Inktank Announces Longterm Support for Ceph Data Platform
In the open source world, you know your software project is a success when users start asking for less frequent releases with more predictable support cycles. It’s a sign your product has matured and is ready for prime-time production use. And that’s the point Ceph, the open source distributed storage platform, seems to have hit, with the introduction of longterm support from Inktank. Here are the details.
Ceph, which is governed by the GNU Lesser General Public License, is freely available, open source software. But Inktank, a company launched earlier this year by Ceph creator Sage Weil, provides enterprise-level support for the platform. It’s currently the only commercial entity to do so.
Inktank’s commitment to Ceph support has become stronger with the announcement of the Argonaut release, the first version of the platform offering longterm support. The company is promoting the move as a benefit for Ceph users seeking more reliability and predictability even as the Ceph code itself continues to evolve at a rapid pace. In the words of Inktank president and COO Bryan Bogensberger:
The Argonaut release is a milestone for Ceph because it allows enterprises, developers, and integrators to approach Ceph with confidence, knowing that they aren’t dealing with a moving target. Inktank is proud to support this version of Ceph and excited to see the project continue its rapid growth.
To me, this decision sounds a lot like the support strategy of Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu pushes out less stable, more feature-rich versions twice a year but also offers less frequent longterm-support releases targeted especially at commercial users who place a premium on stability and the assurance of software updates for a long period, rather than having the latest and greatest iterations of all of their favorite applications. And since Ubuntu’s release policy seems to be quite successful after almost a decade, there’s reason to expect the open source community to respond favorably to Inktank’s move as well.
The Future of Ceph
This news also highlights the growing importance of Ceph itself, which is good news for the open source world in general. As a POSIX-compliant, highly scalable distributed file system, Ceph is particularly important as the open source ecosystem vies with proprietary competitors for dominance in the evolving worlds of the cloud and Big Data.
For now, the collaboration within the open source channel around Ceph remains limited, with Inktank — a company created specifically to provide professional services for Ceph — representing the project’s only major partner. But that may well change as the platform becomes more robust and popular, and as other open source companies see Ceph’s value as part of emerging computing niches. Stay tuned.