Gluster Does Clustered Storage for Less with Open Source


Gluster this week unveiled a new data storage platform that users can combine with commodity hardware to create an inexpensive clustered storage environment.

The new offering is based on GlusterFS, the company's open source clustered file system. Gluster has added a Linux operating system layer and a management interface, and the whole platform can fit on a USB memory stick that the company says can turn a bare server into a clustered storage node within 15 minutes. Gluster calls the offering "clustered storage on a stick."

Gluster is one of several companies hoping to break into the networked storage market by combining open source software with commodity hardware to offer a lower-cost alternative to proprietary offerings from big-name storage vendors like EMC (NYSE: EMC) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP).

"We have a chance to transform the storage industry in the way that Red Hat transformed the server industry," said Jack O'Brien, Gluster's senior director of marketing.

The Gluster Storage Platform doesn't use a metadata server to remove a common I/O bottleneck. The company says this approach provides "true parallel data access, ensures linear scalability and eliminates the risk of metadata server failure or corruption."

The clustered NAS system also providers a unified global namespace that the company says can scale to hundreds of petabytes in a single volume across multiple storage nodes. Data can be replicated or mirrored for high availability, and the software also performs error detection and correction within files while they are running and during recovery from hardware failures.

O'Brien said Gluster spreads storage I/O across nodes and performs automatic load balancing.

The company is positioning the offering as one for virtual server environments. The platform helps ensure continuous operation of virtual machines by allowing replicated virtual machines to keep operating in the event of hardware failure while recovery is performed in the background, without requiring a restart or blocking I/O to the live VM.

O'Brien said Gluster's single volume approach also means that users don't have to provision a LUN every time they create a new VM.

By clustering storage building blocks in parallel, Gluster claims the system eliminates I/O bottlenecks and hotspots that can hurt VM performance.

Pricing for the Gluster Storage Platform starts at $1,500 per storage node per year.

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