Ceph: Open-Source Software Defined Storage

I have been trying to look into all the large open-source players out there recently in the cloud space. There is one name keeps popping up, Ceph. Ceph is a scalable, open source, software-defined storage system that runs on commodity hardware. It was designed to be a replacement for legacy storage systems and provides a unified solution for cloud computing environments. It is also designed to scale with the cloud to the exabyte-level and beyond in a cost-effective way. This is probably why Red Hat bought Open Stack-based Ceph for $175 million in cash.

From what I can tell, Ceph is open source software that allows you to provision file, block, or object data. It is designed as a loosely scaled-out storage solution where there is no centralized metadata. It even gives you the option to leverage SSDs for journaling to help with write performance or caching. You can mount Ceph as a thinly provisioned block device. When you write data to Ceph using a block device, Ceph automatically stripes and replicates the data across the cluster. It can pretty much do anything a storage array can except at lower performance and resiliency.This is all due to Ceph’s RADOS technology.

The RADOS Gateway provides Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift compatible interfaces to the RADOS object store. Object storage systems are the new way to storage large amounts of data that traditional file systems just cant scale to meet. In this new era of cloud, new ways of handling massive amounts of data (Data Lakes or Big Data) need to be implemented. Now Object storage has came in to complement r traditional file systems in this massive need to store and sort through data. But as storage requirements grow for legacy applications, organizations can configure their legacy applications to use the Ceph file system too. This means you can run one storage cluster for object, block and file-based data storage.

I cant wait to see what Ceph evolves into now that it is under Red Hats wings. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

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