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Ceph is a software defined storage (SDS) platform that unifies the storage of block, object and file data into a distributed computer cluster. It is a component of the OpenStack set of open source cloud management tools. Ceph storage clusters can run on standard x86 servers, using the Controlled Replication Under Scalable Hashing (CRUSH) algorithm to distribute data evenly across the cluster. This allows cluster nodes to access data without the bottlenecks common to centralized storage architectures.

Ceph is scale-out, allowing multiple storage nodes (servers) to cooperate and present a single storage system with unlimited capacity. It also provides 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 block storage from a Ceph cluster. Enterprise storage administrators use Ceph for its unified storage management, multi-platform support, scalability and built-in fault tolerance.

SUSE Enterprise Storage is based on Ceph technology. It allows storage to manage itself when conditions within the cluster change. For example, if a node goes down, the storage software automatically redistributes that node’s workload. If a new node is added to the cluster, Ceph incorporates it into the storage system and distributes data to it. The openATTIC storage management tool provides a central GUI console for managing the cluster, in addition to the command-line utilities included in SUSE Enterprise Storage. Enterprises can quickly provision or de-provision data storage as business needs change. Ceph automatically rebalances the storage cluster without human intervention.

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