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How is Ceph Storage advantageous for Cloud Hosting

Designed for Linux, Ceph is an open-source file system which offers scalability in storage under a unified system. Developed by InkTank and now maintained by RedHat, the software-defined cloud storage called Ceph offers block, object, and file storage going up to Petabytes of data. (1 Petabyte = 1,000,000 GB). The storage clusters run on commodity hardware under the CRUSH (Controlled Replication Under Scalable Hashing) algorithm which ensures that data is distributed evenly across the cluster.

In Cloud hosting, you can access your data anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Also, a storage architecture like Ceph ensures that you get scalable storage which maintains the security and integrity of the data in a multi-user environment while being cost-efficient. Here is a quick look at the features of Ceph Storage that make it advantageous for cloud hosting:

Replication

As mentioned earlier, the algorithm that runs Ceph is called ‘Controlled Replication Under Scalable Hashing’ or CRUSH. Ceph is fault-tolerant and can replicate data without using any additional hardware. It replicates the data thrice over the SSD field. This replication is automatic and offers redundancy in storage.

Erasure Coding

Ceph replicates the data and stores it in erasure-coded pools.

Erasure coding is a mechanism to protect the data. In simple words, Ceph breaks the data into small fragments, encodes it and then stores it in a distributed manner.

Let’s say that Ceph breaks the data into ‘k’ chunks and adds ‘m’ number of codes to them for protection, creating ‘n’ number of chunks after the coding process. Therefore, the total number of chunks n = k + m.

In the event of a failure, Ceph can retrieve the lost ‘k’ and/or ‘m’ pieces from other OSDs to re-construct the data.

Thin Provisioning

Ceph storage uses thin provisioning to enhance the efficiency of the storage system. In simple words, it ensures that unless data is written, the storage is not consumed. In cloud hosting, thin provisioning ensures that virtual machines are cloned quickly.

Let’s say that you are running three services – programs, emails, and media – which need to be stored on a disk. Now, traditionally, a certain amount of fixed disk space is allotted to each service. However, this place is reserved and can’t be used for anything else except the allotted service leading to a waste of disk space if not completely utilized. In Thin Provisioning, space is allotted virtually and physical space is provided on a need-basis. This enhances flexibility and efficiency of storage.

Snapshots

A read-only copy of the state of an image at a point in time is called a Snapshot. Ceph allows users to create snapshots of the images which eventually helps retain the history of the state of an image. Another feature offered by Ceph is snapshot layering. This enables you to clone images easily and in no time. This is especially beneficial for cloning virtual machine images.

Conclusion

Apart from these features, Ceph is also self-healing, fault-tolerant, and reliable, making it a great storage architecture for cloud hosting. Before you buy a cloud hosting plan, ask the provider about the storage architecture used. If the provider uses Ceph, then you can be assured of a cost-efficient, reliable, and fast hosting service. Hope this article helps you understand Ceph Storage a bit better. Please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comments below.

About Rahul

Rahul is a team member of Litabi.

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