Suse jumps into software-defined storage

As its steady post-Novell recovery continues, Suse moves into enterprise software-defined storage

At the SuseCon conference in Orlando, Linux distributor Suse today announced it's jumping into software-defined storage. Currently at the beta test stage, Suse Storage is a self-healing, self-managing, distributed solution for enterprise customers, based on the Firefly release of the Ceph open source project. Suse Storage allows commodity disk arrays to be combined to store large data sets such as archives and system images. Features include remote replication, copy-on-write cloning, and cache tiering.

Staff told me that Suse Storage uses the Ceph Object Storage and Ceph Block Storage components (but not the Ceph File System, CephFS). Though in beta testing, company reps told me they already have large customers using the system to manage the explosive data growth created by cloud and big data solutions. Product manager Larry Morris said, “The storage market today is poised for disruptive change, like the server market was 15 years ago.” He expects increasing use of commodity hardware with advanced storage software to meet tier 3 and 4 storage needs.

Given the fact Inktank, the company behind Ceph, was recently acquired by Red Hat, the use of a competitor’s technology to enter a new market could have issues as Suse strives to maintain control of its direction. Post-acquisition, efforts to establish Ceph in an independent foundation seems to have stalled, so Suse is relying on its own engineering skills, combined with the open source license, to protect its investment in the project. Morris told me he expected OpenStack's commitment to Ceph to ensure Red Hat will follow through with the necessary governance, along with the continued presence of the original Inktank team, gave him confidence.

Also announced at the show, Suse is allowing existing customers to use their subscription licenses for cloud deployments with approved partners and is providing customers with a tool based on their open source kGraft project that allows Linux kernel patching on production systems with no downtime. Suse also announced it is providing six months of free developer evaluation of SAP HANA on Suse Linux.

Disclosure: I was the guest of Suse at SuseCon 2014.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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