A few months ago I met some people from InkTank (a startup founded by most of the people behind Ceph) but I never had time to write my thoughts about it. The good thing with Ceph is that it has been quickly moving from the “science experiment” stage to a more mature form and is attracting a lot of attention.
I’m finding new Ceph installations every day, most of them are in the labs but the comments are always good and some of them are set to go to production soon!

What is Ceph?

Well, If I were a marketing guy I sould call it the real software-defined storage, but I’wont make this error. 😉
Ceph is a unified storage solution that can be used to provide Block, File and Object Storage. It can be installed on top of Linux and uses the local storage into the servers. Server nodes share their disks with each other and they all form a cluster that provides storage in various forms. Some of Ceph characteristics are perfectly suited for KVM environments.

All the magic comes from the CRUSH algorithm. It performs all the data distribution/replication in the cluster dynamically to provide best resiliency and scalability. A secondary benefit of CRUSH is the automated tuning that comes from the dynamic cluster re-balancing. Ceph doesn’t have constraints like separate metadata servers, quorum devices or other pieces of complexity introduced by many ordinary architectures: it shows a very clean and modern design.

It’s good for the cloud providers

All the features that I described above, make this product very interesting for Cloud providers: cheap commodity x86 linux servers, that can potentially be used for both computing and storage, are what most providers want!
Another big advantage of Ceph comes from the object storage layer. Many (small) providers can’t afford to buy, and maintain, a secondary storage infrastructure for object storage but if it comes for free it’s well accepted!
Last but not least, it’s becoming a de-facto standard for #Openstack deployments. IMHO, It seems much more appreciated than Swift, for example, and Ceph guys actively contributes to the Cinder development!

Bottom line

If you need cheap, scalable, reliable and affordable storage (who doesn’t?) you should look at Ceph!
In any case I should advise you: it’s not an ordinary solution, so It’s not the right solution for ordinary enterprises and the roadmap doesn’t show a lot in that direction (only time will tell if things will change).