Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.1 – Rolling down the tracks of Jewel

Three months after the release of Red Hat Ceph Storage 2, we’re proud to announce the first update to our Ceph Jewel-based product with Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.1.

For the 2.1 release, like version 1.3.3, we’re continuing a “train model” in software development. By fixing the release date and pushing out features that aren’t ready until later, we can deliver the latest versions of stable, upstream Ceph code to Red Hat customers on a faster, more predictable schedule and thereby empower customers to plan their upgrades with greater confidence.

What’s in it?

Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.1 is based on Ceph Jewel v10.2.3. Two new features may be of particular interest to service providers using Ceph as an object store:

  • Static web sites: Allows users to host static content, such as HTML or media objects, in RGW objects and have them served as fully functional web sites.
  • S3 payer-request API: Allows users hosting content to have content requesters pay for the network usage fees associated with delivery. This is well-suited for hosting large binary content without being penalized as the originator of the content.

In addition, users who need to keep a large number of objects in one bucket will appreciate indexless buckets. As the name implies, the Ceph Rados Gateway (RGW) can be configured not to maintain an index, which can significantly increase performance by skipping metadata operations during writes. This new feature is well-suited for situations where applications maintain their own index (as is the case with many web and big data apps). We aim to deliver more enhancements around optimizing large-bucket use cases in future releases.

iSCSI in tech preview

Finally, we’re introducing an initial set of iSCSI functionality for use with Ceph’s Rados Block Device (RBD) as part of the Red Hat tech preview program. By using a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 host as an iSCSI target, users can map LUNs to kernel RBD images with an Ansible-driven workflow that supports multi-pathing. As we evolve this feature toward general availability, we welcome feedback from users running VMware ESX, RHV, or Microsoft Windows as iSCSI initiators. Customers are encouraged to discuss potential use cases with their account managers.

Lifecycle

The Red Hat Ceph Storage 2 stream is supported until July 2019, and the next minor update is targeted for Spring 2017.

Five lessons you learned as a child that apply to your enterprise storage strategy

By Bianca Owens, Red Hat Storage

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Always share

Open, software-defined storage is only possible through the collaboration between hundreds, even thousands, of contributors worldwide who join forces to tackle some of the trickiest challenges around enterprise storage. Innovation isn’t limited to a small group of product managers and engineers but is instead a continuum of ideas from enthusiasts and practitioners, which is then hardened for enterprise consumption and backed by Red Hat’s world-class support.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

IT hardware has feelings, too. When your shiny new servers arrive in the datacenter, somewhere there is a tear shed by your trusty, and perhaps rusty, servers. Thanks to software-defined storage, they can now enjoy a new life as storage servers. Red Hat Storage software has smarts built into it to allow non-disruptive additions to the hardware cluster, allowing storage workloads to be deployed on newly added servers (or servers with newly added components) almost immediately.

Eat your veggies so you grow big and strong

Using a software-defined storage solution will help you scale easily as your storage needs evolve. Just as we all grow in steady, small increments, allowing for our bodies to adjust and balance as we gain height, Red Hat Storage enables administrators to scale with extremely granular control so they can build balanced storage systems that are not awkwardly skewed in favor of compute, network, memory, or capacity.

Don’t be afraid to make new friends

By definition, software-defined storage is independent of the hardware on which it runs. This translates into greater flexibility and choice for customers who can use any industry-standard hardware and components. Red Hat Storage has many friends who make durable, cost-effective hardware and works closely with each of them to create reference architectures and product bundles to give customers a range of solutions along the build vs. buy spectrum. Read our lip: No vendor lock in.

Red Hat is also friends with public cloud providers. For instance, Red Hat Gluster Storage is available on Amazon, Google, and Microsoft public clouds. And what’s more interesting is that the same bits are deployed on premise, in containers and virtual machines, and public cloud deployments, which means fewer application rewrites and retooling as applications are transitioned across boundaries.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Customers and analysts agree that software-defined storage can significantly reduce storage costs. In a recent whitepaper on the economics of software-defined storage, IDC found that “over a five-year period, procuring server hardware with internal disks and deploying a software-based storage solution such as Red Hat Gluster Storage and Red Hat Ceph Storage can save businesses over 60% and 46%, respectively, compared with a competitive NAS solution.”

Comparable features and performance, at about half the price. What’s not to like? When it comes to storage, it’s never been better to be a kid in a candy store. Get started with your goody bag here.

