Ceph spinoff looks to monetize open-source storage framework

Ceph spinoff looks to monetize open-source storage framework

The main developers behind the popular Ceph open-source storage framework announced today that they have created a new company, dubbed Inktank, to provide paid support and consulting for the system.

RELATED: VMware takes on Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive

Ceph, which began as the pet project of Dreamhost co-founder Sage Weil, provides block-, object- and POSIX-based storage as part of a single package. Inktank president and COO Bryan Bogensberger says that, despite what's seen as powerful functionality, many companies may have passed on using Ceph because of a lack of professional services and support.

"People were trying to do big things with Ceph, without any more than a couple of guys to go to on a mailing list," Bogensberger says.

Inktank will pursue several development channels beyond end-user services, Bogensberger adds, saying also that the company is close to a deal with a "massive" OEM for the resale of Inktank services. Another potential OEM partnership could see the creation of a dedicated Ceph appliance, he says.

Ceph's inclusion in Ubuntu's new long-term service release, according to Bogensberger, is another factor that could drive user base growth for the storage system.

Inktank's offering, he says, has a cost-per-gigabyte advantage over less open competitors.

"A service provider can legitimately, tomorrow, launch an object store that can compete with even the lowest tier of the Amazon pricing at 5 cents or 6 cents per gig," says Bogensberger.

Ceph's open-source nature and ability to run on commodity hardware allow it to deliver substantial cost savings, he says. The framework uses the LGPL Version 2 to help protect against potential copyright issues, which Bogensberger says were crucial concerns when developing Ceph.

"We actually just went through a license audit to make sure we've done everything correctly," he says.

While this "doesn't mean we can't" develop proprietary features around Ceph in the future, Bogensberger adds, the group's goal is to maintain the framework's openness.

The business, he says, is one that is just now "catching up" to the progress of the technology created by the development community.

"We're trying to help these people more formally," Bogensberger says.

Email Jon Gold at and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Amazon Web ServicesDropboxGoogleMicrosoftOSIXSageUbuntuVMware Australia

Show Comments