Ceph is an open source storage platform, it provides high performance, reliability, and scalability. It's a free distributed storage system that can be setup without a single point of failure. Ceph provides an interface for object, block, and file-level storage.

This is the second part of our Ceph tutorial series - click here for the Ceph I tutorial (setup a Ceph Cluster on CentOS). In the second part, I will guide you step-by-step to install and configure a Ceph Block Device client to use Ceph as a filesystem on CentOS 7.


  • Ceph cluster - Ceph I Tutorial
  • Client server - CentOS 7 - hostname and IP
    •       client
  • Root privileges

Step 1 - Configure Ceph Client Node

In this section, we will configure our CentOS 7 server as a Ceph client. We will configure the Ceph client as other Ceph node (mon-osd).

Login to the eCph client node.

ssh root@

Add a new 'cephuser' and set a new password for the user.

useradd -d /home/cephuser -m cephuser
passwd cephuser

Enable password-less sudo for 'cephuser' by adding a new config to the 'sudoers.d' directory.

echo "cephuser ALL = (root) NOPASSWD:ALL" | sudo tee /etc/sudoers.d/cephuser
sed -i s'/Defaults requiretty/#Defaults requiretty'/g /etc/sudoers
chmod 0440 /etc/sudoers.d/cephuser

After enabling sudo password-less for the cephuser, we need to disable SELinux on the client node.

sed -i 's/SELINUX=enforcing/SELINUX=disabled/g' /etc/selinux/config

Next, install NTP and sync the system time with the ntpdate command. Then start the NTP service.

yum install -y open-vm-tools
yum install -y ntp ntpdate ntp-doc
ntpdate 0.us.pool.ntp.org
hwclock --systohc
systemctl enable ntpd.service
systemctl start ntpd.service

Add the host configuration for all ceph-cluster nodes to the '/etc/hosts' file.

vim /etc/hosts

This is my configuration from Ceph I tutorial.        ceph-admin        mon1        osd1        osd2        osd3        client

Save the hosts file and exit the editor.

Step 2 - Configure the Ceph Admin-node

In the first step, we've prepared the Ceph client node for the ceph installation. But we still need to configure the ceph-admin node to be able to manage the Ceph installation on the client node. We will install Ceph on the client node from the 'ceph-admin' node now.

Login to the ceph-admin node.

ssh [email protected]
su - cephuser

Edit the ssh configuration file with vim.

vim ~/.ssh/config

Add the new client node configuration at the end of the file.

Host client
        Hostname client
        User cephuser

Save the config file and exit vim.

Next, edit the /etc/hosts file on the ceph-admin node.

sudo vim /etc/hosts

And add the client hostname and IP address.      client

Save /etc/hosts and exit the editor.

Now we can add the ceph-admin SSH key to the client node.

ssh-keyscan client >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts
ssh-copy-id client

Type in your "cephuser" password when requested.

Try to connect to the client node server with the command below to test the connection.

ssh client

Configure ceph-admin for client installation

Step 3 - Install Ceph on Client Node

In this step, we will install Ceph on the client node (the node that acts as client node) from the ceph-admin node.

Login to the ceph-admin node as root by ssh and become "cephuser" with su.

ssh [email protected]
su - cephuser

Go to the Ceph cluster directory, in our first Ceph tutorial, we used the 'cluster' directory.

cd cluster/

Install Ceph on the client node with ceph-deploy and then push the configuration and the admin key to the client node.

ceph-deploy install client
ceph-deploy admin client

The Ceph installation will take some time (depends on the server and network speed). When the task finished, connect to the client node and change the permission of the admin key.

ssh client
sudo chmod 644 /etc/ceph/ceph.client.admin.keyring

Ceph has been installed on the client node.

