ClusterHQ offers FlockerHub and Fli to provide developers with Docker data volumes



ClusterHQ announced Thursday its two new container data management products–FlockerHub and Fli– will be available next week through its open beta program. FlockerHub is like GitHub for data.

With FlockerHub, teams can store and share any Docker data volume with access-controlled users or servers. Fli, a Git-like command line interface that runs on any Linux server or laptop, lets developers snapshot, clone, push and pull data volumes to FlockerHub.

Using FlockerHub and Fli, DevOps teams can seamlessly move data between laptops, test environments, data centers and clouds, all with version and access controls. This flexibility to have data where needed, when needed, irrespective of the underlying infrastructure, has an immediate and positive impact on DevOps teams doing continuous integration, continuous delivery and automated testing.

In addition, FlockerHub and Fli in conjunction with Flocker have the potential to reinvent how disaster recovery, backup and cross-cloud workload migration are done in the enterprise.

FlockerHub, available initially as a ClusterHQ hosted service, is a version-control repository for Docker data volumes, similar to how GitHub is a version-control repository for software source code. FlockerHub allows DevOps teams to keep track of and distribute their data volumes to any host, all with access controls that fulfill data governance responsibilities.

Fli—pronounced “fly”, as in making application data fly—is the command line interface (CLI) to FlockerHub. Fli allows DevOps teams to version-control Docker data volumes in the same way they use Git to version-control code. Fli can take incremental snapshots of any database or data volume that runs on Linux, and push those snapshots to FlockerHub where they can be pulled by any access-controlled user.

As these snapshots are incremental, each additional push or pull to FlockerHub sends only part of the data, which speeds up transfer times and reduces bandwidth consumption. Additionally, just like you can use Git to organize code into repos and branches, Fli provides the ability to organize data into volume sets and branches, making it simple to operate large-scale test fixture libraries.

FlockerHub and Fli improve processes for managing and distributing data across containerized environments. The best tests include realistic test data. But getting data into continuous integration environments can be cumbersome since it usually involves asking operations teams for access. Not only does this manual request take time, slowing down testing, but it is also expensive because multiple copies of the data are needed for parallel testing.

With Fli, Ops teams can automatically snapshot any data volume and send it to FlockerHub, where it can be shared with only access-controlled users or servers. Additionally, Fli can clone the data multiple times without increasing storage consumption, so multiple tests can run in parallel without additional cost.

When combined with other CI software like Jenkins, the data management capabilities provided by FlockerHub and Fli can accelerate incremental and parallel builds, speeding up testing.

As developers work on feature branches, they often preview their code in a staging environment. Docker Compose is an easy way to spin up test environments for each commit, but without realistic test data, bugs can be easily missed, increasing the likelihood of errors in production. Through an integration with Docker Compose, FlockerHub volumes can be referenced directly in the Docker Compose YAML file, allowing the Dockerized application to be spun up along with its data, providing a truly representative staging environment.

The recent Application Testing survey conducted by ClusterHQ uncovered that 11 percent of application developers report encountering bugs discovered in production every single day, while 25 percent encounter new bugs multiple times per week. Typically when a bug is reported, a developer wastes several hours trying to reproduce the problem before it can be fixed.

With Fli, database state can be regularly snapshotted and pushed to FlockerHub, so that any time an application needs to be debugged, the accompanying data can be included in the debugging environment. Any developer who needs to work on an issue can pull the error state, along with the correct code version and Dockerized application environment, and have everything needed to isolate the bug.

“Data lives at the heart of every application. With the additions of FlockerHub and Fli to the ClusterHQ platform, we provide a holistic solution for managing this precious resource at every stage of application development,” said Mohit Bhatnagar, VP of products, ClusterHQ. “Today, FlockerHub and Fli dramatically improve DevOps teams’ ability to test their code before moving into production. Tomorrow, these capabilities will change the way enterprises do disaster recovery, backup and multi-cloud operations.”

The ClusterHQ platform, which now consists of FlockerHub, Fli and the Flocker volume orchestrator, brings benefits of containers–namely portability, flexibility and agility–to an organization’s precious data resources.

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