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CentOS EOL – What does it mean for Ceph storage?

Out of the darkness and into the light, a new path forward

Back in 2020, the CentOS Project announced that they would focus only on CentOS Stream, meaning that CentOS 7 would be the last release with commonality to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The End of Life (EOL) of CentOS 7 on June 30, 2024, means that there will no longer be security updates, patches or new features released for the OS.

If a user deployed Ceph on this version of CentOS, their future path is challenging. There are several options to work around the challenge of this EOL, but each comes with its own nuance:

  • Migrate to CentOS stream and potentially experience less stability due to the rolling nature of CentOS Stream.
  • Migrate to RedHat Enterprise Linux, which could be costly, due to the subscriptions required for RHEL and IBM Storage Ceph.
  • Migrate to another Linux distribution that promises binary compatibility with RHEL, but does not have concrete or sustainable plans to be able to do so.
  • Migrate to an alternative operating system like Ubuntu Linux, which has no difference between supported and self-supported versions, reducing possible lock-in to any one approach.

Risks

If the user does nothing, their ageing deployments will eventually have no supported path to upgrade to future versions of Ceph, leaving them behind in terms of new features and functionality. Even worse, that user will have no options for security patches for critical security bugs.

Migrating to RedHat Enterprise Linux certainly gives a supported approach, with future updates and upgrades available, but at the cost of potentially expensive enterprise licensing for both the OS and Ceph.

Several other Linux distributions have suggested that they will be able to keep binary compatibility with upstream RHEL, but without a legal or contractual agreement this is a risky approach.

One of the most common reasons for using CentOS was in non-production test and dev systems, where compatibility was assured with RHEL but there was no licence required. So that potentially means yet more additional cost to enrol those systems in support as well.

Another operating system

There’s a fifth option the user could take: one that eliminates their exposure to EOL, guarantees them long-term support for their OS and application, and which cuts out the need for expensive additional licensing. 

We’re talking of course about moving to another open source operating system that operates licence-free. Ubuntu Linux is hands-down the go-to OS for these requirements: it has zero licensing requirements to use, and allows you to use Ceph without a licence.

Ubuntu also prevents lock-in. For production environments support can be purchased, providing up to 24/7 telephone and ticket support. A single straightforward subscription covers not only the base OS, but also Ceph (and other applications running on the same node(s)), with flexibility that accommodates users who feel that they do not need support in the future.

Storage migrations

Migrating data has always been a complex and time consuming process. Depending on the scenario there are multiple ways of approaching them. A user can copy their data between two storage systems via their host servers.

Or with the help of professional services an existing Ceph cluster can be converted from one operating system to another. An in-place migration, where the data remains on the same disks, just the OS and Ceph software is replaced around them is one approach. Or if deeper conversion work is required (e.g. filestore to bluestore), OSD nodes can be rotated out of the existing cluster, reconfigured and re-added, eventually replacing all of the existing installation.

These approaches can save a lot of administrative overhead, however each and every migration is bespoke, contact us to find out more.

Learn more

FInd out more about Ceph here.

Additional resources

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What is Ceph?

Ceph is a software-defined storage (SDS) solution designed to address the object, block, and file storage needs of both small and large data centres.

It's an optimised and easy-to-integrate solution for companies adopting open source as the new norm for high-growth block storage, object stores and data lakes.

Learn more about Ceph ›

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