Gluster (see our previous coverage), the open source storage platform vendor, today announced a new version of their storage platform, Gluster 3.1, that adds elasticity and automation needed for today’s dynamic cloud world. According to Anand Babu (AB) Periasamy, co-founder and CTO of Gluster, “The new capabilities in Gluster Storage Platform allow us to better address the dynamic storage requirements of modern cloud and data center environments”.
What is Gluster Platform?
Gluster platform is built on top of the open source GlusterFS, a general purpose distributed filesystem for scalable storage, greatly simplifying the task of managing unstructured file data of any size. The biggest issues faced by enterprises in this cloud era are
- Explosion of data they store
- Dynamic environments like virtualization and cloud
Gluster Platform integrates Glusterfs to the OS layer and can be deployed on any x64 machines, making them fully functional servers. It is POSIX compliant and installs on any industry standard hardware offering high levels of scalability. The attractiveness of Gluster Platform stems from the fact that it is open source and can run on commodity hardware, the kind of economics attractive for enterprises in this struggling economy.
Gluster is a scale-out platform with the advantage of a global namespace that aggregates disk and memory into a single pool of resources with flexible back-end disk option (with support for anything from direct attached to JBOD to SAN). Some of the advantages of Gluster Platform are
- Low cost
- Better scalability and performance compared to NAS and SAN while storing petabytes of information
- Unlike the difficulties faced with using SAN with multiple virtual machines (limitations and management complexities associated with the number of LUNs one can have), Gluster provides a single mount-point that thousands of VMs can share offering simplified management
- Suitable for both private and public clouds, there are many users who have deployed it on Amazon EC2
- Better file replication and real time self healing (built-in redundancy)
- High I/O throughput
- Gluster supports NFS and the Gluster protocol natively for client connections and also supports CIFS, HTTP, FTP, and WebDAV
In this era of dynamic datacenters and clouds, Gluster offers a flexible, but powerful, storage solution at a lower cost. Moreover, it is open source and hence it is in my radar.
What is new in Gluster 3.1?
The mantra for the new release is elasticity and automation. Gluster platform has achieved this by adding elastic volume management and a new management console. In fact, the important features of Gluster 3.1 are
- Elastic Volume Management: logical storage volumes are decoupled from physical hardware, allowing administrators to grow, shrink and migrate storage volumes without any application downtime. As storage is added, storage volumes are automatically rebalanced across the cluster making it always available online regardless of changes to the underlying hardware
- New Gluster Console Manager: the Command Line Interface (CLI), Application Programming Interface (API) and shell are merged into a single powerful interface, enabling automation by giving the CLI higher level API’s and scripting capabilities. Languages such as Python, Ruby or PHP can be used to script a series of commands that are invoked through the command line. This new tool requires no new APIs and is able to script out and rapidly automate any information inserted in the CLI allowing cloud administrators the ability to simply automate large scale operations
- Native Network File System (NFS): including a native NFS v3 module which allows storage servers to communicate natively with NFS clients directly to any storage server in the cluster and simultaneously communicates NFS and the Gluster protocol. NFS requires no specialized training, making it simple and easy to deploy
Gluster Platform is very attractive not just for the powerful feature set shown above but it also has a very low cost overhead. It is very attractive for enterprises looking forward to cut costs in this troubled economy without having to compromise much on other important factors like reliability, performance, etc.. The one big disadvantage I see is that Gluster Platform is just storage only bricks, unlike other modern storage platforms that glue both storage and compute together. So, this may not be attractive to some in the Big Data croud. However, Gluster has many interesting use-cases, making them a very serious player in the crowded market. If you have used Gluster Platform in your organization, I would love to hear your thoughts. I am also trying to reach out to some users who have deployed Gluster Platform on EC2. Hopefully, I get to talk to them and come back and report here at another time.
- Gluster Announces General Availability of Version 3.1 of Scale-Out NAS Platform (eon.businesswire.com)
- Gluster Refreshes Cloud Storage Platform (informationweek.com)
- Gluster Introduces VMStor to Address Market Need for Scalable Virtual Machine Storage (eon.businesswire.com)
- One month with GlusterFS in production (building43.com)
- GlusterFS on the cheap with Rackspace’s Cloud Servers or Slicehost (building43.com)
- Acquia Uses Gluster Storage For Drupal Gardens SaaS Offering (cloudave.com)
- High-Availability Storage With GlusterFS On Ubuntu 10.04 – Automatic File Replication (Mirror) Across Two Storage Servers (howtoforge.com)