[Gluster-users] SAN vs. NAS Conundrum

Ellison, Bob bob.ellison at ccur.com
Mon Nov 11 15:49:08 UTC 2013

I'm very new to GlusterFS and would like to see if it may fit into a storage solution I'm working on.

I have a dual server system with 95TB of data (10 x 9.5TB GFS2 partitions; each partition being a 10+2 RAID6 under the covers) connected via Fibre Channel. So each server can see all the data and provide server failover (turn one server off, the other server picks up the load).  To complicate matters, there will be a need to expand this system to 190TB's in about a year (20 x 9.5TB).

A new customer requirement came in where I need to provide access to these partitions as an NFS NAS and the existing files in the 10 GFS2 partitions need to be presented as one very large 95TB file system. The client is unaware there is any server side directory hierarchy. All the client will do is read from the root of the 95GB partition and write new files to the root where the server must transparently write the file data to one of the 10 GFS2 partitions in some distributed fashion (e.g. round-robin).

GlusterFS provides the exact functionality I'm looking for - NAS + a union file system with a distributed write capability. However I get the idea that just laying GlusterFS on the existing system will probably not work. I'm mixing a SAN with a NAS and it seems that GlusterFS only can handle server level fault tolerance through data replication and that it cannot deal with the server level fault tolerance offered by the existing SAN. Data replication is not an option as the customer will not pay for twice the storage.

- Can GlusterFS even work with GFS2 partitions or must it be XFS / EXT4 / (et al)?

- Can GlusterFS be configured in to accommodate the existing SAN?

- Even if I reconfigure such that these are XFS partitions and configure 5 arrays on one server and 5 on the other and without replication, I believe a server failover would make the storage on the failed server inaccessible. Is this correct?

Thanks very much,

Bob Ellison

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