[Gluster-users] any configuration guidelines?

Harald Stürzebecher haralds at cs.tu-berlin.de
Thu Jul 30 08:58:07 UTC 2009


2009/7/28 Wei Dong <wdong.pku at gmail.com>:
> Hi All,
> We've been using GlusterFS 2.0.1 on our lab cluster to host a large number
> of small images for distributed processing with Hadoop and it has been
> working fine without human intervention for a couple of months.  Thanks for
> the wonderful project -- it's the only freely available cluster filesystem
> that fits our needs.
> What keeps bothering me is the extremely high flexibility of ClusterFS.
>  There's simply so many ways to achieve the same goal that I don't know
> which is the best.  So I'm writing to ask if there are some general
> guidelines of configuration to improve both data safety and performance.

AFAIK, there are some general guidelines in the GlusterFS documentation.
IMHO, sometimes it takes careful reading or some experimentation to find them.
Some examples have been discussed on the mailing list.

> Specifically, we have 66 machines (in two racks) with 4 x 1.5TB disks /
> machine.  We want to aggregate all the available disk space into a single
> shared directory with 3 replications..  Following are some of the potential
> configurations.
> *  Each node exports 4 directories, so there are 66x4 = 264 directories to
> the client.  We then first group those directories into threes with AFR,
> making 88 replicated directories, and then aggregate them with DHT.  When
> configuring AFR, we can either make the three replicates on different
> machines, or two on the same machine and the third on another machine.

I'd put the three replicates on three different machines - three
machines are less likely to fail than just two.

One setup on my list of setups to evaluate would be a DHT - AFR - DHT
- aggregate the four disks on each server to a single volume, export
only that volume
- on the clients, group those 66 volumes into threes with AFR and
aggregate with DHT
That would reduce the client config file from 264 imported volumes to
66, reducing complexity of the configuration and the number of open

> *  Each node first aggregates three disks (forget about the 4th for
> simplicity) and exports a replicated directory.  The client side then
> aggregates the 66 single replicated directory into one.

That might mean that access to some of the data is lost if one node
fails - not what I'd accept from a replicated setup.

> * When grouping the aggregated directories on the client side, we can use
> some kind of hierarchy.  For example the 66 directories are first aggregated
> into groups of N each with DHT, and then the 66/N groups are again
> aggregated with DHT.

Doesn't that just make the setup more complicated?

> *  We don't do the grouping on the client side.  Rather, we use some
> intermediate server to first aggregate small groups of directories with DHT
> and export them as a single directory.

The network connection of the intermediate server might become a
bottleneck, limiting performance.
The intermediate server might become a single point of failure.

> * We can also put AFR after DHT
> ......
> To make things more complicated, the 66 machines are separated into two
> racks with only 4-gigabit inter-rack connection, so all the directories
> exported by the servers are not equal to a particular client.

A workaround might be to create two intermediate volumes that each
perform better when accessed from on one of the racks and use NUFA to
create the single volume.

Keeping replicated data local to one rack would improve performance,
but the failure of one complete rack (e.g. power line failure,
inter-rack networking) would block access to half of your data.

Getting a third rack and much faster inter-rack connection would
improve performance and protect better against failures - just place
the three copies of a file on different racks. ;-)

> I'm wondering if someone on the mailing list could provide me with some
> advice.

Plan, build, test ... repeat until satisfied :-)

Optional: share your solution, with benchmarks

IMHO, there won't be a single "best" solution.

Harald Stürzebecher

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