Ceph Days are a series of regular events in support of the Ceph open source community. They now occur at locations all around the world. In November, R@CMon hosted Australia’sfirst Ceph Day. The day hosted 70-odd guests, many of which were from interstate and a few from overseas. There participants were from the research sector, private industry and ICT providers. It was a fantastic culmination of Australia’s growing Ceph community.
If you don’t already know, Ceph is basically an open-source technology for software-defined cluster-based storage. It means our storage backend is essentially infinitely scalable, and our focus can shift to the access mechanisms for data.
The day began with the Ceph Community Director – Patrick McGarry. His presentation included information about the upcoming expanded Ceph metrics platform, what the Ceph User Committee has been up to, new community infrastructure for a better contributor experience, and revised open source governance.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the day was the joint talk given by R@CMon’s very own director – Steve Quenette and technical lead – Blair Bethwaite. Here we explain Ceph in the context of the 21st century microscope – the tool each researcher creates to do modern day research. We also explain how we technically approached creating our fabric.
“We see Monash as a leader in Cloud and HPC on the Cloud with Openstack, Ceph and Lustre on our Ethernet CloudX platform.” Sudarshan Ramachandran, Regional Sales Manager, Australia & New Zealand
From a fabric innovation point of view, it has been a very productive and exciting 24months for R@CMon. By early 2014 the internal Monash University HPC system “MCC” was burst onto the Research Cloud, allowing a researcher’s own merit the be leveraged with institutional investment. It also represents a shift towards soft HPC, where the size of a HPC system changes regularly with time. Earlier this year we announced our early adoption of RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) using Mellanox technologies. The meant the same fabric used for cloud networking could also be used for HPC and data storage backplanes. In turn MCC on the R@CMon also enabled RDMA communications, that is, real HPC performance but on an otherwise orchestrated cloud.
This is a key ingredient to the “21st Century Microscope”, where researchers orchestrate the instruments, compute, storage, analysis and visualisation themselves, looking down and tuning this 21st century lens, using big data and big computing to make new discoveries. R@CMon has been designed to be the platform where Australian researchers can lead the way at establishing their own 21st century microscope – for themselves and for their communities.
Once again Monash is leading platform technology innovation and accessibility by example. Through 2015 we look forward to optimising this technology, and encouraging increased self-service to these sorts of technologies.