Ceph is an open source, software defined solution for distributed data storage. Ceph is a unified solution that is capable of offering support for file and block access along with its object storage functionality. Ceph object storage is compatible with Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift APIs. NFS and iSCSI are also supported for Ceph’s file and block implementations.
Ceph was created around the CRUSH (Controlled Replication Under Secure Hashing) algorithm that was developed out of the University of California, Santa Cruz. The name Ceph is short for Cephalopod, creatures such as octopuses and squids, as well as UC Santa Cruz’s beloved mascot the banana slug, and is meant to be representative of a tentacle-like parallelism of the distributed storage system.
As an open source project, Ceph is available to download and install for free. Commercial versions of Ceph, such as Red Hat Ceph Storage and SUSE Enterprise Storage, are also available for purchase. The Commercial versions have the benefit of additional features as well as official vendor support.
Ceph was designed to run on commodity hardware to avoid specialized equipment and vendor lock-in. As a unified system, Ceph is able to support use as a block, file, or object storage system which provides flexibility to IT users. Ceph’s scale-out nature makes it a good fit for use cases with expanding volumes of data.
Ceph has found itself to be a competitive offering in the object storage market, competing with products such as Scality RING, IBM Cloud Object Storage, Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage, and MinIO.
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