Acquia, the company behind commercial Drupal offerings, has selected Gluster open source storage platform for their hosting needs. Gluster storage platform offers an easy way to manage data on commodity servers within a single namespace. This is the kind of storage solutions SaaS startups want to have as they offer good performance at a much lower cost. Being an open source platform is a plus because when a startup trusts their storage needs on a relatively smaller vendor, open source offers the kind of insurance that will ensure business continuity.
After Drupal became wildly successful, the person behind the open source software lured some of the Drupal developers to start a company by name Acquia that offers commercial support for Drupal. As cloud computing gained stream and, in particular, as SaaS became part of organizations workflow, Acquia saw an opportunity to offer Drupal as a SaaS offering. Moreover, Drupal’s wild popularity meant that they need a reliable and highly scalable storage platform for all their hosting needs including Drupal Gardens.
Acquia runs their infrastructure on Amazon EC2. They run multiple webservers and they wanted to share the filesystem with all these webservers. Running on Amazon meant that they cannot use a hardware SAN and they are constrained to work with EBS due to issues associated with other networked filesystems. EBS poses an unique problem of its own. It can be attached to only one webserver and not all of Acquia’s webservers. Since they were already using EBS, they wanted a solution that could help them connect their storage system to all their webservers running on EC2.
Gluster, the commercial company behind the open source storage platform, talked about how Acquia used their platform to achieve higher levels of reliability and scalability. They took the Gluster platform and ran on top of several EBS blocks. This gave them the necessary high availability ensuring that when any of their updates breaks a server, it doesn’t take down the file storage. Prior to adopting Gluster, Acquia considered s3fs, NFS and AFS but they lacked some of the features they wanted like
- s3fs offers no locking
- NFS goes down even when one of their servers go down
- AFS is not highly available to meet their needs