Working with OpenStack storage: Tips on Cinder, Swift and the cloud
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Inktank Storage Inc. has announced an incremental upgrade to its Ceph Enterprise software-defined storage system, offering improvements to the graphical manager component and formal certification for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform.
Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.1 is the first formal update to the subscription-based software since last October's debut release. The product combines open source Ceph software for object and block storage, and graphical management tools and support services; it is designed to run on commodity server hardware.
With the update, Inktank Ceph Enterprise is officially certified as a storage back end for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4.0, the supported OpenStack distribution that Red Hat launched last year. Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.1 also supports Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3 as a hypervisor platform for Ceph's Rados Block Device.
“Customers wanted to see very tight integration with the Red Hat ecosystem," said Neil Levine, Inktank's vice president (VP) of product management. “We are going out with an open source storage solution to the enterprise, and obviously Red Hat [has] been a very dominant open source operating system vendor in the enterprise.
“The way OpenStack is architected, you still have to pick your storage back end as well as your network back end, and there are drivers that you have to deploy," Levine explained. "With Red Hat, we go through quite an extensive series of [quality assurance] and engineering assessments to show that our technology works seamlessly as a storage solution with their OpenStack product."
The open source community edition of the Ceph software is integrated with the OpenStack cloud technology platform and can serve as an alternative to OpenStack Swift for back-end object storage or as a back-end option for OpenStack Block Storage, which is also known by its project code name, Cinder.
Inktank's commercially supported distribution of Ceph is based on the open source project's 0.67.5 release, known by its code name, Dumpling. With Ceph 1.1, the company has back-ported bug fixes and selected features from the newer 0.72 version of Ceph, known by its project code name, Emperor. Selected features include the ability to write commands and collect data about performance in the cluster, and improvements to multiplex functionality, according to Levine.
Inktank has upgraded its proprietary graphical management application, known as Calamari, with IOPS information, an improved dashboard and enhanced graphing support. Calamari 1.1 supplies more granular visibility into the disk, the pool and the cluster, Levine said.
In addition, Inktank expanded its training program on how to implement, operate and maintain Ceph-based systems. Called Inktank University, the program has added courses -- including the first virtual course -- and offered open enrollment classes in various cities for individuals interested in learning about the technology.
Ross Turk, VP of marketing and community, said Inktank has gone from approximately 20 customers to 50 during the past year, with roughly a 50-50 split between customers running the software in production versus proofs of concept. Customers include Bloomberg, Deutsche Telekom, the University of Alabama and University of Hawaii System, according to Levine.
Levine said current use cases are predominantly for OpenStack, but this year Inktank plans to focus on traditional enterprise storage use cases.
“For us, OpenStack is a fantastic sort of beachhead. We got to work with large business and get references and prove the technology works," Levine said. “Our goal is to use that as a springboard to get into traditional enterprise storage workloads."