Cloud hosting for enterprise-level deployments in today's competitive business environment necessitates a highly scalable storage solution to streamline and manage critical business data.
With technology and most reasonable practices rapidly moving to cloud-based assistance in order to keep up with growing businesses, Ceph emerged as a solution to meet the need for a software storage solution that promotes a very sustainable growth model.
In this blog, we will go over various aspects of Ceph storage and how it can meet the demanding storage requirements of businesses.
What exactly is Ceph Storage?
Red Hat Ceph is open-source software that aims to provide highly scalable object, block, and file-based storage in a single system. Ceph is a powerful storage solution that uses its own Ceph file system (CephFS) and is self-managing and self-healing. It is capable of dealing with outages on its own and is constantly working to reduce administrative costs.
Another advantage of Ceph storage is that it is favorably fault-tolerant and effortlessly imitates data. This means that there are no bottlenecks in the process while Ceph is running.
There have been more than 15 Ceph releases since its initial release, with Red Hat recently announcing a major update as Red Hat Storage 4, which brings an array of improvements in monitoring, scalability, management, and security, making it easier for enterprises to get started with Ceph.
Ceph's most recent features include:
- High scalability
- High reliability via distributed data storage
- Robust data security via redundant storage
- Benefits of continuous memory allocation
- Convenient software-based increase in availability via an integrated data-location algorithm
Understanding How Ceph Block Storage Works
Ceph's primary storage medium is a Ceph block machine, which is a virtual disc that can be connected to virtual machines or bare-metal Linux-based servers. RADOS (Reliable Autonomic Distributed Object Store) is a key component in Ceph that provides powerful block storage capabilities such as replication and snapshots that can be integrated with OpenStack Block Storage.
Ceph also stores data in their storage clusters using POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface), a robust Ceph file system. The file system has the advantage of using the same clustered system as Ceph block storage and object storage to store massive amounts of data.
The architecture of Ceph Storage
Ceph requires several computers to be linked together in what is known as a cluster. Each of these networked computers is referred to as a node.
The following are some of the tasks that must be distributed among the network's nodes:
Monitor nodes (ceph-mon): These cluster monitors are primarily responsible for monitoring the status of individual cluster nodes, particularly object storage devices, managers, and metadata servers. It is recommended that at least three monitor nodes be used to ensure maximum reliability.
Object Storage Devices (ceph-osd): Ceph-OSDs are background applications that manage actual data and are in charge of storage, duplication, and data restoration. It is recommended that a cluster have at least three -ODSs.
Managers (ceph-mgr): They collaborate with ceph monitors to manage the status of system load, storage usage, and node capacity.
Metadata servers (ceph-MDS): They aid in the hold of metadata such as file names, storage paths, and timestamps of CephFS files for a variety of performance reasons.
The heart of Ceph data storage is an algorithm called CRUSH (Controlled Replication Under Scalable Hashing), which uses the CRUSH Map—an allocation table—to locate an OSD with the requested file. CRUSH selects the best storage location based on predefined criteria, determines which files are duplicated, and then saves them on physically separate media. The relevant criteria can be set by the network administrator.
RADOS, a completely reliable, distributed object store composed of self-mapping, intelligent storage nodes, serves as the foundation of the Ceph data storage architecture.
Some of the methods for accessing Ceph-stored data include:
- radosgw: Using the HTTP Internet protocol, data can be read or written in this gateway.
- librados: Native access to stored data is possible via APIs in programming and scripting languages such as Python, Java, C/C++, and PHP when using the librados software libraries.
- RADOS Block Device: Data entry here necessitates the help of a virtual system such as QEMU/KVM or block storage via a kernel module.
Ceph Storage Capability
Ceph adds a number of advantages to OpenStack-based private clouds. Here are a few examples to help you better understand Ceph storage performance.
- High availability and improved performance
Ceph's coding erasure feature vastly improves data availability by simply adding resiliency and durability. At times, writing speeds can be nearly twice as fast as the previous backend.
- Strong security
Active directory integration, encryption features, LDAP, and other features in place with Ceph can help to limit unauthorized access to the system.
- Adoption without a hitch
Making the switch to software-defined storage platforms can be difficult at times. Ceph solves the problem by allowing block and object storage in the same cluster without requiring you to manage separate storage services via other APIs.
Cost-effectiveness Ceph operates on item hardware, making it a low-cost solution that does not require any expensive or additional hardware.