IDC: The economics of software-defined storage

Red Hat Storage received a resounding endorsement from IDC in the recently published analyst opinion whitepaper on the economics of software-defined storage. Over the past decade, one of the change drivers motivating companies to move off traditional storage appliances to software-defined storage has been rising costs, given the mounting pressure to retain and process more data than ever before.

In this paper, IDC concludes that “over a five-year period, procuring server hardware with internal disks and deploying a software-based storage solution such as Red Hat Gluster Storage and Red Hat Ceph Storage can save businesses over 39% and 53%, respectively, compared with a competitive NAS solution.”

But wait—There’s more….

The savings numbers by themselves are compelling enough for most CIOs considering the transition from monolithic, proprietary storage appliances. However, there are a number of additional savings that can make the decision a no-brainer.

  • Businesses can leverage the latest innovation in servers, spinning disks, memory, flash, external disk systems, and other components to continuously evolve their storage systems, rather than being tied to the plodding innovation cycle of their storage vendors. As hardware prices decline, companies can purchase hardware at lower prices over time rather than being forced to make a large investment at the outset.
  • Customers can scale storage infrastructure built on practices and standards adopted by the largest cloud service providers, bringing greater efficiencies and helping to convert capital expenditure (CapEx) to operating expenditure (OpEx).
  • Datacenters that have undergone recent hardware refreshes can reuse older servers and hardware as storage servers, thus reducing cost and improving utilization.
  • Capacity planning is a breeze, because enterprises can purchase exactly how much they need for ready-to-go projects rather than over-provision to allow for future growth. With software-defined storage, expensive and cumbersome migrations are a thing of the past, because the hardware and software updates happen on an incremental and more manageable basis rather than discrete forklift upgrades.

“Open” is more than a modifier

One of the topics clearly outlined in the IDC paper is the preeminence of “open” and “open source” in almost every aspect of the datacenter. The open source experiment that started more than 20 years ago has now turned to the default option for many enterprises. In the words of IDC: “Today, Linux not only is used to run applications but also powers many hardware-based storage platforms—a fact that has not gone unnoticed by many.”

Storage built with open standards, using open source storage controller software, offers customers the best of both worlds—latest innovations driven by hundreds and thousands of practitioners across the world and unmatched cost efficiencies for enterprise-grade solutions on par with any incumbent storage technology.

Open source has cost implications beyond product and support. For instance, because Linux skills are ubiquitous in most datacenters, training to be a storage administrator for Red Hat Ceph and Gluster Storage is a much smaller skills investment compared to what’s required for a dedicated storage administrator to master a proprietary storage appliance.

“Software-defined” defined

Not surprisingly, many traditional storage appliance vendors have tried to rebrand themselves as “software defined” by adding superficial add-ons, but when you look under the covers, they leave much to be desired in terms of flexibility and choice.

The IDC paper cites a few building blocks essential to any software-defined solution that can serve as a litmus test for customers looking for a truly software-defined solution:

  • Standalone or autonomous storage controller software for storage access services, data persistence, networking functions, and interconnects that make no assumptions of underlying hardware components or any underlying resilience or redundancy schemes like RAID
  • A system that supports rolling hardware and software upgrades, as well as the ability to run mixed hardware configurations
  • Platforms that do not contain proprietary hardware components like custom-designed ASICs, accelerator cards, chipsets, memory components, or CPUs
  • A shared-nothing architecture in which data is shared and distributed (commonly found in scale-out environments) and that allows nodes to function independently, in contrast to scale-up systems with proprietary interconnects to share hardware resources

The breakdown

The IDC whitepaper compares the acquisition and maintenance cost of 300TB of Red Hat Gluster Storage and 500TB of Red Hat Ceph Storage (on Supermicro hardware) with competitive NAS storage system spanning 3- and 5-year horizons. The results speak for themselves.

idc1

idc2

It’s more than just storage

While the IDC whitepaper focuses squarely on the economics of software-defined storage, the author is quick to point out that Red Hat Storage can bring added value to the organization through “storage and data management efficiency, increase in application performance, reduction in storage infrastructure costs, and increase in IT productivity.”

You can dive into the IDC whitepaper and get started right away with your Red Hat Gluster Storage or Red Hat Ceph Storage test drive today.

Jack of all trades: New Cisco UCS S-Series and Red Hat Storage

imagesToday, Cisco announced its new UCS S-Series storage-optimized server with the introduction of the UCS S3260, marking its entry into the emerging server market for data intensive workloads.

