Gluster Updates Open Source Storage Platform for the Cloud

Scale-out storage startup Gluster today released version 3.1 of its Gluster Storage Platform with dynamic provisioning features that let administrators grow, shrink and migrate storage volumes in virtual environments.

The Gluster Storage Platform, which is aimed primarily at storing large volumes of unstructured data, combines open source software with commodity server hardware to deliver a low-cost platform that scales linearly to house multiple petabytes of data. It achieves this with pooling and virtualizing storage resources under a unified global namespace managed as a single entity.

With the release of version 3.1, Gluster has added a range of management features tuned for virtual server and cloud environments, including the ability to grow, shrink or migrate across the physical machines in a cluster without any downtime or service interruptions.

The 3.1 release offers a new feature dubbed “Elastic Volume Management,” which decouples logical storage volumes from the underlying physical hardware and allowing storage administrators to alter volume sizes and move volumes without incurring application downtime. The software automatically balances volumes across the NAS cluster making it available online regardless of changes to the underlying hardware. Storage volume configuration changes can now be made on-the-fly for real time response to changing workload or performance tuning.

The platform also offers high availability with file replication allowing servers to survive hardware failures and self-healing to ensure virtual machines (VMs) are always on. With Gluster Storage Platform, data access is scaled horizontally across multiple storage nodes with automatic I/O scheduling and load balancing.

Also new the Gluster Storage Platform is 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.

The Gluster platform has always supported NFS, but not natively in the file system stack. A native interface simplifies communication between storage servers and clients, according to Jack O’Brien, vice president of marketing at Gluster. “We wrote our own native NFS interface to make things a whole lot simpler. The biggest improvement is that users don’t have to install anything on the client side, but still get full parallelization on the back end. It’s a huge improvement for virtual machine environments, as most VMs want to talk to storage via NFS,” he said.

In addition, version 3.1 includes a new Console Manager that merges the command line interface (CLI), application programming interface (API) and shell into a single 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.

Gluster Storage Platform 3.1 is available under the GNU Affero General Public License.

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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