​Kinetic: Open source cloud storage

The latest Linux Foundation Collaborative Project is Kinetic: Open-source software and standards for cloud object storage technologies.

SEATTLE -- As an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud user, I think storage looks so easy. From where you sit, IaaS just looks like one giant hard drive in the ether. Behind the scenes it's an entirely different story. That where The Linux Foundation's new Collaborative Project, the Kinetic Open Storage Project (KOSP), comes in.

KOSP, which was revealed at LinuxCon, provides both Ethernet connectivity and a key/value store that allows applications to access drives directly without needing to be managed by a storage server. This new project will manage the open-source libraries, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and simulators interfacing with Kinetic-based drives. OEMs will now have a choice of drive vendors for Kinetic-based drives. In addition, storage developers can use KOSP's vendor-agnostic open-source libraries and APIs to create new applications leveraging Kinetic-based drives.

In an interview, Shai Tsur, Seagate's Senior Business Development Manager in charge of building out KOSP's software ecosystem., explained that this "means that the current functionality of the storage server in technologies such as Swift can be pushed either down into the drives or up into the software layer. For cloud vendors and other hyperscale customers it drives a number of benefits."

These are:

1. It removes an entire level of storage server hardware at the system level, thus providing for great improvement in the TCO [Total Cost of Ownership] of running a data center, especially in capital expenditures and power savings

2. It decouples the compute and storage components in the data center in a way not possible up to now. This allows for much easier and more granular scale-out of data center storage capabilities, as you can now just add racks of storage as your need expands.

KOSP has already proved popular. Its founding members are Cisco, Cleversafe, Dell, Digital Sense, Huawei, NetApp, Open vStorage, Red Hat, Scality, Seagate, SwiftStack, Toshiba and Western Digital. These companies see it as the foundation for next generation, Ethernet-enabled open source object storage.

"It's good to see the Kinetic Open Storage Project taking an open approach to building interfaces for Ethernet attached drives," said Sage Weil, the Ceph distributed object store and file system creator. "There is a tremendous opportunity for these devices to make us rethink how we build and deploy the compute and storage components of scale-out systems and the best way to facilitate both innovation and interoperability is through an open community process."

With the ever increasing need to supply storage not just to IaaS clouds, but to other cloud, virtualization and container technologies, KOSP is likely to prove very popular.

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