Ceph is amazing storage tech. The storage equivalent of superfluid helium-4 , it continues moving under it’s own inertia, flowing around obstacles that get in its way. Lose a server, no problem, Ceph automatically heals and re-balances data across systems, racks and sites to ensure optimal health and availability of the storage cluster. Lose a disk, same process, data is replicated to other “OSDs” to re-balance and restore health to 100%. It’s a major software engineering achievement, in my view it’s in the top 10 of all time open source contributions.
Storage as a Utility
At Veritas Software back in the early 2000’s we focused on a vision to make storage a utility that was as reliable as water coming from a tap. We made some great storage products that moved in that direction, but Ceph is the first storage technology that makes that “giant leap for mankind” in the storage world. It brings the science and engineering together, pouring the foundation to make storage a utility.
Open Source and the importance of a Community
The brave decision that it’s architect Sage Weil and the Redhat/Inktank team made to open source it, simply brilliant. File-systems are one of those technologies that require an active large community to bring them to maturity, Ceph found that audience with OpenStack. Implications for the users that adopt these technologies is a big story too. You see that in the types of companies and scientific endeavors that are being tackled using Ceph at places like CERN and the LHC.
Besides being a huge leap forward in storage tech, it’s also an insurance policy. Time has shown that open source file-systems last. Case in point, the Linux ext2 filesystem was created in 1993 by Rémy Card and you can still mount and create new ext2 filesystems with a simple ‘mkfs.ext2’ on any Linux system today. The gravity continues to build around Ceph as it approaches 9 years of age and continues its arc of innovation. For the multitude of Ceph users, that’s piece of mind that your next petabyte of storage is on solid ground for decades to come.
The big challenge with Ceph deployments is that they’re complex and challenging to setup and maintain by IT generalists. Compared with deploying a traditional SAN/NAS appliance, a Ceph deployment at scale can feel like trying to manage a moon mission.
Making Ceph easy for Enterprise IT
QuantaStor SDS is used by companies across the Global 500. These companies need the efficiency and agility that Ceph brings but they need it delivered as a turn-key solution that’s as easy to manage as a SAN/NAS appliance. They also require all the enterprise features they’ve come to expect from their traditional Netapp & EMC systems. Unfortunately, Ceph’s complexity makes it difficult to adopt by IT generalists which have the tough job of juggling the various parts (networking, storage, compute, security, etc) to keep their companies running efficiently. That leaves little time left to study concepts like CRUSH maps and placement groups.
This is where OSNEXUS and the QuantaStor SDS platform steps in. We are accelerating Ceph adoption by making deployments easy to setup, monitor and manage. In QuantaStor, one can setup Ceph in about a dozen clicks through the QuantaStor SDS web management interface. Form the cluster, configure the storage, create a pool, done. If you think of Ceph as an engine, QuantaStor is the car.
Ceph + QuantaStor Software Defined Storage
Deploying Ceph is a good start but on a day-to-day basis it’s all about monitoring and management. With storage intelligence built-in to the platform there’s a full-time storage admin monitoring and caring for your Ceph clusters. Besides QuantaStor’s grid management technology, it also extends Ceph in numerous ways including: iSCSI/FC block storage access, QoS controls, full-disk encryption (FDE), SSD caching, hardware controller management, complete automation via REST APIs, remote-replication/DR schedules, VMware support, remote management CLI, object storage gateway management, user access credentials management, call-home, SNMP agent, cloud metrics, real-time stats, multi-cluster management, advanced HTML5 web UI management, RBAC, multi-tenancy, and much more.
Ceph is key to realizing a vision, making storage a utility. In the bigger picture, it’s a cornerstone to a bigger building. Ceph, integrated into QuantaStor SDS, puts all the pieces together so the “Easy” button is just a download away for Ceph experts and IT generalists alike.
If you’d like to try out QuantaStor SDS with integrated Ceph technology we have Trial Edition keys and the ISO installer for the QuantaStor SDS operating system freely available on our web site here.