Inktank’s Ceph: An Open Source Storage Solution for the Enterprise

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Editor’s Note: This profile is part of an ongoing weekly series on Leaders of the Open Cloud in advance of CloudOpen, Aug. 29-31 in San Diego.

Ross Turk InktankLaunched in May, Inktank is one of the newest companies to enter the still very new open source cloud computing industry.  But it’s got a great head start as the enterprise support arm of the Ceph storage system. The one-time doctoral thesis of founder Sage Weil, Ceph has been incubating as an open source project with L.A.-based web hosting company DreamHost over the last eight years.

“The founders and the community realized that in order for companies to adopt Ceph and use it, it needed to have commercial support available,” said Ross Turk, VP of community at Inktank. “The technology created a necessity for the company, instead of a company creating technology to make money.”

That technology is an object, block, and file storage platform, often used to provide storage for virtualization. It has a compatible API to Amazon S3 and Swift, so companies can build on any cloud stack or hypervisor. And it’s massively scalable, Turk said, capable of striping a virtual image across an entire cluster or quickly spinning up a thousand virtual machines, for example.  

“It’s storage that’s built specifically to be elastic and massively scalable,” he said. “Building something that can scale the way Ceph does requires a different mentality than building something that’s merely big.”

Because Ceph is built to run on commodity hardware and across platforms, Inktank developers have been involved in multiple open source cloud projects including OpenStack and CloudStack, as well as working with proprietary vendors.

Leaders of the Open Cloud logo“We believe in choice,” Turk said.  “Linux changed the way the server room runs and cloud technologies are going to do the same thing again.

“It’s essential to make sure the technology that drives that revolution is open, standardized and flexible,” he said.

Inktank is hiring and growing quickly to accommodate its new enterprise focus. And on July 10 it released its “Argonaut” version of Ceph with long-term support, focused on stability and easy deployment for enterprise use.

But it’s also working with integrators, storage manufacturers, service providers and others to expand the Ceph community and institute more governance on the open source project.

“It’s an interesting point in the growth of the community,” Turk said.

For more specifics on the Ceph platform and to hear Inktank’s philosophy on the open source cloud, watch our video interview with Ross Turk at OSCON this month.