Monday, April 27, 2009

Gluster on commodity hardware

I had a long, winding, and typically interesting conversation with Jacob Farmer from Cambridge Computer yesterday afternoon. One of the favorite topics for bio-IT infrastructure folks is how to make good use of Sun's Thumper (aka Thor) systems, which are extremely attractive storage systems from a capital cost perspective, but aren't a complete package. Many organizations have started with one or two and then grown out to many only to discover they are expensive to operate and maintain.

Jacob said he has been looking at using Gluster, a free, open source package which "is a cluster file-system capable of scaling to several peta-bytes. It aggregates various storage bricks over Infiniband RDMA or TCP/IP interconnect into one large parallel network file system. GlusterFS is based on a stackable user space design without compromising performance." It sounds like some organizations are having success pairing Gluster with Thumpers/Thors, though one person I spoke with said they had some issues with the administrative tools and interface.

It looks like an interesting platform that bears watching.

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