Red Hat and Cisco have worked together for a long time, including our collaboration on Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

Out with the old…

By jumping into the high-density storage-optimized server market, Cisco validates what we see as the continued movement to emerging software-defined, scale-out architectures for solutions like OpenStack and container-native storage and hyper-converged infrastructure.

With the ability to spread data across multiple servers, both Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat Gluster Storage are helping to drive this trend. Open, software-defined storage enables enterprises to build an elastic cloud infrastructure for newer, data intensive workloads.

Ceph provides unified storage over a distributed object store (RADOS) as its core by providing unified block, object and file interfaces, while Gluster provides an elastic, scale out NAS file storage system.

As more organizations move to open source SDS from appliances / traditional SAN arrays, they often miss the recipes for a best practice deployment. Red Hat has worked with Cisco to produce reference design architectures to take the guess work out of configuring throughput-optimized, cost / capacity-optimized and emerging high IOPs performing clusters, including whitepapers for both Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat Gluster Storage with Cisco’s previous generation of the S-Series, the C3160 high density rack server.

Open source drives storage innovation

Both Ceph and Gluster use community-powered innovation to accelerate their core feature sets faster than what is possible via a single proprietary vendor. Red Hat is a top contributor to both Ceph and Gluster upstream development, but several hardware, software and cloud service providers, including eBay, Yahoo!, CERN (Ceph) and Facebook (Gluster), all contribute to the code base. Cisco itself is a top-50 contributor to Ceph in terms of code commits.

Versatility

The Cisco UCS S-Series builds on the x86 storage-optimized server trend – but seemingly shuffles the deck with more of an enterprise spin via features such as dual-node servers, quadruple fans and power supplies, connected to Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects.

One aspect of the new UCS S-Series design we are excited about is “versatility”. UCS offers common, consistent architecture for variety of IT needs that we expect may enable it to become a standard hardware building block for enterprise environments. S-Series includes features such as a modular chassis design, facilitating upgrades to new Intel chipsets including its disk expander module, providing the ability to swap out a server node for an additional 4 drives (increasing the raw capacity from 560 to 600 TB).

Cisco has also integrated networking fabric into its storage-optimized servers, making it easier to extend your interconnect as your cluster scales out. The S3260 offers dual 40GbE ports for each server node. As one moves to denser servers (with more than 24 drives) in Ceph configurations, the need for 40Gb Ethernet becomes greater. Enterprises can benefit from tightly-integrated fabric interconnect which translates to less latency, which is important for applications like video streaming.

A key piece is the UCS Manager configuration and handling tool which can simplify deployment. UCS Manager enables the creation of an initial configuration profile for storage, network, compute, etc. for the S3260, helping customers to more easily grow their Ceph environments by pushing out the profile to additional S3260s as they expand.

Combined with the Red Hat Storage ability to handle block, object and file access along with being flexible enough to handle throughput optimized, cost / capacity and high IOPS workloads, Cisco’s UCS S-Series may not just be a jack of all trades, but also a master of many.

Stay tuned for more upcoming joint solution papers from the Cisco UCS S3260 and Red Hat Ceph Storage teams. In the interim, learn more about the UCS S-Series at cisco.com/go/storage.

Red Hat named a “visionary” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage

Today we announced that Gartner has named Red Hat Storage as a Visionary in its first ever Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage. This is a great honor and solid recognition by a leading IT analyst of Red Hat’s vision and prominence in the market with Red Hat Gluster Storage and Red Hat Ceph Storage.

mq_graphic

Gartner’s Magic Quadrants are based on rigorous analysis of a vendor’s completeness of vision and ability to execute. We are proud to be ranked highest in both ability to execute and completeness of vision among the Visionaries Gartner named.

We believe this placement by Gartner reinforces our commitment to offer a unified, open, software-defined storage portfolio that delivers a range of data services for next-generation workloads helping customers to accelerate the transition to modern IT infrastructures.

Access the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage report here.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc., as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Red Hat.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Software-defined storage explained on the back of a napkin

napkin

The demand for storage is headed only in one direction, and that’s up. The cost of enterprise storage is a mounting concern for CIOs as there is added pressure to retain more data due to factors such as regulatory compliance and big data analytics.

Traditional, monolithic storage appliances are built on a scale-up model that is rigid and expensive. The only way to grow storage capacity is by throwing feeds and speeds at the appliance. On the other hand, distributed software-defined storage is built on a scale-out model that lends itself naturally to seamless scale and agility. Adding capacity is as simple as adding more industry-standard servers to the storage cluster.

