[Gluster-devel] [Gluster-users] OS X porting merged

Dan Mons dmons at cuttingedge.com.au
Mon Apr 28 09:44:51 UTC 2014

On 28 April 2014 16:11, Andrew Hatfield
<andrew.hatfield at cynosureservices.com> wrote:
> Hey Dan,
> Did you ever test SMB with the streams xattr vfs object?

Yes. :)

> Did it work?  Was performance ok?

It functions, but forces us to compromise.  It was the only way to get
GlusterFS working via SMB on MacOSX.

For anyone who hasn't discovered this: MacOSX's Finder looks for a
"._filename" resource fork file for every "filename" data file it
finds.  GlusterFS (and any clustered file system, to be fair) is quite
poor at negative lookups (i.e.: when it can't find a file on a
particular brick, it has to run around asking every brick in the
cluster if they have the file), and so a folder with ~1000 files in it
(quite common for a VFX studio, across dozens of shots inside dozens
of projects) can take several minutes to populate when trying to view
it in OSX's Finder.

streams xattr means that the resource fork information can be held in
the xattr component of the underlying file system (for us that's XFS
on our CentOS6 bricks), and completely removes the need for the
negative lookup, as that resource fork data lives with the file.  (I
for one find the whole resource fork concept totally outdated and
silly, but Apple seem keen to keep it around).


1) SMB is slower than either NFS or FUSE+GlusterFS.  vfs_glusterfs
helps, but still doesn't compete in real world usage.

2) MacOSX does not allow system-wide mounting of SMB shares, ala NFS3.
 Our studio relies heavily on this as machines need network file
systems mounted up so that multiple users can hit them at once.  We
run a large number of machines in what's called a "render farm" which
are batch-processing multiple jobs each in parallel. Our standard spec
render node currently is a dual Xeon (8 cores per proc, 2 procs, per
node, with HT = 32 threads / logical CPUs) and 128GB RAM.  These
sometimes do one very large job, and sometimes many smaller jobs in
parallel.  Jobs run as the UID of the person who submitted them, so
NFS3 style network mounting is mandatory for this to work.  There is
no such thing as "one user on one machine" in our world.

MacOSX can't do this via SMB.  In 10.8 and 10.9, whichever user
initiates the SMB connection "owns" the mount (regardless of the
credentials they use at mount time), and any other UID is locked out
of that share.


1) At least it works at all, unlike NFS which Apple broke in Finder
back in 10.5 and have refused to even acknowledge let alone fix.
Honestly, how does an OS based on UNIX not do NFS?  10.9 now
represents 5 complete production versions of their OS in a row with
broken NFS.  Ludicrous.

2) AFP has the same UID-clobbering mount issues as SMB, but SMB is
faster than AFP (thanks to streams xattr) and we can cluster SMB more
Long story short, SMB is a stop-gap.  Ideally either Apple fix NFS
(I'm not holding my breath, as it's clear Apple's priority is selling
iPhones and media, and not actually offering a usable operating
system), or the Gluster community add the ever moving target of MacOSX
support to their FUSE+GlusterFS client, which is now moving along
nicely as per this thread.

So my eternal thanks to everyone contributing to this OSX porting
effort (and of course everyone who's ever contributed a line of code
to GlusterFS in general).  You are all wonderful human beings.  :)


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