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Red Hat announces GFS

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the everyone-likes-a-new-fs dept.

Red Hat Software 240

PSUdaemon writes "Over at Kernel Trap they have an announcment that Red Hat has released GFS under the GPL and offer it through RHN. This could potentially be a very substantial offering from Red Hat."

cancel ×

240 comments

im still pissed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542152)

abut the F911 story...Slashdot has reached a new low

*chomp* (1)

theguywhosaid (751709) | about 10 years ago | (#9542225)

im pretty sure its "stuff that matters".

darn right-wing hippies

Re:*chomp* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542257)

thank you for making my point

Re:*chomp* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542326)

I thought hippies were liberals?

Re:im still pissed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542473)

Aaaaaaaaaaawwww... is your little conservative heart broken? Are you crying now?

Compatibility? (3, Interesting)

Grant29 (701796) | about 10 years ago | (#9542175)

Will it run on distros other than Redhat? According to the linked page, it looks like it only for redhat enterprise platforms.

--
11 Gmail invitations availiable [retailretreat.com]

Re:Compatibility? (4, Informative)

Pros_n_Cons (535669) | about 10 years ago | (#9542252)

"Will it run on distros other than Redhat?"

Of course it will, It's GPL and looking for inclusing into the kernel. Just like everything else from Red Hat. If you expect them to optimize it for SuSe, Mandrake, Gentoo you're mistaken but sometimes they supply Debian packages for things they write. If it doesn't get accepted upstream for whatever reason It's up to vendors to supply the packages, not the writer of the software.

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542402)

But in practice, the answer is yes. Will probably need to compile and tweak for your own target, but its a network filesystem so I see no inherent barriers.

I don't think so (3, Interesting)

Donny Smith (567043) | about 10 years ago | (#9543339)

I don't think so.

Red Hat's HA clustering software is also GPL but it doesn't run on other distros (and is not supported by Red Hat on other distros).

The code itself is open source, that is true, but "Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription [is] required" (http://www.redhat.com/software/rha/gfs/)

Re:Compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542762)

SRPM's are availible [redhat.com] , feel free to compile it on your system.

executive summary? (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | about 10 years ago | (#9542181)

Would it be too much to ask that the writeup blurb include a ten-word summary of what makes GFS any different from any other Linux-ready filesystem? Many sites get slashdotted, making most links unusable for 12 hours or more.

Re:executive summary? (4, Insightful)

Night Goat (18437) | about 10 years ago | (#9542223)

I'd be happy with just the mention that it IS a file system. I had no idea what GFS was until I read your post.

Re:executive summary? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542637)

Yes, expecting us to follow one of those new-fangled hyperlinks to get the information is a bit much. I don't hold with them myself. I blame them for all the bad weather we've been getting.

Re:executive summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542226)

..or at least writing that GFS even is a file system!

Re:executive summary? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542242)

From http://sources.redhat.com/cluster/gfs/

GFS (Global File System) is a cluster file system. It allows a cluster of computers to simultaneously use a block device that is shared between them (with FC, iSCSI, NBD, etc...). GFS reads and writes to the block device like a local filesystem, but also uses a lock module to allow the computers coordinate their I/O so filesystem consistency is maintained. One of the nifty features of GFS is perfect consistency -- changes made to the filesystem on one machine show up immediately on all other machines in the cluster.

and

GFS has no single point of failure, is incrementally scalable from one to hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, and works with all standard Linux applications.

Dunno if any other linux "file systems" have all that. :p

Insightful? FUCKING MODS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542442)

Thi is INFORMATIVE, not insightful. I hope I catch you in metamod...

Re:executive summary? (1, Insightful)

elmegil (12001) | about 10 years ago | (#9542562)

I want to see the numbers that prove the "high performance". This is a hard problem, and many others have tried to solve it, with pretty mixed results. I'm very skeptical that a newcomer to the project has solved it, but I'm willing to be convinced. But marketing speak claiming high performance is not convincing.

Newcomer? (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | about 10 years ago | (#9542614)

They bought this technology when they bought Sistina. Sistina has been working on GFS for a long time.

Re:executive summary? (1)

Psiren (6145) | about 10 years ago | (#9542687)

I'm confused. If it's a shared disk setup, how can there not be a single point of failure? If your FC/iSCSI disk box goes down, where's your storage gone? Obviously I've missed something, so if anyone would care to explain it to me I'm all ears...

What I need is a simple mirroring system for two failover servers, without single point of failure. Nothing out there at the moment seems to be stable enough for this in production. It's very frustrating. DFS and FRS seem to work just fine under Windows, so why hasn't Linux got it?

Re:executive summary? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542896)

I'm confused. If it's a shared disk setup, how can there not be a single point of failure? If your FC/iSCSI disk box goes down, where's your storage gone? Obviously I've missed something, so if anyone would care to explain it to me I'm all ears...

