ESG Validation

ESG First Look: Red Hat Ceph Storage - Scalable, Simple, and Secure


Data Storage Challenges and Software-defined Storage (SDS) Adoption:1

The percentage of organizations that currently use SDS in production (55%) or are in the technology evaluation and planning phase (14%). The percentage of organizations that cite data protection as one of their biggest challenges in terms of their on-premises unstructured storage environment (file and object storage).

ESG research reveals that 44% of organizations have at least 1 PB of primary storage capacity installed. In addition, 56% of these organizations anticipate their on-premises data growth to be at least 21%, with one in four expecting greater than 50% year-over-year growth over the next three years. It should come as no surprise that software-defined storage (SDS) technologies are being considered as a viable way to grow storage capacity in a simple and flexible manner. Respondents identified multiple benefits that they have achieved or expect to achieve from SDS, including increased performance (46%), simplified environments (37%), flexibility in hardware selection (37%), and greater agility (35%).

Red Hat Ceph Storage (RHCS) 4

Red Hat Ceph Storage is a unified and simplified storage platform that is designed to give organizations the flexibility to scale as their needs evolve. It combines the latest stable version of Ceph Storage from the open source community with additional features and Red Hat support. Organizations leverage Red Hat Ceph to cope with the massive growth in data and improve their ability to derive meaningful insights from their data. Red Hat Ceph is built for modern workloads, including data analytics, AI/ML (machine learning), object storage-as-a-service (StaaS), archiving, and backup. Unlike traditional network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) approaches, it offers predictability—even as the number of clusters grows.

Key features of Red Hat Ceph Storage include:

  • Scalability—Ceph can start small and scale to petabytes of data storage and billions of objects while providing predictable performance with its object front-end and BlueStore high-performance storage architecture back-end. Clients can use modern and legacy object interfaces simultaneously, including APIs, S3/Swift, block device, and filesystem.
  • Simplicity—Backward compatibility, fast, simple installation, automation, and actionable insights with its integrated, on-premises monitoring dashboard.
  • Security—Protects data from malicious and accidental threats, including hardware failures, employee errors, and cyber-attacks. Provides resilience and data durability options including erasure coding and replication, and supports at-rest and end-to-end encryption, including National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-approved cryptography.

ESG Demo Highlights

ESG got an early look at Red Hat Ceph Storage 4, performing an installation using the Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 cockpit installer.

Deploy Red Hat Ceph in Minutes

  • ESG started with four industry-standard servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8; one to run the installation, and three to be configured as RHCS nodes.
  • We started up the Ansible API on the Ceph installer using the command line. Once the API was up and running, we switched to the RHEL 8 cockpit GUI.
  • Next, we selected the Ceph Installer plug-in. The Ceph installer walks the user through six steps to deploy the cluster, starting with the environment. Ceph can be installed as lightweight container images or as RPM packages. Container deployments offer service isolation, which improves co-location and hardware utilization.
  • Next we added our three hosts, which can be done using specific hostnames or masks. The three nodes were probed by the Ceph installer to validate that they were compatible and had sufficient resources to run Ceph. The probe took just a few seconds.
  • The probe also identified which networks were available, giving the user the opportunity to specify different networks for different functions, i.e., cluster, public, and client S3 networks.
  • Finally, we reviewed our selections. Once verified, we clicked Deploy to start the installation. At this point, the installer took over and completed the entire installation in about 20 minutes with no further interaction required. Total keyboard time was about five minutes.

First Impressions

Organizations are managing more storage than ever, and growth of both structured and unstructured data is accelerating. Internet of things (IoT) devices are multiplying and the volume of data gathered from them is increasing as 4k video and high-resolution security imaging become more common. AI and ML initiatives require lots of data to improve decision making, enhance customer experiences, and deliver new services.

Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 is a massively scalable, software-defined, open storage solution engineered for modern workloads and delivered on industry-standard hardware. It offers scalability improvements while providing a more user-friendly experience and enhances data security and protection with in-transit and at-rest data encryption and erasure coding for block devices as well as objects and files. ESG deployed a three-node cluster in about twenty minutes—only five of which were spent at the keyboard. Red Hat Ceph demonstrated the ability to deploy and scale storage-as-a-service capabilities quickly with integrated data protection and data security, and a single point of control and administration. If your organization is trying to meet the challenge of exponentially growing data sets and increasingly sophisticated data management needs while lowering operational complexity, Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 is worth a serious look.



1. Source: ESG Master Survey Results, 2019 Data Storage Trends, November 2019. All ESG research references and charts in this first look were taken from this master survey results set, unless otherwise noted.
This ESG First Look was commissioned by Red Hat and is distributed under license from ESG.
Topics: Storage