Data Modernization is a lot like transitioning from being a child to being an adult. The in-between stage, known as the teenage years, can be a bit messy. Instead of going from young to old, data center modernization is transitioning from old to young. The legacy systems of the past are giving way to modern architectures designed to be cost-effective and to scale. The transition can be particularly challenging on storage architectures because the IO profiles of the legacy and modern application use cases are so diverse.
The IO diversity of legacy and modern storage architectures leads most organizations to multiple storage strategies. Data centers will typically have a variety of solutions for their legacy workloads and a different set of storage solutions for their modern workloads. Even consolidation within the two types is almost unheard of let alone consolidation across the types.
Red Hat, a leader in the data center modernization movement, is also a leader in open, software-defined storage solutions. Its vision has been to consolidate not only within legacy and modern platforms. But now in its latest release, it hopes to consolidate across both platform types providing a single storage architecture for both legacy and modern workloads.
Red Hat provides two solutions Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat Cluster Storage. Ceph is ideal for large scale object storage and private cloud infrastructure such as OpenStack. Gluster is ideal for container-native storage and hypercoverged infrastructure.
Red Hat recently updated Ceph Storage to 3.0. This release creates more overlap between the two offerings allowing Ceph environments to consolidate down even further. In the 3.0 release, CephFS, Ceph’s file system broadens its support with OpenStack. It enables OpenStack administrators to create unified project pools eliminating the need for separate specialized systems. It also supports scale-out metadata operations. Now, metadata operations can scale independently of the nodes required to store the data.
Ceph Storage 3.0 increases the ROI of Ceph investments by broadening the use cases to more traditional legacy environments with iSCSI support making it accessible via VMware and Windows platforms. It enables these workloads to take full advantage of open SDS (software-defined storage) and run alongside next-generation infrastructure platforms.
Beyond consolidation, the solution also saves money by leveraging the commodity hardware approach of Ceph. Considering most VMware and Windows environments run on vertically integrated software and hardware solutions, the ability to leverage open SDS should represent a dramatic cost saving.
From a modernization perspective, the new Ceph release provides the ability to deploy the storage software in containers. Any or all of the eight Ceph daemons can be deployed inside containers with apportioned CPU and RAM. The containerization drives better hardware utilization because the daemons can be safely co-located on the same server. In addition containerization of these processes enables more rapid portability between systems. The result should be higher availability and improved resource balancing.
Operations are also improved in the new release. The new Ceph Storage dashboard, which is based on the cephmetrics upstream project, deliver a new web interface that adds ease of use and better insight into Ceph cluster activity. The solution provides 14 dashboards to monitor cluster health and to troubleshoot various issues that may arise.
The way Ceph delivers object storage services is improving in the 3.0 release. First, there is an extension of self-management features through greater automation of maintenance tasks internal to a Ceph cluster. The system also performs dynamic bucket sharding which brings greater scale to the object storage use case. Objects are now automatically and dynamical segmented to increase parallelism and improve load distribution. Finally, Ceph will optimize performance of any object bucket at any size, important when thousands of objects are stored in a single bucket, without needing to tune specific bucket details manually.
Red Hat continues to be a leader in data center modernization. The continued containerization of its various properties, like storage, is an important step forward. At the same time adding capabilities like iSCSI support and graphical management and monitoring makes the solution more appealing to the legacy data center. The combination enables IT planners to establish a storage strategy built from a single platform which not only costs but will facilitate better migration between the two.