Media release

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) joins the Ceph Foundation to Advance Open Source Storage

More than 30 members join new Ceph Foundation to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and Artificial Intelligence applications

13 November 2018

Yesterday in Berlin SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and Artificial Intelligence applications.

 The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces.

“Ceph has a long track record of success when it comes to helping organisations effectively manage high growth and expanding data storage demands,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “This partnership will assist us to store and retrieve the huge volumes of data that will be collected by the MeerKAT radio telescope,” says Dr Rob Adam, Managing Director of SARAO.

The MeerKAT is a 64-antenna array radio telescope that has been built on the SKA site in the Karoo, and which will be integrated into the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array. MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275 Gigabytes per second in real time – that equates to approximately 58 DVDs per second. SARAO currently uses Ceph to synthesise a ~20 PB object-based storage system, for the data generated by the MeerKAT radio telescope array.

Ceph is used by cloud providers and enterprises around the world, including financial institutions (Bloomberg, Fidelity), cloud service providers (Rackspace, Linode), academic and government institutions (Massachusetts Open Cloud), telecommunications infrastructure providers (Deutsche Telekom), auto manufacturers (BMW), software solution providers (SAP, Salesforce), and many more.

Ceph is also used by Rook, a Cloud Native Computing Foundation project that brings seamless provisioning of file, block and object storage services into the Kubernetes environment, running the Ceph storage infrastructure in containers alongside applications that are consuming that storage.

Efficient, agile, and massively scalable, Ceph significantly lowers the cost of storing enterprise information in the private cloud and provides high availability to any object, file, and block data. Block and file storage are critical to any IT infrastructure organisation and are important components of infrastructure platforms like OpenStack and Kubernetes.

The growth of new cloud, container and artificial intelligence/machine learning applications are driving the increased use of Ceph. Ceph combined with analytics and machine learning can, for example, enable enterprises to comb through mass amounts of unstructured data to quickly spot patterns in customer behaviour, online customer conversations, and potential noncompliance scenarios.

“A guiding vision for Ceph is to be the state of the art for reliable, scale-out storage, and to do so with 100% open source,” said Sage Weil, Ceph co-creator, project leader, and chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph. “While early public cloud providers popularised self-service storage infrastructure, Ceph brings the same set of capabilities to service providers, enterprises, and individuals alike, with the power of a robust development and user community to drive future innovation in the storage space. Today’s launch of the Ceph Foundation is a testament to the strength of a diverse open source community coming together to address the explosive growth in data storage and services.”

“Ceph was designed and built for scalability, initially with supercomputers and later with cloud infrastructure in mind. A key design premise was that the storage system needs to provide a highly reliable and available service in a dynamic and increasingly heterogeneous hardware environment where everything can potentially fail,” said Carlos Maltzahn of University of California, Santa Cruz, a co-founder of the research project that first created Ceph over a decade ago.

Thomas Bennett, Senior Software Systems Engineer at SARAO says: “SARAO uses Ceph in concert with locally manufactured hardware to lower storage capital expenditure for the MeerKAT storage infrastructure. In order to share our experiences and showcase Ceph, the SARAO storage team is in the process of establishing a Cape Town Ceph community forum.” The inaugural meeting for this community forum will take place on the 28 November November at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. For further details on this event please email”

Associate members include Boston University Information Services and Technology, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), FAS Research Computing – Harvard, Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET), Monash University, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and University of California Santa Cruz’s Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS).

About the Ceph Foundation

The Ceph Foundation is a directed fund under the Linux Foundation. It provides a neutral home for the Ceph community to collaborate and grow, and is supported by members across multiple industries. Ceph is a unified distributed storage system providing applications object, block, and file system interfaces in a single unified storage cluster—making Ceph flexible, reliable and easy for you to manage. Ceph is built on the Reliable Autonomic Distributed Object Store (RADOS), which provides a highly available and scalable fabric that can either be consumed directly or via higher-level object, block and file services that are built on top.

About the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and industry adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at


The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) manages South Africa’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, commonly known as the SKA, in engineering, science and construction. SARAO is a National Facility managed by the National Research Foundation and incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (AVN) programme in nine African countries as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

For media enquiries, contact Kim de Boer on or +27 (011) 442-2434.

SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and Artificial Intelligence applications


Kim de Boer
SKA SA Head: Communication and Stakeholder Relations
Mobile: +27 (0) 11 442-2434