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

Shehjar Tikoo shehjart at gluster.com
Thu Jan 7 13:11:04 UTC 2010

Gordan Bobic wrote:
> Shehjar Tikoo wrote:
>> 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
> Argument 3 is largely shot down by the fact that "proprietary 
> technology" is still deployed on the server side. In my experience with 
> large, change-resistant entities the difficulty is in getting something 
> approved for use in the first place. Once you get it approved for the 
> back end, the front end isn't nearly as difficult.
> And besides, the risk is all down to the implementation and the maturity 
> thereof, not the protocol itself. Deploying a new, immature NFS server 
> is no more risky than deploying a different, equally immature protocol 
> stack.
>> 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.
> But not backed by a proprietary file system that has only been around 
> for a short time. These arguments are not in the full context. You are, 
> in effect, saying that the NFS client itself won't have to be debugged, 
> when you are in fact adding an additional layer of complexity to debug 
> where it is most counter-productive. There is still the glusterfs client 
> to debug underneath on the server side, only it is now glazed over by 
> the NFS export translator. The conservatism you mention is there for one 
> reason alone - stability; and I don't see how it can possibly be argued 
> that adding another layer of complexity would somehow aid stability.
> I accept that there is no counter-argument against "paying customers 
> absolutely, explicitly want this feature" - I'm merely questioning the 
> purely technical aspect of the approach.

Those are all good points, and ones which every deployment must
debate for itself. On this list, we could go on arguing such pros and
cons, but in addition to the over-riding point you mentioned about
paying customers, is that from experience we know that one size does
not fit all and consequently we cannot afford to provide a
GlusterFS-only interface.


> Gordan
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