Strategies and Techniques That Leverage Ceph to Maximize Data
By Martin Verges, Founder — croit.io
Data solutions have had to evolve due to the substantial rate of data growth among many organizations. Estimates show that data is growing at nearly 30% year-over-year at many businesses, meaning their budget for data storage has to double every two years. In these environments, increased efficiency isn’t merely another luxury — it’s a necessity.
The primary goal of a data storage solution is to provide non-stop access to data with zero loss of data in the case of component failures or data center failures. Traditional storage methods can be vulnerable to loss through various means, from malware to natural disasters, but modern storage solutions are coming up with ways to help organizations make their data more invulnerable to these issues without compromising efficiency.
An ideal storage solution that has emerged is cluster architecture, exemplified by the open-source storage platform Ceph. Compared to other storage systems that use a file hierarchy, Ceph stores data using distributed object storage. This means that there is no single point of failure, which is an integral part of what makes this such an ideal solution.
Ceph and storage efficiency
One of the critical issues that cluster architecture storage solutions like Ceph solve is storage efficiency, which centers around reducing the use of physical bits on drives. The main techniques used for storage efficiency include:
- Deduplication: If a block of data that’s written is identical to another already written, then only one copy is written, and only the metadata is updated.
- Compression: The deduplicated block is compressed with a lossless compression algorithm that reduces the number of bits to store the data.
- Thin provisioning: Even if an amount of storage is allocated to a user or share or application, no data is actually written to storage until an application writes it. This allows over-provisioning the physical storage significantly, often 2:1 or more, because humans always request at least twice the storage they actually need.
Ceph and storage utilization
One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make when managing their own storage is not properly utilizing their storage space. A system that’s physically utilized 40% costs double the price per GB that a system with 80% utilization costs. Thus, building a dedicated storage solution for one application, another dedicated solution for another application, and so on is not practical.
On the other hand, cluster architecture like Ceph provides hundreds of applications access to storage used by all applications. When there is unused storage, that storage can be used by any application that needs more. With this, the best practice is to keep storage utilization high — generally around 70%.
Benefits of data efficient storage with Ceph
By using these methods, organizations can see a number of benefits, including improved performance, cost reduction, and lowered risk of loss due to failure.
- Improved performance: These methods enable an increased throughput of information through the application’s process, as well as improved responsiveness in the user interface. As a result, data can be accessed more quickly and efficiently.
- Cost reduction: Because cluster storage is designed to maximize utilization, organizations need not waste money purchasing more storage infrastructure than they need. Instead, they can purchase more storage space from the vendor as the need arises.
- Lowered risk of loss: The structure of cluster storage spreads redundant nodes and drives across racks, rows, rooms, and even whole data centers many miles apart. Because clusters are replicated or erasure-coded in multiple locations, even catastrophic loss — like of a full data center — should not result in loss of data. Secondary backup storage and backup processes aren’t required because the data redundancy is designed into the primary storage.
With this, it’s clear that Ceph and cluster architecture storage solutions are not only a safer method of data storage, but also more cost-efficient. Organizations with increasing data storage needs — which is the case with most businesses these days — will find that these storage solutions best fit their needs.
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