High-availability storage with GlusterFS on Ubuntu

This tutorial shows how to set up a high-availability storage with two storage servers (Ubuntu 9.10) that use GlusterFS.

Each storage server will be a mirror of the other storage server, and files will be replicated automatically across both storage servers. The client system (Ubuntu 9.10 as well) will be able to access the storage as if it was a local filesystem.

GlusterFS is a clustered file-system capable of scaling to several peta-bytes. It aggregates various storage bricks over Infiniband RDMA or TCP/IP interconnect into one large parallel network file system. Storage bricks can be made of any commodity hardware such as x86_64 servers with SATA-II RAID and Infiniband HBA.

About Glusterfs: Gluster Storage Platform is an open source clustered storage solution. The software is a powerful and flexible solution that simplifies the task of managing unstructured file data whether you have a few terabytes of storage or multiple petabytes. Gluster Storage Platform integrates the file system, an operating system layer, and a web-based management interface and installer.

NAS, SAN, DAS or iSCSI? Which one to choose?

Choosing the right Storage Technology for Your Organization

IT Professionals has a post with some background information on the most common storage technologies that are currently available: NAS, SAN, DAN and iSCSI. If you’re running a small/medium seized business this may help you decide which one is best for you:

Although the need for storage is evident, it is not always clear which solution is right for your organization. There are a variety of options available, the most prevalent being direct-attached storage (DAS), network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SAN). Choosing the right storage solution can be as personal and individual a decision as buying a home. There is no one right answer for everyone. Instead, it is important to focus on the specific needs and long-term business goals of your organization. Several key criteria to consider include:

  • Capacity – the amount and type of data (file level or block level) that needs to be stored and shared
  • Performance – I/O and throughput requirements
  • Scalability – Long-term data growth
  • Availability and Reliability – how mission-critical are your applications?
  • Data protection – Backup and recovery requirements
  • IT staff and resources available
  • Budget concerns

While one type of storage media is usually sufficient for smaller companies, large enterprises will often have a mixed storage environment, implementing different mediums for specific departments, workgroups and remote offices. In this paper, we will provide an overview of DAS, NAS and SAN to help you determine which solution, or combination of solutions, will best help you achieve your business goals.

Read the article explaining the differences and uses of:

  • DAS: Ideal for Local Data Sharing Requirements
  • NAS: File-Level Data Sharing Across the Enterprise
  • SANs: High Availability for Block-Level Data Transfer

Google to switch to EXT4

Google is apparently in the process of migrating their current EXT2 file-systems over to the more current EXT4 file-system (Ubuntu 9.10 uses it by default)

Phoronix reports

This was brought up in a JFS benchmarking discussion. Google’s Michael Rubin shared that they chose EXT4 after benchmarking it as well as XFS and JFS (possibly with our Phoronix Test Suite carrying out some of the testing, which they have used in other areas). Their results showed EXT4 and XFS performing close to one another, but with it being easier to upgrade from EXT2 to EXT4 rather than EXT2 to XFS, they went with the easier path. Btrfs is still too experimental for Google to even consider that an option at this point.

Also they have now hired the main developer behind EXT4: Ted Ts’o

Will Google become even faster with processing large quantities of data, and displaying them to the end-user?

IBM: Manage Data Like Cash

IBM today released a report tracking the effective use of business analytics at successful businesses. The report, “Breaking away with business analytics and optimization,” said that all businesses can differentiate their performance by analyzing data better and by delivering insight to decision makers at all levels of an organization.

Those with a successful strategy “achieve both top and bottom line impact — especially important in the current economy,” the report said.

“Business school graduates understand how to manage cash but don’t understand how to manage information,” added Ambuj Goyal, general manager for business analytics and process optimization at IBM (NYSE: IBM) in response to a question from InternetNews.com.

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Debian NAS project turns to SheevaPlug

Martin Michlmayr has published several guides about running Debian on the Linksys NSLU2 (“Slug”) router/NAS device, including one on migrating a Debian NSLU2 installation to Marvell’s SheevaPlug NAS design. With the latest guides on troubleshooting, booting, modifying, and cloning Debian on the NSLU2, the documentation is essentially complete, says Michlmayr.

The free guides cover a number of topics about running Debian Linux with the much-hacked, Linux-ready Cisco/Linksys NSLU2 router and network-attached storage (NAS) platform. Topics are said to include:

  • Troubleshooting: common problems and their solutions
  • Internals about the boot process of Debian on the NSLU2
  • Modifying a NSLU2 firmware image
  • Cloning a NSLU2
  • Migration guide: How to move your Debian installation from your NSLU2 to a SheevaPlug

I believe my NSLU2 web page now covers everything Debian users need to know about the NSLU2,”

reports former Debian project leader Michlmayr on his Cyrius.com site where he has posted documentation for Debian porting projects in partnership with the NSLU2-Linux project.

“While I’ll continue to maintain and update this information, I don’t expect to make major additions. Instead, I’ll focus my attention on the SheevaPlug (a great replacement for the NSLU2) and other devices, such as NAS devices from QNAP.

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