The Hub

Software is made at the intersection of Technology and Management.

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Finding UX in the Trash

The point of UX is making things effortless

I usually resist sharing at large my opinions on how to make software, out of some impostor syndrome nonsense modesty thing. But this was too much fun not to write it up and share with you all.

User experience is key to the success of any software product today. Yet I find that too many folks in our industry do not really understand what UX truly is. Let’s set aside software for a minute, and illustrate this with an example from a lofty place.

Trash Talk


This trash bin was clearly designed by a well-meaning engineer. It accounts for every possibility… and it makes you play 10 questions every time you approach it. Are the forks compostable? Yes, turns out they are in this building. As in all cases where UX is involved, the point is not that saving the environment (or getting your network settings right) is not worth the effort. The point...

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Low-cost Linux Clusters

Hardware hacking 101 returns to MIT’s BLU

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After a year of inadvertent absence from my favorite Linux user group (turns out that taking over the world with Software-Defined Storage is time consuming!), I returned to BLU to review my newest Linux cluster designs.


I reviewed design options for four clusters using x86 and 64-bit ARM processors housed in systems with a range of prices but with an eye to accomplish each objective with the minimum dollar cost: OpenStack cluster, Docker cluster, Ceph storage cluster and a Raspberry PI cluster — because of course everyone must have a Raspberry PI cluster! More seriously, it is actually a really useful lower-bound for minimal cluster cost.


We looked at the design considerations that went into each design, spanning from four nodes to twelve, and from $150 to $3,495-ish, and inspected on stage the hardware of the two clusters I managed...

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Choosing the right storage for your OpenStack cloud

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Choosing a storage solution for OpenStack is an interesting problem, and it reflects the complexity of a choice that reflects across the entire design of your cloud.

I was honored to be able to share Red Hat’s views on the matter in a very well attended webinar this week.

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My colleagues Rahul Vijayan and Sadique Puthen have introduced a rational and systematic way to examine the myriad of storage options available to an OpenStack designer, and to rapidly zero-in on the most appropriate ones for the cloud in question. I was privileged with the opportunity to present this method to our online audience today.

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The webinar’s recording is available online for on-demand listening, and we are making the slides available as well. We are hoping you can make quicker, more informed choices with this well-organized approach.

We encourage you to go through the design principles for OpenStack...

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Catastrophe Hits Your Datacenter – But Users Don’t Notice

Many large, network-dependent organizations are deploying OpenStack together with Red Hat Ceph Storage because they are inherently highly available solutions.

What if you lost your datacenter completely in a catastrophe, but your users hardly noticed?

Sounds like a mirage, but it’s absolutely possible, and major datacenters with high demand for full availability are already accomplishing this.

Redefining Disaster Recovery

When most companies talk about disaster recovery, they’re referring to backing up their data and how quickly they can restore it if something goes wrong. Their strategy depends on how much downtime their operations can tolerate, balanced against the cost of restoring full function. A business’ tolerance for data loss is codified by the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) targets it set in its data protection plan, specifying how much...

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It’s Hammer Time

I am happy to announce our latest Hammer release of Red Hat Ceph Storage, minor release 3 — also known as 1.3.3. This release rebases to the latest upstream 0.94.9, and we are quite proud to say we accomplished this in just 30 days, combining quality and speedy delivery in one swift, tentacular package. Our newest release is immediately available, both ISOs and repositories, for either RHEL 7.2 or Ubuntu 14.04.


This release resolves 62 bugs and known issues, and solidifies 1.3 as “old reliable” in our supported release lineup. While 1.3 is barely 15 months old and not even halfway through its lifecycle, in the fast-moving world of Software-Defined-Storage the state of the art is now defined by the new shiny RHCS 2 we shipped just four weeks ago — If you are new to Ceph, I recommend you start there or with upstream Jewel.

What’s new

First of all, we have a moderate severity security...

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Jewels of Distributed Storage

OpenStack Days NYC, Operators Midcycle and Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.0

Today, while I was enjoying the keynotes of old friends at OpenStack Days New York City, the Ceph team at Red Hat was hard at work releasing RHCS 2.0 — the most significant update to Red Hat Ceph Storage since we acquired Inktank in 2014.

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Geographic distribution

Ceph is inherently highly available — you could lose a disk, a host, even a rack of storage with the certainty that your data is safely replicated in at least two other places. Ceph’s synchronous nature is a further guarantee: write operations do not return until all three copies have been committed to disk. Like all engineering decisions, this comes with a tradeoff: Ceph is sensitive to network latency as a result of its conservative design. This makes a stretch cluster configuration, where multiple racks of hardware belonging to the same logical cluster...

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OpenStack and Ceph: like Peanut Butter & Jelly

The Three musketeers (as our marketing colleagues have started to call us now) were at the Red Hat Summit last week to walk the assembled crowd of CIOs through all the reasons why Ceph is the most successful storage technology in the OpenStack market segment.

OpenStack Foundation Survey

Ceph is the most widely deployed storage technology used with OpenStack, most often because it’s an open source, massively scalable, unified software-defined storage solution. Its popularity is also due to its unique and optimized technical integration with the OpenStack services and its pure-software approach to scaling. In other words, they just go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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In this intro-level session, Sean and I introduced the audience to OpenStack and Ceph, and Sébastien tied the two together mapping the deep integration between the two. There are still many that need to hear about the rise of...

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Protecting the Galaxy: OpenStack DR with Ceph

The terrific trio composed of Sébastien Han, Sean Cohen and yours truly descended on Austin this week for the recurring ritual of the OpenStack Summit. Our mission: to save the galaxy – or at least your data. Séb and Sean covered architectural options for disaster recovery in OpenStack and I introduced the capabilities provided by Ceph’s newfangled RBD Mirroring feature in last week’s 10.2.0 (“Jewel”) release.

UPDATE: The recording of our OpenStack Summit session is now live on the OpenStack Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Our slides are available as a PDF and can be viewed inline below — we are including even our backup slides for additional Gory detail ™ value:

See you all in Barça this fall!

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Leap Ahead

It’s a fantastic thing that we made the release date, because otherwise we would have to wait for four more years — I had this quirky desire to release one of my products on February the 29th, and this year we finally made it happen! ;-)

Today we are pleased to launch the latest and greatest release of Red Hat Ceph Storage, upping the minor release number to 1.3.2.

Red Hat Storage

This is first and foremost a maintenance release including a number of bug fixes, but there are some features as well. First of all, we are rebasing on upstream Hammer 0.94.5 from the current .3, as always tracking the state of the art in Ceph’s LTS release development. Adding the extensive testing and bug fixing that gives Red Hat products their reputation for quality has been accomplished in efficient 8-week test and integration cycles during our last two point releases, giving customers a remarkably current product...

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Storage Day NYC

The Red Hat Ceph Storage roadmap


The Red Hat storage team descended on NYC today, and I was up presenting our Ceph product roadmap with none other than Sage himself.

The video covers our current thinking around product releases coming in 2016, and is of course subject to change, but I fully expect some variation of the Pareto rule applies here and we are at least 80% on mark.

I covered the current state and plans for our Hammer-based product (RHCS 1.3), but the best short summary of Ceph’s current LTS release is conveyed by CERN’s Dan van der Ster’s quote to OpenStack Superuser last year:

“For less than 10-petabyte clusters, Ceph just works, you don’t have to do much”

Sage laid out the very exciting objectives of the upcoming Jewel release, which is the basis for this Summer’s Red Hat Ceph Storage 2.0. The slides are below, and we are happy to answer your questions on...

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