Transitioning From Longhorn Block Storage To NFS File Server In A Unique Kubernetes Environment


Existing Storage Infrastructure:
The Client’s Kubernetes cluster was originally configured with Longhorn for persistent storage across four microservices. The entire setup, including the Rancher dashboard, was secured behind a network accessible only through a VPN and a custom DNS server.

Project Objective:
The primary goal was to transition from Longhorn storage to a Network File System (NFS) solution, due to the current solution of using Longhorn being expensive and causing performance issues. The NFS server already existed as a standalone within the same secured network infrastructure.


Complexity of Existing Setup:
The challenge lay in the intricate configuration of the existing setup. Migrating storage in a live environment with multiple interconnected microservices and namespaces required meticulous planning to avoid service disruptions.

Network Security Constraints and Custom DNS Configuration:
Security measures, including VPN access and a custom DNS server, added complexity to the migration.

Configuring Existing Microservices to Work with NFS:
The microservices, dependent on Longhorn storage, required careful configuration to work seamlessly with the new NFS storage. Ensuring data integrity and minimal downtime during the migration process was crucial to maintaining business continuity.

Our Solution

Thorough Planning and Analysis:
Engaged key stakeholders to understand the intricacies of the existing setup.
Conducted a detailed analysis of microservices dependencies and potential points of failure.

Developed a comprehensive migration plan with a focus on minimal service disruptions.

Incremental Migration Approach:
Adopted an incremental migration approach, transitioning one microservice at a time.

Conducted thorough testing to validate data integrity and functionality in the new NFS-based storage.

Network Optimization:
Optimized VPN access for secure communication between the Rancher dashboard and the NFS server.
Fine-tuned access controls and firewall configurations to ensure seamless data transfer.

Dynamic PVCs and Custom StorageClasses:
Utilized dynamic Persistent Volume Claims (PVCs) in NFS for efficient resource allocation.

Created custom storage classes to optimize storage performance based on microservices requirements.

Continuous Monitoring:
Implemented robust monitoring tools to track the performance of both the existing and new storage solutions.

Promptly identified and addressed anomalies or performance issues during the migration process.

Documentation and Knowledge Transfer:
Documented the entire migration process, including configurations, network changes, and testing procedures.

Facilitated knowledge transfer to empower the client’s internal teams for future management and troubleshooting.

Business Impact

The transition from Longhorn block storage to an NFS file server had a significant positive impact on the client’s business. By eliminating the expensive licensing fees associated with Longhorn and optimizing storage resources, the client achieved notable cost reductions while improving overall performance and reliability.

Additionally, the implementation of dynamic PVCs and custom storage classes in NFS enhanced scalability and flexibility, allowing the client to adapt more efficiently to changing storage requirements. These improvements not only increased operational efficiency but also positioned the client for future growth and expansion initiatives.

Key Accomplishments

Smooth Migration with Minimal Downtime:
Executed an incremental migration approach ensuring minimal downtime for the client’s services.

Completed the overall transition within the stipulated time frame.

Enhanced Security and Network Efficiency:
Optimized VPN access and network configurations, enhancing overall security and efficiency.

Ensured the custom DNS server operated seamlessly with the new NFS solution.

Improved Performance and Scalability:
Implemented dynamic PVCs in NFS for improved performance and resource utilization.

Custom storage classes allowed for scalability, meeting the growing storage needs.