The price-performance ceiling of traditional storage appliances

When we compare the price-performance characteristics of traditional scale-up storage appliances to software-defined storage such as Red Hat Gluster Storage, we see that as capacity grows, storage appliances hit a performance plateau, while software-defined storage scales linearly. On the other hand, we find that the cost of a monolithic appliance grows exponentially as we hit the performance plateau.

It’s important to remember that traditional storage appliances were built in the era before today’s diverse workloads. For that reason, Red Hat works with the top hardware vendors to build reference architectures that are optimized for performance, throughput, or capacity depending on the workload you’re running.

Unprecedented flexibility and choice

With Red Hat Gluster Storage, you run the same software bits whether the storage is deployed on premise, on virtual machines, in the cloud, or even in containers. Red Hat Gluster Storage offers you advanced storage features such as tiering, bit rot detection, geo replication, and erasure coding, just to name a few. When considering the 3-year TCO, including hardware and support, you get comparable features and performance for about half the price of a storage appliance.

If you feel locked in by your proprietary storage vendor, perhaps it’s time to give open, software-defined storage a try. Take Red Hat Gluster Storage for a test drive on AWS today.

Container-native storage for next-generation applications

Last week, Red Hat announced the general availability of OpenShift Container Platform 3.3, which includes key updates to the developer experience, web console, cluster management, and enterprise container registry. Read more about the updates in this blog series or listen to the briefing by OpenShift Lead Architect, Clayton Coleman.

Container-native storage for OpenShift Container Platform

In previous blog posts, we’ve covered the various deployment options available with Red Hat Gluster Storage as it relates to applications running in containers. In the latest release of OpenShift Container Platform, container-native storage has been revalidated to offer customers agility and choice for persistent storage. This release include a new persistent volume selector that helps users differentiate between storage back-ends with similar access modes.

Persistent storage for both stateful and stateless apps

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform provides developers the ability to  provision, build, and deploy applications and their components in a self-service fashion. It integrates with continuous integration and delivery tools, making it an ideal solution for development teams. And because OpenShift Container Platform offers persistent storage natively to containers, IT organizations can run both stateful and stateless applications on one platform.

Infrastructure and applications under a single control plane

In a recent article, we talked about how containers and software-defined storage have a complementary relationship in the sense that each one lends itself nicely to the demands of enterprises using the other technology. In some ways, containers hold the key to addressing a challenge that was once thought of as unsolvable. How do we provide developers added control over infrastructure for their applications without the pain associated with actually managing infrastructure? With OpenShift Container Platform, developers can provision and manage programmable storage, just as easily as they would applications. This results in faster development cycles, and more reliable application management, while also lowering costs. Detailed product documentation is available here.

Hear from the experts

OpenShift Container Platform is the industry’s most secure and comprehensive enterprise-grade container platform based on industry standards, Docker and Kubernetes. We have a number of upcoming opportunities where you could learn more and interact with Red Hat experts. We hope to see you there.

  • Red Hat Storage Days – Coming to Seattle (10/18), New York (10/20), and Boston (11/3) with a full agenda of how software-defined storage is tailormade for container and OpenStack environments.
  • OpenShift Storage Webinar – On November 3 you can deep dive into some of the latest storage provisioning and management updates in OpenShift Container Platform 3.3. and get a sneak preview of what’s on the horizon.
  • OpenShift Commons Gathering – Scheduled conveniently a day before (November 7) and co-located with KubeCon in Seattle, this event is a great opportunity to network with and hear from the star-studded speaker list, which includes Red Hat’s Clayton Colman, Microsoft’s Brendan Burns, Google’s Kelsey Hightower and Craig McLuckie. Space is limited, so please register soon.
  • KubeCon – Visit our booth on November 8-9 to learn how Red Hat contributions to the Docker and Kubernetes communities are driving some of the key innovations in the container orchestration space.

Red Hat Gluster Storage leads the charge on persistent storage for containers

Offers choice of deployment configurations for containerized applications

By Irshad Raihan and Sayan Saha, Red Hat Storage

One of the key reasons software-defined storage has risen to fame over the past decade is the multiple aspects of agility it offers. As we move into the era of application-centric IT, microservices, and containers, agility isn’t just a good idea, it could mean the difference between survival and extinction.

