Putting Together the DIY Storage Puzzle

The Koor Data Control Center is a control plane for data storage. It’s in beta. Check it out and start a free trial.
Putting Together the DIY Storage Puzzle

In my very first job out of college, I worked for a startup building middleware to piece together systems that ran on different hardware and spoke different languages. It was a break from mainframes and the start of distributed computing. Our middleware was the glue that made it all work together.

The potential was there for customized, user-friendly systems to deliver more business value. This was before the internet really became a thing, however, and without our tech, disparate systems had no way to communicate with each other. So we led the innovation in IT to unlock that potential.

Today, I see that same potential in the data storage industry. All the pieces are there:

Ceph puts cloudlike, full-scale data storage under your control. Kubernetes automates the management of distributed services. Rook manages Ceph and connects it to Kubernetes.

But nobody is looking at the whole picture. No one has put the puzzle together. Until now.

The DIY Storage Problem

More and more organizations want to take back control of their large-scale data stores, for a variety of reasons:

Sticker shock: Cloud hosting is expensive. Even if storage itself comes at a low cost per gigabyte, vendors find other ways to charge, such as data access fees.

Lock-in: Once your data is in a provider’s cloud, you are captive to that vendor.

Compliance: If you end up doing business with a regulated company or government agency, you may be required to hold data closely.

Proximity to processing power: For some types of work, your data needs to be close to the systems that turn that data into business value.

But many organizations don’t even know if it’s possible to take back control, let alone how to do it.

They feel like maybe they could do it if they had an expert to guide them. Then they add up all the costs: hiring engineers with the specific, deep expertise required, plus all the time and effort needed to research exactly how to properly configure and deploy the system for their specific use cases.

And they’ve completely eaten away at the benefits they hoped to achieve.

For organizations that want to operate large-scale data stores themselves, the industry standard is Ceph, an open source software-defined storage platform. You may not have heard of it, but it’s used by some of the most data-intensive organizations in the world, including CERN.

When implemented and used properly, Ceph provides unmatched benefits for block, object and file storage in a fully distributed, fault-tolerant and highly available platform. The learning curve, however, is extremely steep.

Ceph has the incredible flexibility to handle hundreds of different use cases, but it can be difficult to find the documentation you need to configure and deploy Ceph correctly for your specific use case. And while experience is the best teacher, failure is part of learning how things really work, and that trial and error can be painful.

Rook addresses some of these issues, making it easy to set up a Ceph cluster and providing a standard interface for connecting to Kubernetes for orchestration and management. But it still doesn’t completely solve the problem.

If you want to make changes, you are forced to send the software instructions through a text-based terminal — that is, if you know what the right instructions are and how to choose an applicable set of options. And to see the whole picture, you need visibility into what’s happening beyond Ceph and Rook, across all the systems that are related to data storage.

What it all boils down to is this: Many organizations either avoid adopting Ceph, or they abandon their efforts early on. And for those that do forge ahead, the cost of the required engineering expertise ends up being the same as if they’d just outsourced their data storage to the public cloud.

Finally, a Good Option

What if you had that expertise available in a cost-effective, easy-to-use platform, complete with a GUI, pre-built templates for specific use cases and pop-up messages to guide you through configuration changes?

That’s Koor Data Control Center — the industry’s premier control plane for your data. Koor significantly reduces the time and effort it takes to discover how to configure and deploy the storage you need, and then to actually do it correctly. We’re bringing the best of Ceph, Kubernetes and Rook together, so you can worry less about what’s under the hood and focus on delivering business value.

Koor Data Control Center gives you immediate visibility into the overall state of your data storage. Whether things look good or they are headed for trouble, you have the views you need to understand what is going on. When the time comes to make changes, Koor Data Control Center spells out your options — and how those actions will affect the rest of your system. Everything is explained right there, without having to search the internet, hoping to find good answers to your questions.

And the platform is backed by a team of experts to help you with anything that is not yet baked into the software, so you can save time, avoid confusion and drive down costs by taking control of your data.

For too long, organizations have felt like they have no good storage options. Now, they finally do.

Koor Data Control Center is in beta. Take a look, and give it a try for free.

Dave Mount November 10, 2023