Installing Ceph on the client node

Step 4 - Configure and Mount Ceph as Block Device

Ceph allows users to use the Ceph cluster as a thin-provisioned block device. We can mount the Ceph storage like a normal hard drive on our system. Ceph Block Storage or Ceph RADOS Block Storage (RBD) stores block device images as an object, it automatically stripes and replicates our data across the Ceph cluster. Ceph RBD has been integrated with KVM, so we can also use it as block storage on various virtualization platforms such as OpenStack, Apache CLoudstack, Proxmox VE etc.

Before creating a new block device on the client node, we must check the cluster status. Login to the Ceph monitor node and check the cluster state.

ssh mon1
sudo ceph -s

Make sure cluster health is 'HEALTH_OK' and pgmap is 'active & clean'.

Check the ceph cluster state

In this step, we will use Ceph as a block device or block storage on a client server with CentOS 7 as the client node operating system. From the ceph-admin node, connect to the client node with ssh. There is no password required as we configured passwordless logins for that node in the furst chapters.

ssh client

Ceph provides the rbd command for managing rados block device images. We can create a new image, resize, create a snapshot, and export our block devices with the rbd command.

Create a new rbd image with size 40GB, and then check 'disk01' is available on the rbd list.

rbd create disk01 --size 40960
rbd ls -l

Next, activate the rbd kernel module.

sudo modprobe rbd
sudo rbd feature disable disk01 exclusive-lock object-map fast-diff deep-flatten

Now, map the disk01 image to a block device via rbd kernel module, and make sure the disk01 in the list of mapped devices then.

sudo rbd map disk01
rbd showmapped

Create new CEPH RBD images with the rbd command

We can see that the disk01 image has been mapped as '/dev/rbd0' device. Before using it to store data, we have to format that disk01 image with the mkfs command. I will use the XFS file system.

sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/rbd0

Mount '/dev/rbd0' to the mnt directory. I will use the 'mydisk' subdirectory for this purpose.

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/mydisk
sudo mount /dev/rbd0 /mnt/mydisk

Format rbd device with XFS and mount it

The Ceph RBD or RADOS Block Device has been configured and mounted on the system. Check that the device has been mounted correctly with the df command.

df -hT

Using Ceph as Block Device on CentOS 7 has been successful.

ceph RBD mounted as block device on CentOS

Step 5 - Setup RBD at Boot time

Using Ceph as a Block Device on the CentOS 7 Client node has been successful. Now we will configure to automount the Ceph Block Device to the system. at boot time We need to create a services file for 'RBD Auto Mount'.

Create a new file in the /usr/local/bin directory for mounting and unmounting of the RBD disk01.

cd /usr/local/bin/
vim rbd-mount

Paste the script below:

# Script Author: http://bryanapperson.com/
# Change with your pools name
export poolname=rbd

# CHange with your disk image name
export rbdimage=disk01

# Mount Directory
export mountpoint=/mnt/mydisk

# Image mount/unmount and pool are passed from the systems service as arguments
# Determine if we are mounting or unmounting
if [ "$1" == "m" ]; then
   modprobe rbd
   rbd feature disable $rbdimage exclusive-lock object-map fast-diff deep-flatten
   rbd map $rbdimage --id admin --keyring /etc/ceph/ceph.client.admin.keyring
   mkdir -p $mountpoint
   mount /dev/rbd/$poolname/$rbdimage $mountpoint
if [ "$1" == "u" ]; then
   umount $mountpoint
   rbd unmap /dev/rbd/$poolname/$rbdimage

Save the file and exit vim, then make it executable with chmod.

chmod +x rbd-mount

Next, go to the systemd directory and create the service file.

cd /etc/systemd/system/
vim rbd-mount.service

Paste service configuration below:

Description=RADOS block device mapping for $rbdimage in pool $poolname"
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/rbd-mount m
ExecStop=/usr/local/bin/rbd-mount u

Save the file and exit vim.

Reload the systemd files and enable the rbd-mount service to start at boot time.

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable rbd-mount.service

If you reboot the client node now, rbd 'disk01' will automatically be mounted to the '/mnt/mydisk' directory.


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