Red Hat Enhances Ceph Storage Management Tools

Mike Vizard
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Earlier this year, Red Hat acquired Inktank to gain control over an open source distributed object store and file system known as Ceph, for managing object and block storage, that is now closely aligned with the OpenStack cloud management framework.

This week, Red Hat announced it is extending the management capabilities of Ceph Enterprise and, in addition to making it easier to manage a spectrum of hot to cold data, is also including enhancements through which policies can be applied all the way to down to specific individual devices.

Ross Turk, director of Ceph marketing and community at Red Hat, says version 1.2 of Inktank Ceph Enterprise also enables organizations to both define larger pools of storage and then move those pools into cache when needed to optimize application performance. Delivered via a Calamari management console, the goal is to lower raw storage capacity requirements by as much as 50 percent via the more efficient utilization of storage resources, says Turk.

As the amount of data that IT organizations need to manage continues to grow exponentially, more efficient methods for storing data are going to be required. The open source Ceph project has been working on addressing this requirement for the past decade. But with the creation of OpenStack, the Ceph project has gained more visibility as a mechanism for providing access to a vendor-neutral storage management framework.

The thing that differentiates Ceph as a storage management framework, says Turk, is that it is designed around a peer-to-peer architecture that eliminates any dependency on a single storage controller to access data. The underlying Ceph distributed object store can be invoked using RESTful application programming interfaces (API) that are compatible with, for example, the APIs created by Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 cloud service or the SWIFT financial telecommunications network.

Turk says the block storage support that is layered on top of the Ceph distributed object system is ready for enterprise consumption. But as of yet, Red Hat is not recommending the use of the file system that was created for Ceph. Red Hat, at least for the moment, recommends the open source GlusterFS it acquired in 2011.

Open source projects don’t exercise the same kind of sway in the world of storage as they do elsewhere. But with the rise of OpenStack, interest in open source storage projects has increased considerably as part of a general move away from proprietary storage controllers. The degree to which IT organizations make this shift remains to be seen. But given all the challenges with managing storage these days, just about every IT organization is now keeping its options open.



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