Persistent Volumes and Persistent Volume Claims

  • PVs are created by cluster administrators and they are consumed by PVCs which are created by developers.
  • A PV is like a mounting configuration of storage. Therefore, you can create different mount configurations for the same storage by creating multiple PVs.
  • A PV is a public resource in a cluster, which means it is accessible to all the namespaces. This also means the name of the PV needs to be unique in the whole cluster.
  • A PVC is a k8s object within a namespace, which means its name must be unique in the namespace.
  • A PV can only be exclusively bound to a PVC. This one-to-one mapping lasts until the PVC is deleted.
  • A PV and its bound PVC builds a bridge between the “clients” (Pods) and the real storage.

Provisioning Persistent Volumes

There are two ways to provision a PV: statically or dynamically.

“Static” Persistent Volumes

A static PV is a PV manually created by a cluster administrator with the details of storage. “Static” here means the PV must exist before being consumed by a PVC.

apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolume
metadata:
name: nfs-pv
spec:
nfs:
# TODO: use right IP
server: 12.34.56.78
path: "/data"
readOnly: false
mountOptions:
- vers=4.0
- rsize=32768
- wsize=32768
capacity:
storage: 10Gi
accessModes:
- ReadWriteMany
persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
apiVersion: v1
kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
metadata:
name: nfs-pvc
spec:
resources:
requests:
storage: 10Gi
accessModes:
- ReadWriteMany
selector:
matchLabels:
pv-name: nfs-pv
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
name: nfs-pod
labels:
app: nfs-pods
spec:
volumes:
- name: data-dir
persistentVolumeClaim:
claimName: nfs-pvc

containers:
- name: nginx
image: nginx
volumeMounts:
- name: data-dir
mountPath: "/usr/share/nginx/html"
readOnly: false
  • ReadWriteOnce: a PV can be mounted as read-write by a single node if it has ReadWriteOnce in its accessModes spec. This means 1. the PV can perform read and write operation to storage. 2. The PV can only be mounted on a single node, which means any Pod that wants to use this PV must be scheduled to the same node as well.
  • ReadOnlyMany: a PV can be mounted as read-only by many nodes if it has ReadOnlyMany in its accessModes spec. Unlike ReadWriteOnce, ReadOnlyMany allows the PV to be mounted on many nodes but it can only perform read operation to the real storage. Any write request will be denied in this case.
  • ReadWriteMany: a PV can be mounted as read-write by many nodes if it has ReadWriteMany in its accessModes spec. This means the PV can perform read and write operations in many nodes.
  • The attribute readOnly of a PV type is a storage side setting. It is used to control whether real storage is read-only or not.
  • AccessModes of a PV is a PV side setting and it is used to control the access mode of the PV.
  • AccessModes of a PVC has to match up the PV that it wants to bind. A PV and a PVC build a bridge between the "client" and the real storage: the PV connects to the real storage while the PVC connects to the "client".
  • The attribute readOnly of VolumeMount is a "client" side setting. It is used to control whether the mounted directory is read-only or not.

“Dynamic” Persistent Volumes

Dynamic PVs are dynamically created by K8s, which is triggered by the specification of a user’s PVC. The dynamic provisioning is based on Storage Classes: a PVC must specify an existing StorageClass in order to create a dynamic PV.

kind: StorageClass
apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
metadata:
name: standard
parameters:
type: pd-standard
provisioner: kubernetes.io/gce-pd
reclaimPolicy: Delete
volumeBindingMode: Immediate
  • The field metadata.name is the name of the StorageClass. It has to be unique in the whole cluster.
  • The field parameters specifies the parameters for the real storage. For example, parameters.type == pd-standard means this storage class uses GCEPersistentDisk as storage media. You can check this doc for more details about the parameters of Storage Classes.
  • The fieldprovisioner specifies which volume plugin is used by the Storage Class to provision dynamic PVs. You can check this list for each provisioner's specification.
  • Like persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy, the field reclaimPolicy specifies the reclaim policy for the storage created by the Storage Class. It can be either Delete (default value) or Retain.
  • The volumeBindingMode field controls when to perform dynamic provisioning and volume binding. volumeBindingMode == Immediate means doing dynamic provisioning and volume binding once the PVC is created, while volumeBindingMode == WaitForFirstConsumer means delaying dynamic provisioning and volume binding until the PVC is actually being consumed.
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: StatefulSet
metadata:
name: zoo-keepr
# StatefulSet spec
spec:
serviceName: zk-hs
selector:
matchLabels:
app: zk
replicas: 3

volumeClaimTemplates:
- metadata:
name: datadir
spec:
storageClassName: standard
accessModes: [ "ReadWriteOnce" ]
resources:
requests:
storage: 10Gi

# Pod spec
template:
metadata:
labels:
app: zk
spec:
containers:
- name: k8szk
image: gcr.io/google_samples/k8szk:v3
...
volumeMounts:
- name: datadir
mountPath: /var/lib/zookeeper

“Updating” PVs & PVCs

Updating Static PVs

Sometimes you need to update some parameters, for example, mount options, for a static PV, in which the storage is not dynamically provisioned. However, updating a PV that is being used may be blocked by K8s. But as I mentioned above, A PV and PVC bound is like building a bridge between clients and the real storage. Therefore, instead of updating the existing PV, you can create a new PV and PVC with the new settings you want, and then mount replace the old PVC with the new one.

Updating Dynamic PVs

A dynamic PV now can be extended (shrinking is not supported) by editing its bound PVC in Kubernetes v1.11 or later versions. This feature is well supported in many built-in volume providers, such as GCE-PD, AWS-EBS, and GlusterFs. A cluster administrator can make this feature available for cluster users by setting allowVolumeExpansion == true in the configurations of the Storage Classes. You can check this blog for more details.

What Is Next

This is the last blog of my series of blogs about the introduction to Kubernetes. I highly recommend you check the official Kubernetes documents if you want to learn deeply about Kubernetes.

Reference

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