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.

Availability of Red Hat Gluster Storage in Microsoft Azure

Sayan Saha, head of Product Management, Red Hat Gluster Storage and Big Data, Red Hat

Today, we announced our plans to make several Red Hat offerings, including Red Hat Gluster Storage, available in Microsoft Azure as fully supported offerings. Red Hat Gluster Storage offers Azure users a scale-out, POSIX compatible, massively scalable, elastic file storage solution with a global namespace.

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Why Software Defined Storage is set to disrupt the world of containers. And why you should care.

Containers have the potential to be hugely disruptive – they are about to impact almost every process and person within the data center. Container technology will also impact how we think about storage for applications and microservices. In turn, software defined storage will impact how storage is dynamically provisioned and managed for containerized applications.

Continue reading “Why Software Defined Storage is set to disrupt the world of containers. And why you should care.”

Latest OpenStack user survey shows Ceph continues to dominate

According to the OpenStack Foundation’s sixth and most recent user survey released just prior to this week’s OpenStack Summit in Tokyo, 62% of users selected Ceph RBD block storage for their OpenStack use cases, nearly three and more than four times the two closest alternatives, LVM (default) and NetApp, respectively.  In production, a full 38% of respondents indicated that their OpenStack deployments depended on Ceph as their Cinder driver, with the same comparisons. A survey of the largest production clouds, those exceeding 1,000 cores, showed similar results, with 37% of users selecting Ceph RBD followed by NetApp at 12%.  Interestingly enough, with 9% of respondents using GlusterFS in production, development & quality assurance, or proof of concept across all OpenStack deployments, more than 70% of OpenStack users are relying on block storage championed by Red Hat Storage.

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Address security challenges with software-defined storage

Hand-in-hand with the explosive growth of data and iCloud services comes a range of security threats, all of which can be addressed with software-defined storage. To learn how, register for the following webinars – the link is at the bottom of the post!

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Ceph Deployment at Target: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

In October 2014, the first Ceph environment at Target, a U.S. based international chain of department stores, went live. In this insightful slide show (embedded at the end of this post), Will Boege, Sr. Technical Architect at Target, talks about the process, highlighting challenges faced and lessons learned in Target’s first ‘official’ Openstack release.

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Ceph’s on the move… and coming to a city near you!

What’s that saying: Ya can’t keep a good person down? Well, ya can’t keep a good technology contained—and that’s why Ceph’s been appearing at venues across the globe.

Ceph Day just hit Chicago

Most recently—this past August—Ceph made its way to Chicago, home of Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs, a place known worldwide for its Prohibition-era ruckus as well as its present-day spirits and brews. There, at Ceph Day Chicago, Bloomberg’s Chris Jones, senior cloud infrastructure, architecture/DevOps, explained how Ceph helps power storage at the financial giant.

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The Top 5 Q&As From Sage Weil’s Recent Reddit AMA

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Sage Weil, Red Hat’s chief architect of Ceph and co-creator of Cephamong many other credentials – recently held an “ask me anything” session on Reddit. Though you can read the whole thing for yourself, here, we’ve collected the top questions and answers for your edification. Read on!

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Check out our rich media deep-dive webinar – on demand!

Want to know more about rich media? In a recent webinar, Red Hat Senior Solutions Architect Kyle Bader took a deep dive into rich media and the unique demands it places on storage systems. We recap some highlights from the webinar here, but please register for the on-demand version here to get the full experience.

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GlusterFS among the elite!

Score one more for Red Hat Storage! In case you didn’t hear, GlusterFS is the proud recipient of a 2015 Bossie Award, InfoWorld’s top picks in open source datacenter and cloud software. Highly influential worldwide among technology and business decision makers alike, the IDC publication selected GlusterFS as one of its top picks for 2015.

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Test drive Red Hat Ceph Storage — for free

Want to try Red Hat Ceph Storage for yourself? Then it’s your lucky day. You can test drive it now. For free!

Available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a number of short, easily digestible labs, the Red Hat Ceph Storage test drive gives you a hands-on opportunity to explore the product’s features and see for yourself—in real time—how Red Hat Ceph Storage works. In addition to letting you explore the management features and fundamentals of Red Hat Ceph Storage, test drive labs walk you through such things as how to deploy a Ceph cluster and how to set up erasure-coded and replication storage pools.

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Learn how Red Hat Storage and Intel, Cisco, and other hardware partners are optimizing software-defined solutions on their hardware architecture

Continue reading “Learn how Red Hat Storage and Intel, Cisco, and other hardware partners are optimizing software-defined solutions on their hardware architecture”