Linux Foundation Launches a Foundation for the Ceph File System

12 Nov 2018 9:01am, by

It has been a little over two years since Ceph, the open-source unified distributed storage system, announced itself to the world as fully production ready, and now, after two more major releases, the project takes another step forward.

Just in time for this week’s OpenStack Summit in Berlin, the Linux Foundation has launched the Ceph Foundation, which will “organize and distribute financial contributions in a coordinated, vendor-neutral fashion for immediate community benefit,” according to a Linux Foundation statement. Canonical, Intel, SUSE, Red Hat, Western Digital, and others will participate in the foundation. The foundation follows as the successor to to the Ceph Advisory Board, which was formed in 2015.

Mike Dolan, the vice president of strategic programs at the Linux Foundation, says that the Ceph Foundation will be the 32nd such formation formed this year by the Linux Foundation, and was announced just a week after the group announced the formation of the GraphQL Foundation. The Linux Foundation is also the parent organization behind the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the JS Foundation, the Linux kernel community, and roughly 150 other projects.

“Open source communities need more than just GitHub, they need the infrastructure in place to accept funding and use that funding to help them as a community,” said Dolan. “The foundation provides them with the ability to do something in a neutral forum. A number of companies can go in and collaborate in a way they couldn’t do in a vendor to vendor, or vendor to customer, relationship.”

Ceph, which had its first stable release in 2012 and was sold to Red Hat in 2014, has since become a force in open source file systems. The 2017 OpenStack User Survey shows user adoption nearing 70 percent, up from just less than 60 percent the year before.

Sage Weil, Ceph co-creator, project leader, and chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph, says that key priorities moving forward include improving usability and management.

“Early adopters were OpenStack users using Puppet and Chef who wanted low-level Linux tools,” Weil explained. “In order for Ceph to succeed with traditional IT environments, it needs a dashboard GUI and automated cluster management processes, among other things. There’s been a huge effort over the last year or two to simplify Ceph and make it easier to consume.”

Weil also listed performance as an area of focus, noting that Ceph grew up in a world of hard disks, as compared to the Flash and SSD storage that is increasingly becoming the storage of choice. In addition, Weil also noted the importance of making Ceph work well with containers – an endeavor of which he was initially skeptical. Ceph is currently used toward this end by Rook, a CNCF project that “brings seamless provisioning of file, block and object storage services into the Kubernetes environment, running the Ceph storage infrastructure in containers alongside applications that are consuming that storage,” according to the release.

Beyond product features, Weil said that the foundation will also be able to help with putting on future events, such as next year’s Cephalocon, which will be May 19-20 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, co-located with KubeCon / CloudNativeCon Europe.

“A guiding vision for Ceph is to be the state of the art for reliable, scale-out storage, and to do so with 100 percent open source,” said Weil in a statement. “While early public cloud providers popularized self-service storage infrastructure, Ceph brings the same set of capabilities to service providers, enterprises, and individuals alike, with the power of a robust development and user community to drive future innovation in the storage space.

The Linux Foundation, and the OpenStack Foundation are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.