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Red Hat Storage VP sees different uses for Ceph, Gluster

Red Hat Storage showed off updates to its Ceph and Gluster software and laid out its strategy for working with containers at this week’s Red Hat Summit in San Francisco.

We caught up with Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of Red Hat Storage, to discuss the latest product releases, industry trends and the company’s future storage direction. Interview excerpts follow.

Which of the Red Hat storage products – Gluster or Ceph – is seeing greater adoption?

Rangachari: Both of them are. It’s very much a workload-driven conversation. Ceph is part and parcel to the OpenStack story. In the community, [the majority] of the OpenStack implementations were using Ceph as the storage substrate. Gluster is classic file serving – second-tier storage, deep archiving. If I were to take a look at the big picture, it’s right down the middle. Some days, you might have a lot more OpenStack conversations. Other days, you might have a lot more archiving, file services or virtualization conversations.

Red Hat just unveiled a technology preview of the Ceph file system (CephFS). Why does Red Hat need another file-based storage option?

Rangachari: The tech preview is focused on OpenStack. The advantage of this approach is customers can now use Ceph for file, object and block for OpenStack. Ceph has good penetration within the OpenStack market for block storage. We expanded it to object, and file is the third leg to the stool.

Do you envision CephFS in use only in conjunction with OpenStack?

Rangachari: It’s tough to predict, but for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be mainly focused on OpenStack. File systems need a lot of time from a testing and a maturity standpoint before we throw it out and say, ‘Start using it for general-purpose workloads.’ . . . We have not yet formulated any detailed plans around what else we could do with CephFS beyond OpenStack.

What’s the future direction for Ceph and Gluster?

Rangachari: One area that we are focused on the ability to manage our portfolio through a single management plane. The other area is interfacing and integrating with leading ISV applications, especially in the object storage space. The first wave of our ecosystem was around the hardware vendors, whether it’s server vendors or SSDs and those type of things.

With all the disruption in the storage industry, which events are having the greatest impact on Red Hat storage strategy?

Rangachari: One is flash [solid-state drives] SSDs. One of the biggest holdbacks a year ago was that the cost per TB was pretty expensive when it comes to SSDs and flash. But now I think Moore’s law in a way is taking shape. You’re seeing the processing and the capacity increase and the price dramatically drop. That’s one area that we are paying very close attention to, and the SanDisk [InfiniFlash] announcement was the first step in that direction.

The other thing that we are seeing is containers. In the conversations that we are having with customers, that’s becoming the next wave in infrastructure and the next wave in how applications are developed and delivered.