Agility in a container-centric datacenter

As we covered in a recent webinar, Red Hat Gluster Storage offers unique value to developers and administrators looking for a storage solution that is not only container-aware but serves out storage for containerized applications natively.

One critical aspect of agility offered by Red Hat Storage is that the storage can be deployed in a number of configurations in relation to the hardware where the containers reside. This allows architects to choose the best configuration that makes the most sense for their particular situation and yet allows them to transition to a different configuration with minimal impact to applications.

Dedicated, scale-out storage for containerized applications

If you’re a storage admin looking to provide a stand-alone storage volume to applications running in containers, Red Hat Gluster Storage can expose a mount point so your applications have access to a durable, distributed storage cluster.

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In this configuration, the Red Hat Gluster Storage installation runs in an independent cluster (either on premise or in one of the supported public clouds: Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform) and is accessed over the network from a platform like Red Hat OpenShift.

Red Hat OpenShift — optimized to run containerized applications and workloads — ships with the appropriate Gluster storage plugins necessary to make this configuration work out of the box.

Container-native storage: Persistent storage for containers with containers

In another deployment configuration, you can run containerized Red Hat Gluster Storage inside Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform. Red Hat Gluster Storage containers are orchestrated using Kubernetes, OpenShift’s container orchestrator like any other application container.

The storage container (Kubernetes pod) pools and serves out local or direct-attached storage from hosts (to be consumed by application containers for their persistent storage needs), offering Gluster’s rich set of enterprise-class storage features, data services, and data-protection capabilities for applications and microservices running in OpenShift.

Exactly one privileged Red Hat Gluster Storage container is instantiated per host as a Kubernetes pod. As a user, you benefit from being able to deploy enterprise-grade storage using a workflow that is consistent with their application orchestration, use a converged (compute + storage) deployment model, and can choose storage-intensive nodes (hosts with local or direct-attached storage) within a cluster for deploying storage containers, optionally collocated with application containers.

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This solution, known as container-native storage, currently generally available from Red Hat, leverages an open source project named Heketi. contributed by Luis Pabón (one of the speakers on the recent webinar). Heketi is a RESTful volume manager that allows for programmatic volume allocation and provides the glue necessary to manage multiple Gluster volumes across clusters, thereby allowing Kubernetes to provision storage without being limited to a single Red Hat Gluster Storage cluster.

Heketi enhances the user experience of dynamically managing storage, whether it’s via the API or as a developer working in the OpenShift Container Platform, and runs as a container itself inside OpenShift in the container-native storage solution, providing a service endpoint for Gluster. As a storage administrator, you no longer need to manage or configure bricks, disks, or trusted storage pools. The Heketi service will manage all hardware for you, enabling it to allocate storage on demand. Any disks registered with Heketi must be provided in raw format, which will then be managed by it using LVM on the disks provided.

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This is a key differentiator for Red hat Gluster Storage. As far as we can tell, no other storage vendor can provide this flavor of container-native storage, and certainly not with the level of integration provided with OpenShift Container Platform. As a number of early adopters have told us, it’s invaluable to have a single point of support all the way up from the operating system layer, to orchestration, app dev, and storage.

Stay tuned — ’cause we’re not done

We’re working hard to continue to innovate to make a much more seamless experience for developers and administrators alike to manage storage in a containerized environment.

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We’ve delivered a number of industry-first innovations over the past year and will continue to focus on enabling a seamless user experience for developers and administrators looking to adopt containers as the preferred deployment platform. Stay tuned.

Storage appliances take cover!

New performance and sizing guidance on Red Hat Gluster Storage with QCT hardware

By Will McGrath, Partner Marketing, Red Hat Storage

I’m an oldest sibling. They say the traits of the oldest include being mature and dependable, while rebellion and excitement are often characteristics of the youngest. Think of the Prodigal Son parable.

Brothers in arms

On the surface, it’s possible to draw a parallel to the Red Hat Storage products. Red Hat Gluster Storage was the first product in Red Hat’s quiver. Distributed, POSIX­-compatible, scale-out file storage software, Gluster has added several modern architectural features over the years — geo­-replication, erasure coding, bit rot detection, self healing and tiering, to mention a few.

Ceph was recently (April 2014) added to the portfolio and garnered attention as the new kid on the block, but also partly because it addresses the rapidly growing object storage market and has been the most preferred platform for OpenStack1. As younger siblings often do, Ceph tends to hog the spotlight.

This week, elder sibling Red Hat Gluster Storage made a statement about its maturity in the marketplace and open source community, while also reinforcing the message around choice that Red Hat’s software-defined storage portfolio offers to customers.

