In October of 2011, Red Hat (previous CloudAve coverage) announced the acquisition of Gluster, the company behind GlusterFS (previous CloudAve coverage) open source distributed storage solution. Even though Red Hat is a company based on open source philosophy, there were questions about what is in store for GlusterFS under Red Hat. Last week Red Hat held a webinar where they talked about their plans for GlusterFS and it is turning out to be similar to another Red Hat story, Fedora Project.
What is GlusterFS?
GlusterFS is an open source POSIX compliant software based storage solution that can be slapped on top of commoditized hardware pool that can scale on demand. It can easily scale out to petabytes and has high throughput comparable to other enterprise grade proprietary systems. It can be deployed either on premise or on public clouds. Since it is POSIX compliant, it can easily fit into an existing IT environment. GlusterFS has gained widespread global adoption with more than 300K downloads from 45 countries. To recap, some of the features of GlusterFS include
- Distributed Storage with global namespace
- High Availability
GlusterFS was born due to the need for a low cost, highly scalable distributed file system that is also future proof. Since then, a company was formed around the platform and they could successfully monetize using an open core approach. Since it was open core and they required the copyrights to be assuaged to Gluster, there was very little participation from the open source community.
What is Red Hat’s plan for GlusterFS?
Red Hat is planning to make GlusterFS more towards open source than open core. The idea is to make GlusterFS bigger than Red Hat and be community driven. It will open up the collaboration in a big way with increased outside participation. Unlike before the acquisition where the commercial Gluster products had all the features of open source GlusterFS, there will be a shift under Redhat. Open Source version of GlusterFS will be the upstream to the commercial Red Hat storage. Much like RHEL to Fedora Project, Red Hat storage will have fewer features than GlusterFS but will be hardened, more secure and thoroughly tested. To put it bluntly, GlusterFS will first be tested on the free users before a robust and mature system is offered to paying customers. In a way, it is a win-win situation for the users of open source software. Depending on the license terms, we may even see a CentOS equivalent of the mature Red Hat Storage product.
It is a smart move from Red Hat to take the Fedora Model. It not only gives them a very good testing ground in the form of smaller organizations who will deploy the apps for free but it will also help them reach larger enterprises with a more mature and secure product. As large organizations enter the big data age, GlusterFS gives Red Hat a strong play as they take their end to end open source solution to the enterprises. With HDFS compatibility coming in GlusterFS 3.3, due later this year, Red Hat has a very good big data story to push. The 2-3 years will show if this strategy is going to help Red Hat in the big data age.
- Introduction to Red Hat Storage [ GlusterFS ] – free webinar (goinggnu.wordpress.com)
- GlusterFS Scalable Storage Pools Now Officially Part of Red Hat (readwriteweb.com)
- Red Hat snatches storage Gluster file system for $136m (go.theregister.com)
- Red Hat Expands Storage Portfolio With Gluster Acquisition (informationweek.com)
- Red Hat moves into Big Data with Storage Software Appliance (zdnet.com)