Storage Devices

There are two Ceph daemons that store data on devices:

  • Ceph OSDs (Object Storage Daemons) store most of the data in Ceph. Usually each OSD is backed by a single storage device. This can be a traditional hard disk (HDD) or a solid state disk (SSD). OSDs can also be backed by a combination of devices: for example, a HDD for most data and an SSD (or partition of an SSD) for some metadata. The number of OSDs in a cluster is usually a function of the amount of data to be stored, the size of each storage device, and the level and type of redundancy specified (replication or erasure coding).

  • Ceph Monitor daemons manage critical cluster state. This includes cluster membership and authentication information. Small clusters require only a few gigabytes of storage to hold the monitor database. In large clusters, however, the monitor database can reach sizes of tens of gigabytes to hundreds of gigabytes.

  • Ceph Manager daemons run alongside monitor daemons, providing additional monitoring and providing interfaces to external monitoring and management systems.

OSD Back Ends

There are two ways that OSDs manage the data they store. As of the Luminous 12.2.z release, the default (and recommended) back end is BlueStore. Prior to the Luminous release, the default (and only) back end was Filestore.


<<<<<<< HEAD BlueStore is a special-purpose storage backend designed specifically for managing data on disk for Ceph OSD workloads. It is motivated by experience supporting and managing OSDs using FileStore over the last ten years. Key BlueStore features include: ======= BlueStore is a special-purpose storage back end designed specifically for managing data on disk for Ceph OSD workloads. BlueStore’s design is based on a decade of experience of supporting and managing Filestore OSDs. >>>>>>> 28abc6a9a59 (doc/rados: s/backend/back end/)

  • Direct management of storage devices. BlueStore consumes raw block devices or partitions. This avoids any intervening layers of abstraction (such as local file systems like XFS) that may limit performance or add complexity.

  • Metadata management with RocksDB. We embed RocksDB’s key/value database in order to manage internal metadata, such as the mapping from object names to block locations on disk.

  • Full data and metadata checksumming. By default all data and metadata written to BlueStore is protected by one or more checksums. No data or metadata will be read from disk or returned to the user without being verified.

  • Inline compression. Data written may be optionally compressed before being written to disk.

  • Multi-device metadata tiering. BlueStore allows its internal journal (write-ahead log) to be written to a separate, high-speed device (like an SSD, NVMe, or NVDIMM) to increased performance. If a significant amount of faster storage is available, internal metadata can also be stored on the faster device.

  • Efficient copy-on-write. RBD and CephFS snapshots rely on a copy-on-write clone mechanism that is implemented efficiently in BlueStore. This results in efficient IO both for regular snapshots and for erasure coded pools (which rely on cloning to implement efficient two-phase commits).

For more information, see BlueStore Config Reference and BlueStore Migration.


FileStore is the legacy approach to storing objects in Ceph. It relies on a standard file system (normally XFS) in combination with a key/value database (traditionally LevelDB, now RocksDB) for some metadata.

FileStore is well-tested and widely used in production but suffers from many performance deficiencies due to its overall design and reliance on a traditional file system for storing object data.

Although FileStore is generally capable of functioning on most POSIX-compatible file systems (including btrfs and ext4), we only recommend that XFS be used. Both btrfs and ext4 have known bugs and deficiencies and their use may lead to data loss. By default all Ceph provisioning tools will use XFS.

For more information, see Filestore Config Reference.