Inktank is the first company offering enterprise-level Ceph support

DreamHost Spinoff InkTank First Company to Offer Enterprise Ceph Storage Support

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The developers behind open source storage platform Ceph announced on Thursday that they have launched the first company to offer enterprise-level support for Ceph, called Inktank.

This launch comes two months after 451 Research released a report that described web host DreamHost’s plans to spinoff a separate company focused on delivering support for the Ceph distributed file system.

Chief architect and CEO at Inktank Sage Weil is a co-founder of DreamHost and built Ceph as part of his doctoral dissertation at UC Santa Cruz in 2004. Weil created Ceph to solve storage problems in the area of high performance computing, and was able to create a unified storage system that delivers object storage, block storage, and file-system storage and can run in one cluster.

“Over the last 12-18 months it became very clear that (DreamHost) needed to support those people that were adopting Ceph to do different things or build different things on top of it,” Bryan Bogensberger, president and COO of Inktank says in a phone interview with the WHIR. “People were trying it globally and there were teams working on Ceph projects in enterprises to the  national labs and service providers to the Linux distros, and we didn’t even have a QA department supporting the project.”

Inktank was created to provide consulting and support to enterprises, and OpenStack company Piston Cloud Computing is among the enterprises using the Ceph block device in their stack.

“We were an early adopter of Ceph.  We chose it as the block storage device for our OpenStack-based Piston Enterprise OS product, but because there was limited support we had to do the heavy lifting to get it fully integrated,” Joshua McKenty, CEO and co-founder at Piston Cloud Computing, Inc. said in a statement.  “With the launch of Inktank, I am confident that other companies like us will derive significant benefit from formalized support and services that can help them leverage the full power of Ceph.”

When Weil finished his PhD and came back to DreamHost in 2007, he had one or two engineers working with him on the Ceph project, Bogensberger says. By the middle of 2011 there were five engineers, Weil and Bogensberger on the Ceph team at DreamHost. Inktank has around 20 employees total, according to Bogensberger.

“We started to formalize a financial plan in September, a human resources plan, and we started hiring some people, a lot in the engineering areas, and the peripheral, everything from the QA, to technical writing, people who could support people in the community that are trying to adopt Ceph,” Bogensberger says. “We were doing that in the last year, and then we incorporated a company, put the financing in place, and now we’re launching the new brand.”

“This has such far reaching implications that it is similar to what Linux did to the operating system. You have three major companies — SUSE, Canonical, and Red Hat — supporting Linux distributions. What we’re really doing is something very similar but instead of transforming the operating system, we’re transforming storage.”

The WHIR will be posting more from the interview with Bogensberger later this morning, including how service providers and web hosts are using Ceph in their own storage environments.

Talk back: Do you use Ceph in any capacity right now? How will having enterprise support help with your Ceph implementations? Let us know in a comment.

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