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Persistent Volumes Excercise

Persistent Volume Exercise Part 1
Persistent Volume Exercise Part 2

After going through the theory of Volumes and Persistent Volumes it's time to get your hands down. In this exercise you will create a stateful Pod using Persistent Volumes. As you will see this can involve a few preliminary steps. Since the exercise is executed on minikube, we already have a default storage class, but when using for example which is the a9s Kubernetes automation deployed on AWS, storage classes might have to be setup first [1].

Storage is one of the places where rubber meets the road in the sense that there is a comparatively large contact surface with infrastructure. This is why - similar to Ingresses in an earlier lesson - Persistent Volumes involve vendor specific configuration. If you look closer at the exercise you will also recognize that the Kubernetes abstraction from volume Provisioners, Storage Classes, Persistent Volume Claims, Persistent Volumes to Volumes helps to maintain the tie to a specific Kubernetes distribution to a minimum. This counteracts the initial impression why dealing with persistency in Kubernetes is so surprisingly complicated.

Creating a Storage Class

Since minikube already comes setup with a storage class, we will in this section take a look on how you would add one to a9s Kubernetes.

For that you would create a file 05-storage-class.yaml:

kind: StorageClass
name: default
encrypted: 'false'
type: gp2
reclaimPolicy: Delete
volumeBindingMode: Immediate
allowVolumeExpansion: false

This Storage Class makes use of the provisioner In this particular example, the provisioner uses storage services of the Amazon Web Services [1].

You may ask yourself how the provisioner authenticates against the AWS API. As this is beyond the scope of this training it should suffice to say that the Kubernetes cluster administrator - or a proper automation respectively - has configured a so-called Cloud Provider [2]. A Cloud Provider enables access to multiple services offered by the corresponding vendor often including infrastructure affine services such as load balancing and storage.

For now, you can be relieved as the Cloud Provider already has been configured for you.

So you would then just have to apply the Storage Class by executing:

kubectl apply -f 05-storage-class.yaml

Creating a Persistent Volume Claim

Create a file 10-persistent-volume-claim.yaml:

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
name: simple-pv-claim
storageClassName: standard
- ReadWriteOnce
storage: 1Gi

Create a Persistent Volume Claim:

kubectl apply -f 10-persistent-volume-claim.yaml

Verify that the Persistent Volume Claim has been created successfully and - most importantly - that a Persistent Volume has been claimed:

kubectl get pvc -w

The -w option will update the output continuously. You can interrupt it using <CTRL>+C.

Output should look similar to:

NAME              STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS   AGE
simple-pv-claim Bound pvc-7a0e4339-9e64-4740-9adb-a509a6aac328 1Gi RWO default 49s

The STATUS field should say BOUNDand thus indicate that an actual Persistent Volume has been found and "bound" to the Persistent Volume Claim.

In this case - with knowledge about the standard Storage Class available on minikube, we know how this has happened.

The Provisioner has created a Persistent Volume according to the needs specified in the Persistent Volume Claim. This is illustrated when describing the PVC:

kubectl describe pvc simple-pv-claim

The output should look like this:

Name:          simple-pv-claim
Namespace: k8s-training
StorageClass: standard
Status: Bound
Volume: pvc-802aa3a1-1d0d-4f9a-81bb-84ecce66b5cc
Labels: <none>
Annotations: yes yes
Finalizers: []
Capacity: 1Gi
Access Modes: RWO
VolumeMode: Filesystem
Used By: <none>
Type Reason Age From Message
---- ------ ---- ---- -------
Normal Provisioning 9s External provisioner is provisioning volume for claim "default/simple-pv-claim"
Normal ExternalProvisioning 9s persistentvolume-controller waiting for a volume to be created, either by external provisioner "" or manually created by system administrator
Normal ProvisioningSucceeded 9s Successfully provisioned volume pvc-802aa3a1-1d0d-4f9a-81bb-84ecce66b5cc

This provides you with the information that:

  • The provisioner has created a Persistent Volume with the id pvc-802aa3a1-1d0d-4f9a-81bb-84ecce66b5cc.
  • The Persistent Volume is a filesystem (VolumeMode: Filesystem).
  • The Persistent Volume is currently not mounted.

Hence, it's time to create a Pod and mount the Persistent Volume.

Create a file 20-pod-writing-to-volume.yaml:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
name: simple-pv-pod
- name: simple-pv-storage
claimName: simple-pv-claim
- name: simple-pv-container
image: busybox
command: ["/bin/sh"]
args: ["-c", "echo Hello World > /my-persistent-data/helloworld.txt"]
- mountPath: "/my-persistent-data"
name: simple-pv-storage
restartPolicy: Never

Which creates a Pod writing a simple text file /my-persistent-data/helloworld.txt containing the String Hello World.

So now there is data on the disk of this Pod which will terminate after its execution.

Create another Pod, mount the same Persistent Volume and read the data printing it to the STDOUT:

Create a file 30-pod-reading-from-volume.yaml:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
name: simple-pv-pod-reader
- name: simple-pv-storage
claimName: simple-pv-claim
- name: simple-pv-container
image: busybox
command: ["/bin/sh"]
args: ["-c", "cat /my-persistent-data/helloworld.txt"]
- mountPath: "/my-persistent-data"
name: simple-pv-storage
restartPolicy: Never

And retrieve the Pods logs:

kubectl logs simple-pv-pod-reader

Which should output:

Hello World

Tidying Up

Remove created objects:

kubectl delete pod simple-pv-pod
kubectl delete pod simple-pv-pod-reader


kubectl get pvc

Can you see that the Persistent Volume Claim and the Persistent Volume still exists? Their lifecycle is independent of the lifecycle of the Pods you have created. So it's worth keeping in mind that the lifecycle is a major difference between Volumes and Persistent Volumes.

Delete the Persistent Volume Claim:

kubectl delete pvc simple-pv-claim

And ensure that the associated persistent volume has been deleted, too:

kubectl get pv

And it's gone.

You have learned how to create a Persistent Volume using a Persistent Volume Claim. Although this example uses a Pod for illustration purposes, you are more likely to use Persistent Volumes as part of StatefulSets.

  1. Amazon Web Services,
  2. Kubernetes Documentation, Concepts, Cluster-Administration, Cloud Providers,