[Gluster-users] Gluster-users Digest, Vol 20, Issue 22
larry.bates at vitalesafe.com
Thu Dec 17 16:17:30 UTC 2009
I think the real question you need to ask has to do with why we are
using GlusterFS at all and what happens when something fails. Normally
GlusterFS is used to provide scalability, redundancy/recovery, and
performance. For many applications performance will be the least of the
worries so we concentrate on scalability and redundancy/recovery.
Scalability can be achieved no matter which way you configure your
servers. Using distribute translator (DHT) you can unify all the
servers into a single virtual storage space. The problem comes when you
look at what happens when you have a machine/drive failures and need the
redundancy/recovery capabilities of GlusterFS. By putting 36Tb of
storage on a single server and exposing it as a single volume (using
either hardware or software RAID), you will have to replicate that to a
replacement server after a failure. Replicating 36Tb will take a lot of
time and CPU cycles. If you keep things simple (JBOD) and use AFR to
replicate drives between servers and use DHT to unify everything
together, now you only have to move 1.5Tb/2Tb when a drive fails. You
will also note that you get to use 100% of your disk storage this way
instead of wasting 1 drive per array with RAID5 or two drives with
RAID6. Normally with RAID5/6 it is also imperative that you have a hot
spare per array, which means you waste an additional driver per array.
To make RAID5/6 work with no single point of failure you have to do
something like RAID50/60 across two controllers which gets expensive and
much more difficult to manage and to grow. Implementing GlusterFS using
more modest hardware makes all those "issues" go away. Just use
GlusterFS to provide the RAID-like capabilities (via AFR and DHT).
Personally I doubt that I would set up my storage the way you describe.
I probably would (and have) set it up with more smaller servers.
Something like three times as many 2U servers with 8x2Tb drives each (or
even 6 times as many 1U servers with 4x2Tb drives each) and forget the
expensive RAID SATA controllers, they aren't necessary and are just a
single point of failure that you can eliminate. In addition you will
enjoy significant performance improvements because you have:
1) Many parallel paths to storage (36x1U or 18x2U vs 6x5U servers).
Gigabit Ethernet is fast, but still will limit bandwidth to a single
2) Write performance on RAID5/6 is never going to be as fast as JBOD.
3) You should have much more memory caching available (36x8Gb = 256Gb
memory or 18x8Gb memory = 128Gb vs maybe 6x16Gb = 96Gb)
4) Management of the storage is done in one place..GlusterFS. No messy
RAID controller setups to document/remember.
5) You can expand in the future in a much more granular and controlled
fashion. Add 2 machines (1 for replication) and you get 8Tb (using 2Tb
drives) of storage. When you want to replace a machine, just set up new
one, fail the old one, and let GlusterFS build the new one for you (AFR
will do the heavy lifting). CPUs will get faster, hard drives will get
faster and bigger in the future, so make it easy to upgrade. A small
number of BIG machines makes it a lot harder to do upgrades as new
hardware becomes available.
6) Machine failures (motherboard, power supply, etc.) will effect much
less of your storage network. Having a spare 1U machine around as a hot
spare doesn't cost much (maybe $1200). Having a spare 5U monster around
does (probably close to $6000).
IMHO 36 x 1U or 18 x 2U servers shouldn't cost any more (and maybe less)
than the big boxes you are looking to buy. They are commodity items.
If you go the 1U route you don't need anything but a machine, with
memory and 4 hard drives (all server motherboards come with at least 4
SATA ports). By using 2Tb drives, I think you would find that the cost
would be actually less. By NOT using hardware RAID you can also NOT use
RAID-class hard drives which cost about $100 each more than non-RAID
hard drives. Just that change alone could save you 6 x 24 = 144 x $100
= $14,400! JBOD just doesn't need RAID-class hard drives because you
don't need the sophisticated firmware that the RAID-class hard drives
provide. You still will want quality hard drives, but failures will
have such a low impact that it is much less of a problem.
By using more smaller machines you also eliminate the need for redundant
power supplies (which would be a requirement in your large boxes because
it would be a single point of failure on a large percentage of your
Hope the information helps.
> Message: 6
> Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 00:18:54 -0600
> From: phil cryer <phil at cryer.us>
> Subject: [Gluster-users] Recommended GlusterFS configuration for 6
> node cluster
> To: "gluster-users at gluster.org" <gluster-users at gluster.org>
> <3a3bc55a0912162218i4e3f326cr9956dd37132bfc19 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> We're setting up 6 servers, each with 24 x 1.5TB drives, the systems
> will run Debian testing and Gluster 3.x. The SATA RAID card offers
> RAID5 and RAID6, we're wondering what the optimum setup would be for
> this configuration. Do we RAID5 the disks, and have GlusterFS use
> them that way, or do we keep them all 'raw' and have GlusterFS handle
> the replication (though not 2x as we would have with the RAID
> options)? Obviously a lot of ways to do this, just wondering what
> GlusterFS devs and other experienced users would recommend.
More information about the Gluster-users