Can someone explain to me what is Ceph compared to NFS?

From a shared file storage perspective? What is the added value of using Ceph instead of NFS?

  • Ceph is an infrastructure which is hard do compare with NFS. Do you mean the CephFS interface ? – Marco May 10 '18 at 8:16

We really expect question-askers to have done at least a bit of homework first to be honest, anyway here we go.

NFS is a file-sharing protocol, it doesn't define anything about the underlying filesystem at all, simply the protocol of how to access files on it.

Ceph is a distributed filesystem AND sharing mechanism, it defines how the data is stored on one or more nodes and presented to other machines for file access.

A single machine of any kind can be an NFS server, client or both, using whatever operating system and filesystem you like.

Ceph is normally used to 'bind' multiple machines - often hundreds if not thousands - to spread the data out across racks, datacenters etc. and to improve performance.

Oh and more of a personal opinion but NFS is very well known and mature, whereas Ceph is far from being new but isn't anywhere near as well known or mature.

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  • I've seen articles comparing Ceph, GlusterFS and traditional NFS. But then saw other articles using NFS with CephFS. Was confused as to how they compete and complement each other at the same time. – Basil A May 10 '18 at 8:40
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    Well you could expose a Ceph system via NFS for wider compatibility reasons but you'd be losing out on some of the performance and resilience benefits of Ceph doing that I think. – Chopper3 May 10 '18 at 8:55
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    I still don't understand if Ceph already supports shared file storage through CephFS, why would someone use NFS with Ceph? – Basil A May 10 '18 at 9:03
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    Not every potential client supports CephFS – Chopper3 May 10 '18 at 10:02

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