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SUSE Enterprise Storage: Disaster Recovery with Block Mirroring

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Ricardo Dias – SUSE

Recorded at SUSECON 2016 as session TUT89016

Ceph is a highly scalable distributed storage system and the heart of SUSE’s software defined storage solution. A Ceph cluster is highly flexible and can be accessed either as an object store (RADOS), a block device (RBD), or a filesystem (CephFS), making it an attractive solution for many different use cases.

Ceph clusters are usually deployed in a single site. Although a multi-site configuration is also possible, it may hurt the overall performance due to the conjunction of strong consistency and high-latency channels.

Disaster recovery (DR) is an imperative feature for maintaining critical data safe. In the newest version of Ceph (codename Jewel), a solution for disaster recovery support was designed and implemented for the block device interface and named RBD Mirroring.

The approach to support DR is based on the asynchronous propagation of block device operations to a remote (geo-distant) site. By being asynchronous, the operation mirroring does not interfere with the critical path of the primary site functioning, and thus the performance penalty becomes negligible. The current solution allows you to have a safe copy of each RBD image in a remote site and, in case of a disaster, we can failover to the remote site for accessing the mirrored images.

The RBD Mirroring functionality is still in heavy development and new features are being prepared for the next release, such as the support for consistent states between a group of images and the horizontal scaling of the mirroring procedure to support the mirroring of thousands of images.

In this talk, I will present a high-level technical overview of RBD mirroring, discuss its advantages and limitations, and show how system administrators can use this solution to effectively recover from disasters that may lead to destruction of data.


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