Ceph Mania


Ceph is super hot. When people tell me that storage can’t be sexy, I can’t help but feel like Ceph can be! I was out in our L.A. office last week, and the first thing I saw when I showed up was this:

A Ceph fanboy working with a multi-petabyte deployment of Ceph decided to get our award-winning Ceph graphic as a tattoo!!! How cool is that? Today and tomorrow we are offering “ink from Inktank” at our booth at the OpenStack Summit – airbrush tattoos from 12-3pm so all of our fans can get a cephalopod tattoo. It is awesome to see the tremendous amount of passion around Ceph from the community.

I’ve been working in open source for many years and I was thrilled to join Inktank because they were doing everything right. And anyone that has worked in a “commercial” open source business knows that is easier said than done. The history of the Ceph community and Inktank are both very cool, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that Ceph has become a hugely popular choice for cloud storage.  Inktank has taken a community-centric approach from the beginning. Of course, having the Ceph project and its passionate community in place before Inktank was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye helped a lot!

The community buzz around Ceph has been completely amazing, and I hope that people continue to be so forthcoming with their feelings as the adoption of Ceph grows. It’s common to have people coming up to our booth at events saying things like “I love Ceph”, “Ceph is awesome”, “Ceph is cool and it does a lot of @#%#%!”. When we explain the Ceph philosophy and the technical details of its implementation people’s eyes light up as they realize the potential.  That’s inspiring and validating – for all of us at Inktank!

Even our own employees, working on Ceph day in and day out, haven’t lost a shred of enthusiasm for the project. I encourage everyone to listen to the replays of Mark Kampe’s (head of Inktank engineering) webinars “Technical Deep Dive into Ceph” and “The End of Raid as You Know It.”  The content is fabulous, but it’s Mark’s immense enthusiasm that kept me hanging on his every word. That level of excitement is rare in engineering organizations, and it feeds and energizes the already-passionate and enthusiastic Ceph community. At my first developer’s conference I heard a speaker in a packed room from outside the Ceph community say “…and definitely check out Ceph, they are doing everything right, everything.” He was right, and the impressive community stats and growing adoption of Ceph shows it.

What does it mean to do open source “the right way”?  It means you put community first. The whole point of open source, from my perspective, is to develop in a collaborative, transparent way to deliver technology that is freely accessible by anyone. Having access to an empowered technical community is every bit as important as having access to raw code.  Feeling “part of something” is a big part of the allure of the open source world.  Ceph was started as an academic project at UC Santa Cruz. When it was open-sourced early on, the intention was always to follow a Linux-like model.

How do you measure the success of an open source project? I would say quantitative and qualitative acceptance and adoption. By quantitative, I mean community metrics, and Ceph has some great metrics that continue to improve.  By qualitative, I mean that you can measure your success by evaluating how other open source projects interact with your own (by way of your contributors contributing to other open source projects and also by way of other open source projects integrating with your technology). We had some fabulous feedback in our first community census – more details on that here.

You can see from the graph below that Ceph has very strong trends in committer growth over time.

The overall Ceph commit stats also show impressive continuous growth over time.

Qualitatively, many of Ceph’s contributors have been active contributors in other open source projects. Ceph has been included in the mainline Linux kernel since 2009 and Ceph has been integrated with many other open source projects including OpenStack and Apache CloudStack. There is a great article in TechCrunch in which Sage Weil (Ceph founder) explains how Ceph got into the Linux kernel that demonstrates the tremendous dedication to open source of Sage and the Ceph community.

We encourage people to look at how Ceph and its growing feature set meet the needs of their use cases, first and foremost. I would encourage users to check out the community, IRC, mailing list, documentation, and of course absolutely download the code and try it out.

Get involved in the Ceph Community at ceph.com and get to know the Inktank team and we will show you just how cool and sexy Ceph can be!  If you are in Portland at the OpenStack Summit stop by our booth and get inked by Inktank.  Stay tuned for more…