Mark Shuttleworth puts $1M into Inktank
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu, has invested $1 million in Inktank, the company that provides commercial support for the open source Ceph distributed storage system. The investment comes in the form of a "convertible note" and will be used to fund the expansion of the company.
Shuttleworth says that the "distinctive architecture of Ceph gives it natural advantages over both proprietary and open source competitors", which is one of the reasons it was specifically included in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. In Ubuntu 12.10, Ceph will be one of the storage options for the OpenStack reference architecture that Canonical is assembling. Inktank itself offers consulting and support services to enterprises, service providers, startups and HPC (High Performance Computing) operations to assist in deploying Ceph.
Inktank launched in May 2012 with Sage Well, creator of the Ceph project, as CEO. Ceph provides both block and object storage with a POSIX compatible layer and allows system builders to pull together hundreds of systems as part of a storage system. The object storages are presented as an Amazon S3 compatible API allowing files of any size to be placed into and retrieved from the storage system while the block storage offered is good for thinly provisioned VM images.
There is native support for Ceph's network block device (RBD) in QEMU/KVM, libvirt and OpenStack. Ceph daemons work between the systems in the storage cluster to balance data load and location and allow the system to be self-healing and self-managing with the nodes actively "gossiping" about cluster status. At the heart of Ceph is an algorithm called CRUSH which is a pseudo-random placement algorithm used to calculate data distribution over the cluster. Ceph was integrated into the Linux kernel in 2010 and Inktank joined the Linux Foundation in August.