A Frugal Solution for Large Data | SUSE Communities

A Frugal Solution for Large Data


SUSE Enterprise Storage

Big files and big storage capacities pose big challenges for IT departments. If you work in a Large Data storage environment, you can cut your total storage deployment cost by a factor of three if you use a solution tailored for the Large Data environment: SUSE Enterprise Storage.

Large Data is the need to store individual pieces of data that are massive in size such as audio, high definition video and graphics.  A video archive, a repository for medical images, or a collection of high-definition audio clips are examples of Large Data.

When the size of a data storage archive reaches hundreds of TBs , the cost penalty for low-latency block storage or traditional NAS storage has a significant effect on the total cost of the storage solution. Cost-conscious IT departments turn to object storage with Ceph as an alternative that can lead to large cost savings for archives in the Large Data capacity range.

SUSE Enterprise Storage is a Ceph-based storage solution with enterprise-ready support and certification and an innovative licensing plan that can lead to significant savings for Large Data solutions.

Object Storage with Ceph

Traditional block storage is the storage format used with most conventional hard disks. The block storage format is designed for low latency, which makes it well suited for time-sensitive solutions such as relational database. Similarly traditional NAS storage is ideal for file repositories that require fast access.  However, the high per-byte cost of block or NAS storage makes it inefficient for environments that don’t require high latency, such as a large file archive where resources must be kept available but are only accessed occasionally.  For small archives, the cost penalty for using traditional storage when you don’t need it often goes unnoticed. In Large Data environments, however, with capacities in the range of 200TB or more, the cost penalty for low-latency storage becomes a controlling factor in the design.

Ceph is an alternative storage solution that is designed to help avoid the cost penalty associated with low-latency block storage for large archives. Ceph uses object storage technology, an alternative approach that scales more efficiently to large-capacity installations. Behinds the scenes, a Ceph cluster is both fault-tolerant and self-healing, with minimal intervention required from the storage admin.

The Ceph cluster adjusts automatically to changes in the environment: if a node goes down, the cluster readjusts and keeps working without downtime. If a new node is added, the cluster automatically integrates the new system.

The automation and technical benefits of Ceph lead to significant cost savings for Large Data environments.

Cost Savings

How does SUSE Enterprise Storage provide enterprise-grade, fault-tolerant storage for a fraction of the cost of conventional block storage methods? The remarkably low TCO for your SUSE Enterprise Storage Large Data cluster results from a combination of factors, including:

  • Hardware—unlike many proprietary storage solutions, a SUSE Enterprise Storage cluster runs on commodity hardware. You can look for the lowest price with available hardware providers – and even repurpose existing servers by adding them to the cluster.
  • Software—The Ceph object storage system at the core of SUSE Enterprise Storage is based on free software, which means the price point for licensing is much lower than for proprietary, closed-source software. Ceph’s Free Software license also frees you from vendor lock-in. If you decide to change vendors or do without ongoing support, you will still have access to Ceph updates.
  • Deployment—SUSE Enterprise Storage comes with a collection of tools for easy installation and rollout. In some cases, you can set up a complete Ceph cluster in as few as two hours.
  • Administration—The automation and self-healing features built into Ceph reduce the administration time needed to manage your Large Data cluster—sometimes to a dramatic effect. A rule of thumb for managing conventional block storage is that you’ll need 1 storage admin per 500TB of data. On a Ceph network, a single storage admin can manage 3-4PB of data.

Along with the built-in efficiencies of Ceph, SUSE Enterprise Storage adds an innovative licensing model that provides additional savings for Large Data customers. Most enterprise-grade Ceph vendors base the license on the volume of data: as your Large Data archive grows, so do your storage costs. SUSE Enterprise Storage uses a per-node subscription plan, which means you won’t pay more just because you add more data or use larger nodes or drives. If you ever need to add another node to the cluster, you just pay the subscription for another server without facing additional per-byte storage charges, even if the server can accommodate a large number of 8 or 10 TB drives

SUSE Enterprise Storage offers a cost-saving, one-stop solution for Linux support. You can support both Red Hat and SUSE Linux enterprise products through a single service agreement with the SUSE team, rather than having to maintain separate service agreements with both vendors. SUSE also offers a hardware certification program that simplifies configuration and minimizes troubleshooting, letting you confirm in advance that hardware components are compatible with SUSE Enterprise Storage.


Large Data is a growing sector of the IT space with the focus on large archives with large files. If you are shopping for storage and your archive will require a capacity of 200TB or more, SUSE Enterprise Storage with Ceph offers and inexpensive and powerful solution that is ready for the enterprise.

Check out my TCO blog for cost comparisons with other vendors










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