Yes your architecture can be designed with a single point of failure. However, in practice you will want to connect this to a SAN. The SAN will be full of dually connected disks, have 2 main controllers, at least 2 power supplies, be connected to two switch banks via 2 HBA's, and each server will be connected to each switch. For added safety, direct connect another SAN to the first, and mirror all data between the SAN's.

But mainly, a good SAN is designed to be dually redundant from the ground up. Kind of like those (Fujitsu? Panasonic?) servers that have 2 standard mobo's in them and sync all data between cpu's, so if one dies the whole system is still alive.



What I need is a simple mirroring system for two failover servers, without single point of failure.

What kind of servers? The best method will depend on the type of server.



It's very frustrating. DFS and FRS seem to work just fine under Windows, so why hasn't Linux got it?

Because you haven't paid for it yet, be it in cash or time.

Re:executive summary? (2, Informative)

Evo (37507) | about 10 years ago | (#9542919)

It is presumably a shared _logical_ disk. Simply have failover on your FC node and it's not really a problem.

For example, the boxes I used to work with were dual host adapter boxes with the RAID5 containers in RAID1 setup. Each box+adapter has two NICs, going to different switches. Each box has a three PSUs, going to different UPSs.

Using a simple setup like this, there simply is no single point of failure. Apart from the room they are in, obviously.

Cheap? No. Avoiding single points of failure completely is expensive. And mostly impossible. It's one of those risk/cost curves.

Immediate? (1)

xyote (598794) | about 10 years ago | (#9542849)

Cool. Faster than light communication. How are they doing this? Quantum entaglement?

Re:executive summary? (1, Troll)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | about 10 years ago | (#9543280)

"GFS (Global File System) is a cluster file system.. is incrementally scalable from one to hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, and works with all standard Linux applications."

So is this useful for clusters (as the name implies), or will the $1000 per computer cost of RHEL prevent it from being used in any actual clusters?

Re:executive summary? (1)

torpor (458) | about 10 years ago | (#9542283)

I think its lame, personally, and I agree with you. But I think there actually is a 'reasoning' behind this /. editorial policy of not describing/defining the terms and issues in each article submission.

This request to define things in the article text is asked time, and time, and time again.

In my opinion, the reason /. editors don't rigorously require this of their submissions, seems to me (and I've been here since Chips and Dips...) to be because they think, if they confuse you with an article you don't know anything about, you'll be "interested enough" to check out the article to try and figure it out. Some sort of 'geek procedure' - i.e. "I have no clue what this popular forum is discussing, I'll go read the article before I have an opinion on it ..."

Its lame. It bugs me too. But its the /. editorial order that allows this to persist.

Re:executive summary? (5, Informative)

Pros_n_Cons (535669) | about 10 years ago | (#9542307)

Yes, here [com.com] is a news.com article on it.

The GFS software lets files be stored in a single file system shared by numerous servers. The information can reside on servers themselves or on a storage area network.

The software is used to speed data access and replicate information so it's still available even if individual machines fail. It's useful for the two conventional types of clusters: groups of machines linked so one can take over for another in case of a problem, and groups linked as part of a sprawling supercomputer.

Red Hat GFS is tuned to work with Oracle's 9i RAC, database software that can spread across multiple clustered machines, and work with Red Hat's cluster software for ensuring services remain available despite computer problems.

Re:executive summary? (1)

justins (80659) | about 10 years ago | (#9542848)

Red Hat GFS is tuned to work with Oracle's 9i RAC, database software that can spread across multiple clustered machines, and work with Red Hat's cluster software for ensuring services remain available despite computer problems.

Which makes it a direct competitor to Oracle's own GPLed Linux clustered filesystem, OCFS. Interesting.

It also helps virtualisation (3, Interesting)

Alan Cox (27532) | about 10 years ago | (#9542396)

I think the other people have covered the basics pretty well - plug lots of computers into one fibrechannel or possibly firewire disk or disk array.

The second really interesting use is with virtualisation - imagine if you want all your S/390 virtual machines to share the same bsse file systems for efficiency (given the price IBM charge for mainframe disks ;)) or the same with uml, Zen, etc

Re:executive summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542813)

In fact, wouldn't it be too hard to include a small blurb what the fuck it actually is? I never heard of GFS before, thought they maybe misspelled GPS and I couldn't see whether it is "a potential valuabel offer" or not, because I don't even know what they are offering... grrr

Free for $2,200? (0, Troll)

RKBA (622932) | about 10 years ago | (#9542189)

Then why does the GFS link [redhat.com] say that it costs $2,200?

Re:Free for $2,200? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542210)

Here you go..
http://sources.redhat.com/cluster/

and for gfs sources go here..
http://sources.redhat.com/cluster/gfs/

Re:Free for $2,200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542230)

Just because it's free, doesn't mean it's free beer.

