SUSE Enterprise Storage has long been one of the go-to products for organizations that want to deploy an advanced software defined storage solution. Although SUSE Enterprise Storage supports a vast array of useful features, the platform has gained a reputation for being difficult to use. However, Version 6, which just reached GA status, includes a new dashboard feature that should go a long way toward making the software easier to use.
The new dashboard, which is officially named the Ceph Dashboard, is designed to act as a Web-based interface for monitoring and managing the underlying storage platform. The Ceph Dashboard is automatically enabled as a part of the Ceph cluster deployment process. It is worth noting, however, that if a cluster contains multiple Ceph Manager instances, then only the Ceph Dashboard that is associated with the active Ceph Manager daemon will be able to service requests.
As you would probably expect, the dashboard can be accessed by entering its URL and port number into a Web browser. However, the URL may differ from one organization to the next. If you are not sure of the dashboard’s URL, you can retrieve it (and the required port number) by entering this command:
Ceph mgr services | grep dashboard
Upon entering the dashboard’s URL into your browser, you will be prompted to provide a set of account credentials to gain access to the dashboard. Upon logging in, SUSE Enterprise Storage displays the main dashboard screen, which you can see in Figure 1 (from the SUSE Enterprise Storage documentation).
This is what the Ceph Dashboard looks like.
As you can see in the figure, the dashboard is divided into three main sections. The Status section near the top of the screen provides basic information about your storage architecture. For example, this section shows how many hosts, object gateways and iSCSI gateways you have deployed. This section can also show information related to your storage health. In the figure for example, you can see that there is currently a cluster health warning, and two OSDs are currently down.
The middle portion of the dashboard provides storage performance information. It shows things like Client IOPS, throughput and read/write performance. This section also displays the recovery throughput and indicates whether or not scrub is enabled.
The lower portion of the dashboard screen provides storage capacity information. Here you can find information on the number of storage pools, the raw storage capacity remaining and other capacity information.
Although this screen might give the impression that the Ceph Dashboard is purely informational, the dashboard can also be used for storage management. In fact, the Ceph Dashboard exposes a very rich role-based access control mechanism that allows an administrator to give users access to various administrative functions within the dashboard. An administrator might, for example, assign a user to act as a cluster manager or a pool manager. The role-based access control system also supports the creation of custom management roles.
The dashboard’s administrative functionality is exposed through a series of menus at the top of the dashboard interface. Just to the right of the Dashboard option are options for Cluster, Pools, Block, NFS, File System and Object Gateway. Although these menu titles make it seem as though the Ceph Dashboard is somewhat limited, some of the menus expose functionality that goes beyond what the menu title might lead you to expect. For example, there is no iSCSI menu, but iSCSI functionality is exposed through the Block menu, and allows you to configure iSCSI gateways and targets.
In addition to its ability to configure storage resources, the Ceph Dashboard has also been designed to provide performance data for the storage resources that you are managing. If you want to monitor cluster performance, for example, the dashboard can show you the average CPU, RAM and disk utilization across the cluster, as well as information on things like IOPS and network load. You can also drill down into individual hosts to retrieve host level performance data.
The Ceph Dashboard promises to make SUSE Enterprise Storage much easier to use. Even so, there is so much functionality built into the dashboard that most storage admins are probably going to experience a bit of a learning curve. Documentation is available at: https://susedoc.github.io/doc-ses/develop/ses-admin/html/ceph.dashboard.html#. You can also get a nice preview of the Ceph Dashboard and some of its capabilities at https://youtu.be/7p0hQZ7spkE