New performance and sizing guide for Gluster

QCT (Quanta Cloud Technology), whose parent company, Quanta Computer, Inc., is probably the least-known leading server vendor in the world, has worked with Red Hat to produce the industry’s first Red Hat Gluster Storage Performance and Sizing Guide.

QCT and Red Hat have performed extensive testing to characterize optimized configurations for deploying Red Hat Gluster Storage on several QCT servers, with the goal of providing a highly prescriptive recommendation to end customers on how best to tailor storage to the demands of their workloads.

A slew of different configuration options were tested:

  • Small, medium, and large file operations
  • Standard and dense server chassis
  • JBOD vs. RAID6 storage layouts
  • Replicated and dispersed (erasure coding) volumes
  • SSD tiering vs. non­-tiering
  • Self-­healing with different cluster sizes

QCT has gone a step beyond co­-producing the 34­-page joint performance and sizing guide and created single SKUs, to make ordering much easier for cost/capacity­-optimized and throughput­-optimized configurations.

The following diagram highlights QCT’s naming convention:

qct

(Note: You can find more details on QCT’s part-number variants in Appendix A of the Performance and Sizing Guide on the QCT website).

The performance and sizing guide and ready-to-­order SKUs from QCT go a long way in cementing the market and thought leadership of open, software-defined storage in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Sister, sister!

While the new performance and sizing guide represents significant value to customers curious about the best server configurations for a particular workload, it also serves as a data point in the overarching message about the ability to control the very guts of enterprise storage, something that traditional appliances generally cannot offer.

Gluster has made waves recently, as a significantly lower cost alternative to EMC Isilon for certain workloads and for being supported within multiple public clouds.

While Gluster has gained traction in the press as providing persistent file storage for containers in Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform, Ceph enjoys its status as the preferred block storage platform for OpenStack private cloud builders. Each has their own niche, strengths, and, more important, their own tribe. Gluster and Ceph as upstream open source communities are vibrant and, like young siblings, growing at different rates. Gluster is a larger community (with a larger customer base), while Ceph is growing faster.

Needless to say, they are both equally loved by the Red Hat family, and continue to enjoy strong engineering and marketing focus, to help customers build world-class storage for their applications.

1OpenStack User Survey (April 2016)

The emperor has no clothes – Disrobing the myth of storage window dressing

By Daniel Gilfix, Product Marketing, Red Hat Storage

The emperor has no clothes! The emperor has no clothes!

Those were the words uttered by a bold observer of the king’s procession in the Danish fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837. The metaphor has since been used to connote, among other things, collective denial or ignorance of an obvious fact. Such is the case today with storage, as IT has had to grope with exponential growth of data from social media and cloud, media and entertainment, video on-demand services, and even medical imaging. In an era where people throw around buzz words like digital transformation and discuss solutions to address the ensuing pressures imposed by all this data growth on capacity, scalability, and cost, we’re often led to believe that storage will take care of itself.

Illustration of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” By Vilhelm Pedersen (1820 – 1859). Source: English Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes#/media/File:Emperor_Clothes_01.jpg

21st century reality

Thanks to new research by Vanson Bourne Ltd in a survey commissioned by Red Hat, we’re beginning to see mounting evidence that denying the critical role of storage in “sexy” solutions spanning physical, virtual, private cloud, container, and public cloud environments is like sequestering the unabashed observers of the masquerading naked king. Indeed, today’s solutions require the agility to access data from anywhere, anytime, on any device, the flexibility to store data on-premises or in the cloud, and advanced data protection that provides integrity and high availability at very large scale. All of these are core deliverables of software-defined storage. And while it would be presumptuous to believe storage alone can solve all these data challenges, it’s naïve to think that they’re solvable without it.

Research findings

Vanson Bourne’s research underlies this new reality. In fact, inadequate storage infrastructure is now considered fourth out of the top ten pain points that IT decision makers experience on a weekly basis, behind cost, security, and system complexity. 94% of respondents are frustrated with their organization’s storage solution, and 70% fear it can’t cope with next generation workloads. Over the next three to five years, respondents believe that their organization’s volume of data is set to increase by 54%. Nearly three quarters of respondents worry about their organization’s ability to cope with this amount data. When asked about specific workload sizes, the outlook from respondents seems even gloomier. Two thirds believe that their organization lacks the versatility to cope with workloads bigger than a petabyte, while only 17% feel they could support a new application next month requiring 10 PBs. Clearly most organizations are not prepared to cope with large workloads, and without this preparedness, their ability to roll out new applications and IT solutions may effectively be in jeopardy.

