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Ceph storage is a software-defined storage solution that distributes data across clusters of storage resources. It is a fault-tolerant and scale-out storage system, where multiple Ceph storage nodes (servers) cooperate to present a single storage system that can hold many petabytes (1PB = 1,000 TB = 1,000,000 GB) of data.

Most storage products are block only, file only, object only, or file and block. However, Ceph storage unifies file, block and object data into one system. Ceph storage also includes storage management tools such as thin provisioning, erasure coding (replication), inline compression and cache tiering. Ceph is the only storage platform that is open source, software defined, enterprise class and unified (object, block and file). It supports iSCSI block storage, allowing Linux, VMWare, Unix and Windows servers to access storage from a Ceph cluster.

The CephFS file system runs on top of the storage system and provides an interface for object and block storage. A Ceph metadata server cluster maps the directories and file names of the file system to objects stored in clusters. Enterprises use Ceph storage for its unified file-block-object management, multi-platform support, scalability and built-in fault tolerance.

Ceph storage requires no proprietary hardware components, so administrators can use low-cost commodity hardware. SUSE Enterprise Storage uses Ceph storage with CephFS to provide a traditional file system interface with POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) semantics for block and object storage. With SUSE Enterprise Storage, additional storage can be quickly provisioned and delivered as business needs change, and data placement is automatically rebalanced without human intervention.

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