Helping Open Source Storage Move into Enterprise Data Centers

One satisfying thing about participating in the open source software community is seeing a technology take off and knowing that your team had a part in that success.

That’s what’s happening with Ceph, a scalable, distributed storage platform that provides object, block and file storage from a single cluster.  Ceph has traction in deployments of block storage services for OpenStack, but has seen limited adoption in enterprise storage applications for many reasons, notably the complexity of deploying and managing Ceph.

That’s where the Intel Virtual Storage Manager (or VSM) – which we released to the open source community today - helps out.

Ceph can be hard to manage. One Intel engineer told me that it took him more than two days to set up a Ceph cluster for a proof of concept project he was working on in Japan. Configuration issues and software workarounds caused significant delays. He’s since had the chance to work with VSM, and now says he could have configured the same cluster in less than four hours.

VSM simplifies the creation and day-to-day management of Ceph clusters for cloud and datacenter storage administrators. The software has a web-based UI where you can monitor overall cluster status, manage cluster hardware and storage capacity, inspect detailed operation status of Ceph subsystems and more.  All of this allows you to standardize and scale operations.

In addition to releasing this to the open source community, we’re also working with storage manufacturers to use the software in their Ceph-based storage systems.

One example of this is Fujitsu.  They are a Ceph supporter and have integrated VSM into their recently announced ETERNUS CD10000, a hyper scale storage solution. Fujitsu believes its use of Ceph and VSM gives the ETERNUS CD10000 higher availability and more efficient operations.

Dell is another Intel partner that is working with Ceph and believes that VSM will make the technology data-center ready. “Easy deployment, configuration and operational management capabilities are paramount to enterprise use of data center technologies, including open source software. Intel’s contributions to the Ceph community with VSM will provide new and current Ceph users improved ease-of-use and new management functionality,” said Bill Dawkins, PhD, Dell Fellow, Office of the CTO.

Enabling Software Defined Storage

In many data centers, some applications have dedicated access to more storage than they need. Others are facing exponential data growth and need a way to keep up by adding more storage on a real-time basis. 

Moving to a software-defined storage (SDS) model makes storage allocation much more efficient by freeing up unused storage that’s trapped in an application and giving high-growth applications immediate access to storage as they need it. 

Contributing VSM to the community is part of our software-defined storage (SDS) initiative. VSM is a part of this transformation because it makes it easy to use Ceph to create pools of storage using a mix of hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drive (SSDs) and other storage systems. 

As part of our release of VSM, we’ll be demonstrating the software at our booth in the upcoming Open Stack Summit in Paris (Nov. 3-7). Fujitsu will also demonstrate the software integrated into its ETERNUS CD10000 and several members of our team will be presenting on Ceph, VSM, and some of the other storage work we’re doing in the open source community.

If you can’t make it to Paris for the show, more information is available on the web.