Benefits of agile storage

Fortunately, 98% of IT decision makers are optimistic about the tangible benefits of moving to a more agile storage solution. 62% view storage as an opportunity to make efficiencies, 54% as an opportunity to become innovative. More revealing, however, is the fact that specific anticipated benefits cited by Vanson Bourne respondents are eerily similar to those sought by IT departments striving for digital transformation across the datacenter, with 56% saying flexibility, 48% the ability to move data into storage more quickly, 31% support for varied workloads, and 28% freedom from being tied into third party vendor relationships.

Bottom line

Without discussing what, beyond budgetary constraints, might be impeding procurement for these IT decision makers, it’s clear that more agile storage could alleviate most frustrations with their current storage solution and deliver invaluable benefits to their infrastructure and solutions dependent upon storage at their core. This is something we have touted consistently at Red Hat with our portfolio of open, software-defined storage solutions that are specifically designed to support new workloads with flexible and highly scalable architectures based on commodity hardware. It’s refreshing to see quantifiable evidence beginning to surface from the front line of our customers in support of our mission, but there are still those who continue to watch the same IT solution parade like admirers of the emperor’s attire. 73% of respondents in Vanson Bourne’s research believe that their organizations are not always aware of storage needs, and 83% feel that storage needs to be a higher priority.

So the next time someone proposes a new approach to solving an IT problem that claims to deliver benefits related to data efficiency, flexibility, accessibility, and all around agility, make sure to remember those whose vision was mired by group think a couple centuries ago in Denmark. Is storage still window dressing for you, or should it be an integral component if not prime focus of these so-called solutions up front, so that these promised benefits are actually seen, not just imagined?

Red Hat Ceph Storage is object storage

By Steve Bohac, Product Marketing, Red Hat Storage

Explosive data growth continues to overwhelm hardware-based storage and IT budgets. Web-scale architectures are becoming more and more prevalent within enterprise IT, as well as cloud providers. By “web scale,” we mean large (often a PB and beyond!) architectures employed by the large social media and large cloud services providers we all use every day.

Very often, these web-scale storage architectures are built on object storage. Traditional, proprietary, file-system-based storage appliances generally are built with architectures that are too rigid at this PB (or greater) scale. Installations this large can expose the file system’s inherent weaknesses, performance limitations, and management complexities. Thus, object storage is becoming more attractive for its potential of handling scale while minimizing complexity and costs. Software-defined storage (like Red Hat Storage) can significantly cut costs, prevent vendor lock-in, and allow customers to add capacity and performance independently—critical at the PB+ scale!

You may have seen our recent announcement of Red Hat Ceph Storage 2 featuring enhancements to its object storage capabilities. We’ve seen that object storage implementations have increased over the past few years. Red Hat Ceph Storage has been object based since day one of the Ceph open source project. In fact, RADOS, the foundational component of Ceph, is an acronym for Reliable, Autonomous, Distributed Object Store.

Blog 08.04.16

Red Hat Ceph Storage is well suited for object storage installations because it is:

  • Proven at web scale for object storage – Red Hat Ceph Storage was designed from the ground up since the beginning of Ceph 10 years ago. During the past decade, it has been hardened by customer usage as well as extensive community development. Consequently, many large companies are running Red Hat Ceph Storage for their large production workloads with object storage.
  • Flexible storage for your applications – Several access methods provide customers flexibility in how their applications interact with Ceph object storage: Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, or Ceph’s native API protocols can all be employed. Ceph’s scale-out architecture provides additional flexibility, allowing customers to scale performance and capacity separately.
  • Capable of offering the data protection, reliability, and availability enterprises demand – The distributed nature of the Ceph storage architecture allows you to store and protect your data across numerous hardware assets (thereby mitigating the risk of a hardware failure). The employment of erasure coding provides more storage-efficient data protection than traditional RAID-based solutions. Last, geo-replication capability provides disaster recovery in the unfortunate event that a location suffers some sort of outage.
  • Open, community-based, software-defined storage for object – An open source object storage offering, Red Hat Ceph Storage draws on the innovations of a community of developers, partners, and customers.
  • Cost-effective object storage to help you maximize your storage budget – The employment of a distributed, open, software-defined storage solution has the potential to significantly cut costs, prevent vendor lock-in, and allow customers to add capacity without degrading performance – critical at the PB+ scale!