Ceph Block and Ceph Object Storage Use Cases
Ceph was designed primarily to run smoothly on general-purpose server hardware. It supports elastic provisioning, making petabyte-to-exabyte scale data clusters economically feasible to build and maintain.
Unlike other mass storage systems that are great at storage but quickly run out of throughput or IOPS before they run out of capacity, Ceph scales performance and capacity independently, allowing it to support a variety of deployments optimized for a specific use case.
The following are some of the most common use cases for Ceph Block & Object Storage:
- Ceph Block use cases
– Deploy elastic block storage with on-premise cloud
– Storage for VM disc volumes that run smoothly
– SharePoint, Skype, and other collaboration applications storage
– Primary storage for MY-SQL and other similar SQL database apps storage
– Dev/Test Systems storage
– IT management apps storage
- Ceph Object Storage Use Cases
– Snapshots of VM disc volumes
– Video/audio/image repositories
– ISO image storage and repositories
– Archive and backup
– Deploy Dropbox-like services within the enterprise
– Deploy Amazon S3-like object store services with on-premise cloud
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Ceph Storage
While Ceph storage is a good option in many situations, it does have some drawbacks. In this section, we'll go over both of them.
– Despite its short development history, Ceph is a free and well-established storage method.
– The manufacturer has extensively and well-documented the application. There is a wealth of useful information available online for Ceph setup and maintenance.
– Ceph storage's scalability and integrated redundancy ensure data security and network flexibility.
Ceph's CRUSH algorithm ensures high availability.
– Due to the variety of components provided, a comprehensive network is required to fully utilize all of Ceph's functionalities.
– The installation of Ceph storage takes some time, and the user is not always sure where the data is physically stored.
– It necessitates more engineering oversight to implement and manage.
Ceph Storage vs AWS S3: Key Differences and Features
In this section, we will compare AWS S3 and Ceph Object Gateway, two popular object stores (RadosGW). We'll keep the focus on the similarities and some of the key differences.
While Amazon S3 (released in 2006) is primarily an AWS public object store that guarantees 99.9 percent object availability, Ceph storage is open-source software that provides distributed object, block, and file storage.
The Ceph Object Gateway daemon (released in 2006) operates under the LGPL 2.1 license and provides two sets of APIs:
compatible with a subset of the Amazon S3 RESTful APIs, and the other that is not.
A subset of the OpenStack Swift API is compatible with the second.
One key distinction between Amazon S3 and Ceph Storage is that, whereas Amazon S3 is a proprietary solution available only on Amazon's commercial public cloud (AWS), Ceph is an open-source product that can be easily installed on-premises as part of a private cloud.
Another distinction between the two is that Ceph offers strong consistency, which means that new objects and changes to existing objects are guaranteed to be visible to all clients. Amazon S3, on the other hand, provides read-after-write consistency when creating new objects and eventual consistency when updating and deleting objects.
Why is Ceph Storage insufficient for Modern Workloads?
While there is no denying that Ceph storage is highly scalable and a one-size-fits-all solution, it does have some architectural flaws, primarily because it was not designed for today's fast storage media–NAND flash and NVMe® flash.
For the following reasons, Ceph storage is unsuitable for modern workloads:
- Enterprises that use the public cloud, their own private cloud, or are transitioning to modern applications require low latency and consistent response times. While BlueStore (a back-end object store for Ceph OSDs) can help to improve average and tail latency, it cannot always take advantage of the benefits of NVMe® flash.
To achieve the best possible performance, modern workloads typically deploy local flash (local NVMe® flash) on bare metal, and Ceph is not equipped to realize the optimized performance of this new media. In fact, Ceph can be an order of magnitude slower than a local flash in a Kubernetes environment where local flash is recommended.
Ceph has a low flash utilization rate (15-25 percent ). In the event of a Ceph or host failure, the rebuild time for shared storage needs can be extremely slow due to massive traffic flowing over the network for an extended period of time.
Choosing the right storage platform is becoming increasingly important as data takes center stage in almost every business. Ceph storage is intended to increase the accessibility of your data to you and your business applications.
Despite being a good choice for applications that don't require spinning drive performance, Ceph has architectural flaws that make it unsuitable for high-performance, scale-out databases, and other similar web-scale software infrastructure solutions.
If you have any doubt about Ceph storage. Do not hesitate to contact us. Airzero cloud will be your digital partner.
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Author - Johnson Augustine
Cloud Architect, Ethical hacker
Founder: Airo Global Software Inc
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/johnsontaugustine/