Do not use SMR disks with Ceph

Do not use SMR disks with Ceph 150 150 Wido den Hollander

Many new disks like the Seagate He8 disks are using a technique called Shingled Magnetic Recording to increase capacity.

As these disks offer a very low price per Gigabyte they seem interesting to use in a Ceph cluster.


Due to the nature of SMR these disks are very, very, very bad when it comes to Random Write performance. Random I/O is something that Ceph does a lot on the backing disks.

This results in disks spiking to 100% utilization very quickly causing all kinds of trouble with OSDS going down and committing suicide.

Do NOT use them

The solution is very simple. Do not use SMR disks in Ceph but stick to the traditional PMR disks in your Ceph cluster.

In the future we might see SMR support in the new BlueStore of Ceph, but at this moment no work has been done, so don’t expect anything soon.

Testing Ceph BlueStore with the Kraken release

Testing Ceph BlueStore with the Kraken release 150 150 Wido den Hollander

Ceph version Kraken (11.2.0) has been released and the Release Notes tell us that the new BlueStore backend for the OSDs is now available.


The current backend for the OSDs is the FileStore which mainly uses the XFS filesystem to store it’s data. To overcome several limitations of XFS and POSIX in general the BlueStore backend was developed.

It will provide more performance (mainly writes), data safety due to checksumming and compression.

Users are encouraged to test BlueStore starting with the Kraken release for non-production and non-critical data sets and report back to the community.

Deploying with BlueStore

To deploy OSDs with BlueStore you can use the ceph-deploy by using the –bluestore flag.

I created a simple test cluster with three machines: alpha, bravo and charlie.

Each machine will be running a ceph-mon and ceph-osd proces.

This is the sequence of ceph-deploy commands I used to deploy the cluster

ceph-deploy new alpha bravo charlie
ceph-deploy mon create alpha bravo charlie

Now, edit the ceph.conf file in the current directory and add:

enable_experimental_unrecoverable_data_corrupting_features = bluestore

With this setting we allow the use of BlueStore and we can now deploy our OSDs:

ceph-deploy --overwrite-conf osd create --bluestore alpha:sdb bravo:sdb charlie:sdb

Running BlueStore

This tiny cluster how runs three OSDs with BlueStore:

root@alpha:~# ceph -s
    cluster c824e460-2f09-4994-8b2f-108aedc52d19
     health HEALTH_OK
     monmap e2: 3 mons at {alpha=[2001:db8::100]:6789/0,bravo=[2001:db8::101]:6789/0,charlie=[2001:db8::102]:6789/0}
            election epoch 14, quorum 0,1,2 alpha,bravo,charlie
        mgr active: charlie standbys: alpha, bravo
     osdmap e14: 3 osds: 3 up, 3 in
            flags sortbitwise,require_jewel_osds,require_kraken_osds
      pgmap v24: 64 pgs, 1 pools, 0 bytes data, 0 objects
            43356 kB used, 30374 MB / 30416 MB avail
                  64 active+clean
root@alpha:~# ceph osd tree
-1 0.02907 root default                                       
-2 0.00969     host alpha                                     
 0 0.00969         osd.0         up  1.00000          1.00000 
-3 0.00969     host bravo                                     
 1 0.00969         osd.1         up  1.00000          1.00000 
-4 0.00969     host charlie                                   
 2 0.00969         osd.2         up  1.00000          1.00000 

On alpha I see that osd.0 only has a small partition for a bit of configuration and the rest is used by BlueStore.

root@alpha:~# df -h /var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-0
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1        97M  5.4M   92M   6% /var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-0
root@alpha:~# lsblk 
sda      8:0    0    8G  0 disk 
├─sda1   8:1    0  7.5G  0 part /
├─sda2   8:2    0    1K  0 part 
└─sda5   8:5    0  510M  0 part [SWAP]
sdb      8:16   0   10G  0 disk 
├─sdb1   8:17   0  100M  0 part /var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-0
└─sdb2   8:18   0  9.9G  0 part 
sdc      8:32   0   10G  0 disk 
root@alpha:~# cat /var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-0/type

The OSDs should work just like OSDs running FileStore, but they should perform better.

Deploying Ceph over IPv6

Deploying Ceph over IPv6 150 150 Wido den Hollander

I like to deploy Ceph clusters over IPv6. I actually think that’s the way forward. IPv4 is legacy just like iSCSI and NFS are.

Last week I was at a customer deploying a new Ceph cluster and they wanted to deploy with IPv6! Most deployment I did with IPv6 were done manually and not with ceph-deploy, but when trying to deploy with ceph-deploy over IPv6 I ran into some issues.

Before going into that I want to make something clear. With Ceph you choose either IPv4 OR IPv6. There is NO dual-stack support. So the whole cluster (including clients) communicates over IPv6 or over IPv4. Switching afterwards is not possible. So that’s why I urge people to deploy with IPv6 since you probably want to have your cluster running for a long time.

All package repos (including the Ceph ones) have IPv6 enabled, so in my opinion there is no good reason to prefer IPv4 with a Ceph deployment when IPv6 is available. I even think it’s easier in large deployment due to the Router Advertisements in IPv6.

Having that said it’s time to go back to the ceph-deploy issue.

In ceph.conf you have to enclose IPv6 addresses for monitors with a [ and ]. This is what ceph-deploy did wrong:

mon_host = 2a00:f10:X:X::X,2a00:f10:X:X::Y,2a00:f10:X:X::Z

While it should have been:

mon_host = [2a00:f10:X:X::X],[2a00:f10:X:X::Y],[2a00:f10:X:X::Z]
ms_bind_ipv6 = true

The ms_bind_ipv6 setting tells the Messenger inside Ceph to bind on IPv6. It’s important that you set that setting on all hosts in the Ceph cluster, otherwise things will go wrong badly. Heartbeats and such will not work.

I wrote a patch for ceph-deploy which fixes it. It writes the ‘mon_host’ setting correctly and also adds the ‘ms_bind_ipv6’ setting when IPv6 is used for the monitors.


in touch.

    Privacy Preferences

    When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy Preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

    Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
    Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
    Visit privacy policy Visit terms and conditions
    Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.