Learn more at http://www.redhat.com/storage and https://www.redhat.com/en/technologies/storage/use-cases/object-storage.

Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1.3 is here!

By Alok Srivastava, Senior Product Manager, Red Hat Gluster Storage and Data, Red Hat

Container-native storage, faster self-healing, sharding, and more

It’s a great time to be a storage aficionado! Last week, we announced Red Hat Ceph Storage 2. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the general availability of Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1.3.

Building on momentum

Red Hat Gluster Storage has enjoyed strong momentum in terms of customer success and community growth. We’ve added a number of enterprise-class features over the past 3 to 4 years that have significantly enhanced performance, reliability, durability, and security.

Software-defined storage offers the best of both worlds—the flexibility to grow storage incrementally and reuse existing industry-standard hardware, while also taking advantage of the latest innovation in storage controller software and hardware components. For more on Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1.3 features, check out the following video.

Feature-packed release

The 3.1.3 release of Red Hat Gluster Storage includes a number of feature enhancements that enable greater performance, reliability, and faster self-healing, including deep integration of Red Hat Gluster Storage with other Red Hat products.

Persistent storage for containers

You may have already seen our blog post from earlier today on container-native storage for OpenShift Container Platform. Earlier this year, we announced a containerized image of Red Hat Gluster Storage. This release moves a step further and enables converged storage containers that can co-reside with application containers on the same host. Shared resources between application and storage help in overall TCO reduction. Containers are deployed and provisioned using an enhanced Heketi module.

Container-native storage provides storage services to the application containers by pooling and exposing storage from either local hosts or direct-attached storage.

RHGS 3.1.3-2

Multi-threaded self-heal

All at once or one at a time? While the debate between single- and multi-threaded approach is never ending, Red Hat Gluster Storage self-heal certainly does better for some workloads when it is parallelized. This release of Red Hat Gluster Storage allows you to perform self-heal in parallel. Multi-threaded self-heal will be most useful with a large number of small files (e.g., sharded VM images). Facebook is the primary contributor to multi-threaded self-heal in the Gluster community.

Sharding

Sharding refers to breaking a large file into tinier chunks. Sharding splits large virtual machine (VM) image files into small blocks of configurable size. This results in faster self-healing with reduction in CPU usage, which helps the hyperconvergence of Red Hat Gluster Storage with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and live VM use case.

Geo-replication feature of Red Hat Gluster Storage is also sharding aware for these two use cases so that only required shards/ fragments are replicated.

RHGS 3.1.3-1

Integration with VSS

We heard you! You need not call up your storage administrator if you are a Windows user and need to browse through the previous version of any file/folder. Red Hat Gluster Storage is now integrated with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) of Microsoft Windows. Red Hat Gluster Storage supports the viewing and accessing of snapshots.

RHGS 3.1.3-3

SMB Multichannel

Have more network adapters? Get better SMB performance! SMB Multichannel is a feature of SMB 3.0 protocol that increases the network performance and availability of Red Hat Gluster Storage servers. SMB Multichannel allows use of multiple network connections simultaneously and provides increased throughput along with network fault tolerance. SMB Multichannel is provided as a technical preview feature with Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1.3, and we intend to fully support it soon.

Easy installation of hyperconverged setup

We’ve ensured that the installation of the hyperconverged setup of Red Hat Gluster Storage and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is easy enough for you. The Ansible-based gdeploy tool is enhanced for the automated installation of hyperconverged setups.

Kilo refresh for Gluster Swift

We’ve refreshed Gluster Swift to support OpenStack Kilo for RHEL 7-based Red Hat Gluster Storage. RHEL 6-based Red Hat Gluster Storage continues to support Openstack Icehouse.

Scheduling of geo-replication

Periodic scheduling of geo-replication allows administrators to synchronize data between clusters during non-peak hours. We have detailed performance and sizing guides available later this year, with prescriptive guidance to tweak the right price/performance mix for your workloads.

Find us at Red Hat Summit

Red Hat Storage has an impressive presence at this year’s conference, with key announcements around object storage with Red Hat Ceph Storage and container-native storage with Red Hat Gluster Storage. Stop by Pods 31 and 32 of Booth 508 on the expo floor, speak with storage experts, or attend one of our sessions. You could even win a wicked-cool Amazon Echo (as seen in the Baldwin ads)!

RHGS 3.1.3-4