages. Replicated volumes are designed for Cloud Native stateful workloads that require large number of volumes with capacity that can typically be served from a single node as apposed to a single large volume with data sharded across multiple nodes in the cluster.

OpenEBS Data Engines and Control Plane are implemented as micro-services, deployed as containers and orchestrated by Kubernetes itself. OpenEBS data engines are implemented in user space making OpenEBS run on any Kubernetes Platform and use any type of storage available to the Kubernetes worker nodes. An added advantage of being a completely Kubernetes native solution is that administrators and developers can interact and manage OpenEBS using all the wonderful tooling that is available for Kubernetes like kubectl, Helm, Prometheus, Grafana, etc.

Local Volumes#

Local Volumes are accessible only from a single node in the cluster. Pods using Local Volume have to be scheduled on the node where volume is provisioned. Local Volumes are typically preferred for distributed workloads like Cassandra, MongoDB, Elastic, etc that are distributed in nature and have high availability built into them.

Depending on the type of storage attached to your Kubernetes worker nodes, you can select from different flavors of Dynamic Local PV - Hostpath, Device, LVM, ZFS or Rawfile.

Quickstart Guides#

Installing OpenEBS in your cluster is as simple as running a few kubectl or helm commands. Here are the list of our Quickstart guides with detailed instructions for each storage engine.

Replicated Volumes#

Replicated Volumes as the name suggests, are those that have their data synchronously replicated to multiple nodes. Volumes can sustain node failures. The replication also can be setup across availability zones helping applications move across availability zones.

Replicated Volumes also are capable of enterprise storage features like snapshots, clone, volume expansion and so forth. Replicated Volumes are a preferred choice for Stateful workloads like Percona/MySQL, Jira, GitLab, etc.

Depending on the type of storage attached to your Kubernetes worker nodes and application performance requirements, you can select from Jiva, cStor or Mayastor.

Quickstart Guides#

Installing OpenEBS in your cluster is as simple as running a few kubectl or helm commands. Here are the list of our Quickstart guides with detailed instructions for each storage engine.

Community Support via Slack#

OpenEBS has a vibrant community that can help you get started. If you have further question and want to learn more about OpenEBS, please join OpenEBS community on Kubernetes Slack. If you are already signed up, head to our discussions at#openebs channel.

See Also:#

Quickstart Use cases and Examples Container Attached Storage (CAS) OpenEBS Architecture OpenEBS Local PV OpenEBS Mayastor

Was this page helpful? We appreciate your feedback