[Gluster-devel] Multiple NFS Servers (Gluster NFS in 3.x, unfsd, knfsd, etc.)

Shehjar Tikoo shehjart at gluster.com
Thu Jan 7 12:25:44 UTC 2010

Gordan Bobic wrote:
> Shehjar Tikoo wrote:
>> Gordan Bobic wrote:
>>> Martin Fick wrote:
>>>> --- On Wed, 1/6/10, Gordan Bobic <gordan at bobich.net> wrote:
>>>>>> With native NFS there'll be no need to first mount a
>>>>> glusterFS
>>>>>> FUSE based volume and then export it as NFS. The way
>>>>> it has been developed is that
>>>>>> any glusterfs volume in the volfile can be exported
>>>>> using NFS by adding
>>>>>> an NFS volume over it in the volfile. This is
>>>>> something that will become
>>>>>> clearer from the sample vol files when 3.0.1 comes
>>>>> out.
>>>>> It may be worth checking the performance of that solution
>>>>> vs the performance of the standalone unfsd unbound to
>>>>> portmap/mountd over mounted glfs volumes, as I discovered
>>>>> today that the performance feels very similar to native
>>>>> knfsd and server-side AFR, but without the fuse.ko
>>>>> complications of the former and the buggyness of the latter
>>>>> (e.g. see bug 186: 
>>>>> http://bugs.gluster.com/cgi-bin/bugzilla3/show_bug.cgi?id=186
>>>>> - that bug has been driving me nuts since before 2.0.0 was
>>>>> released)
>>>>> I'd hate to see this be another wasted effort like booster
>>>>> when there is a solution that already works.
>> booster was not a wasted effort at all. It has received less
>> attention over the last month or so because of the NFS xlator
>> taking all my time, but before that it provided us and those
>> who tested it for production systems, a short-term solution
>> that performed better than unfsd-over-FUSE. I verified that there
>> were clear performance benefits of using unfsd-booster.
> A solution so short term that I missed it entirely while still fighting 
> stability issues...
>>>> I don't think it would be wasted if it includes NLM since unfsd does 
>>>> not do locking!
>> It does not do decent security either. One of our goals is to
>> implement kerberos5 based authentication. We also want
>> to support NFS over RDMA and NFSACLs. For extending to these,
>> unfsd code is highly limiting.
> So why exactly use NFS instead of GlusterFS with server-side brick 
> assembly? What is the advantage? I cannot see one either in terms of 
> performance or functionality. This is what I would be using if I could 
> get that setup to work without bugginess (e.g. bug 186) and crashing 
> (see other emails on this thread, will try to re-create and provide 
> backtraces).

If using GlusterFS fits your setup, you should continue to,
but there are cases where users are not *willing* to or *can* not use
GlusterFS. See later for why.

>>> Arguably it just replicated the functionality of server side volume 
>>> assembly and exporting just the assembled volume.
>> Replication of existing functionality is not such a bad
>> thing when you consider the extended functionality and performance
>> goals we are aiming for with native NFS. We figured the benefits were
>> worth the cost.
> What are the performance and functionality benefits over using GlusterFS 
> protocol as I described above (e.g. in my case server-side AFR, with 
> just the AFR-ed volume exported to the client)?

Thats not the relevant question here, IMO. Most people who will use
NFS rather than GlusterFS would be those who either do not have a
choice in the matter or do not want the overhead of choosing.

>>> Whether the end client connects via nfs or glfs is largely immaterial 
>>> for the sake of installing an additional package on the client. The 
>>> bug mentioned above 
>> No, it is not immaterial. The overhead of installing additional
>> packages is a real concern in some of the deployments we're
>> aiming for.
>> It is not immaterial wrt how clients connect either. NFS is a
>> well understood protocol. It gives us all the advantages of
>> supporting a standardized protocol.
> I thought you were talking about bolting kerberos authentication onto it 
> and running it over RDMA. That doesn't sound very standard.
But it is standardy. Both, kerberos based authentication and NFS over

> I'm not criticizing the idea per se, I'm just trying to figure out why 
> it is actually useful, and I've not been able to work that out yet from 
> what has been said.

The answer to that lies in another question, "why would anyone use
a standardized NFS over GlusterFS?"

Here are three points from pnfs.com on why:
1. Ensures Interoperability among vendor solutions
2. Allows Choice of best-of-breed products
3. Eliminates Risks of deploying proprietary technology

I'll add a fourth one:
Familiarity of the protocol, is very important, especially
in the storage world, where conservatism is preferred over
fancy technology. NFS has been tried and tested over 2 decades.


> Gordan
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