Inktank, the company behind the Ceph distributed storage platform, is cuddling up close with Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) with the latest release of Ceph, dubbed Cuttlefish. The new version may better position the open-source storage system for Big Data channel partner opportunities.

As perhaps the only enterprise-ready distributed storage platform that offers massive scalability and is available as open-source software, Ceph's profile has risen rapidly since Inktank launched in 2012 to provide support and services for it. That trend continued Tuesday with the Cuttlefish release, which introduces crucial new functionality including:

  • A deployment tool called ceph-deploy (no one ever said open-source developers were particularly creative with names) that simplifies the launching of Ceph clusters.
  • A RESTful API that offers support for managing Ceph users and access privileges. Intank is pitching this feature as a particularly useful one for connecting Ceph to provisioning and billing systems.
  • Several maintenance and security enhancements, including incremental block device snapshots (which make backups much faster and more efficient), "at-rest" data encryption and storage-pool quotas.

Meanwhile, the most noteworthy news surrounding the Cuttlefish release are closer ties between Red Hat and Inktank. In addition to offering Ceph packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.3, which was released last June 2013 and is the second-most recent iteration of the popular open-source enterprise operating system, Inktank has committed to providing commercial support for all future RHEL releases.

That update, combined with the close relationships Inktank has forged with other big-name partners including SUSE, Canonical and Dell, promises to raise Ceph's profile within the channel even further, and cement its key role in open-source Big Data computing. That's a lot of momentum for a storage platform that essentially had no commercial presence at all until about a year ago. We'll stay tuned as Ceph and Inktank continue to move forward.