Re:Free for $2,200? (3, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about 10 years ago | (#9542235)

Just because its opensource doesn't mean you can download it for free. Under the GPL suppliers are only required to make the source code available to people who buy/legally obtain the product. It's perfectly possible that you still have to pay to get the binary, although of course once you have it you can compile your own version from the code and sell it or give it away.

Still needs to be said - Opensource means free as in speech

Re:Free for $2,200? (5, Informative)

Rik van Riel (4968) | about 10 years ago | (#9542264)

Just because its opensource doesn't mean you can download it for free.


Though in this case, you can download GFS and all the related software for free. Just go to the
cluster [redhat.com] project page.

Re:Free for $2,200? (2, Informative)

cpmte (537490) | about 10 years ago | (#9542694)

Or you can download the SRPM's here [redhat.com]

Re:Free for $2,200? (1)

Mathetes (132911) | about 10 years ago | (#9542430)

You aren't paying $2,200 for Red Hat support. You can download the source from the project webpage, or any mirror of the RHEL source RPMs.

Re:Free for $2,200? (1)

Mathetes (132911) | about 10 years ago | (#9543006)

Sorry..meant to say your ARE paying $2200 for Red Hat support.

Re:Free for $2,200? (1)

robogop (160428) | about 10 years ago | (#9542539)

And unless you pay the $2200 don't even think about getting Redhat to provide support for it (a big consideration in the corporate environments it was designed for.)

Re:Free for $2,200? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 years ago | (#9542884)

Under the GPL suppliers are only required to make the source code available to people who buy/legally obtain the product.

That is incorrect, the source must be available to third parties as well


2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

* a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

* b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

Re:Free for $2,200? (2, Informative)

TTK Ciar (698795) | about 10 years ago | (#9543288)

Re-read what you just posted.

It says the *license* under which you distribute it must make it available to third parties. The GPL does not require you to *distribute* the source code to anyone except those who receive the product in executable form. But because it is licensed to third parties, anyone in possession of the source code *may* distribute it to third parties.

-- TTK

Re:Free for $2,200? (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 10 years ago | (#9542565)

Because RedHat is a business, and their business is to extract large sums of money from PHBs for "enterprise-quality" software and support. They also happen to give everything away most of what they develop as GPLed source code, but if they stuck a big logo there that said "FREE DOWNLOAD!" and put somewhere in the corner "or pay $2200 for the supported version", the PHB would likely point to his system administrator and send him forth to the download site instead of busting out the corporate purchasing card.

The Microsoft Effect (3, Informative)

charnov (183495) | about 10 years ago | (#9543499)

You can thank the Microsoft marketing engine for this mentality. I have been involved a few projects where managers have either understaffed IT believing the hype that MS products really don't need staff after setup (while MS products are easier/quicker to setup, they require, in general, more hands on time in day to day ops and as you add more third party products, things can mysteriously break. If you go MS, it is even more important to get someone with deep AND wide knowledge in administration) or have suggested going with OpenSource products expecting the same level of ease of use.

While it is amusing to see a MCSE struggling to configure Postgres or MaxDB (which can be a little tricky) and complaining about the lack of a GUI (I didn't have the heart to find and install the various GUIs for them...heh), it does not sit well with the PHB to see labor costs skyrocket with no discernable work being done (from their perspective).

The moral of this rant is: even though it is free software, that does not automatically mean that you should not have to pay for the expertise to setup, run, and maintane it. RedHat (and the other commercial distros) have excellent service and tend to service smaller companies at the same level MS only does for much larger companies. PHBs should be looking for gain in long term licensing costs and flexibility. No lock-in, no artificially driven need to upgrade, no technological sea change forced upon you.

Re:Free for $2,200? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542629)

Oh, but they said it was free, they didn't say it was free.

Don't you know the difference between "free" and "free"?

If so, let me explain:

1) Internet Explorer is free, for instance, as you don't pay for it;

2) Internet Explorer is not free because you cannot have its source to modify and make it more secure;

3) Professional distros like Red Hat and Suse are not free because you have to pay to have it;

4) These same professional distros are free because you can compile the source yourself whenever you can.

Got it? If you don't understand this, you'll might believe next time someone says "Linux is not free". Don't be fooled! It is free!

Now, the relevant quote is:

"We're looking for people help us work on this project so we can eventually get it included into the Linux kernel. Comments, suggestions, patches, and testers are more than welcome."

See the part that mentions "get it included into the Linux kernel"? It means it will be free.

Now, these superb guys at RH really should charge for a professional product with support. Soon, very soon, they might discover they must do what Sun does: have a personal low cost (maybe gratis) version, so that people can tweak it, use at home, report bugs etc.

I, for one, thank them for all the fish and get the message that everyone must contribute, no matter how little, and not just wait for them to make things for us.

And don't use English to discuss such things. Or, better yet, change English so that it becomes fit for use. I suggest stop using free to mean gratis. Just use gratis, like in "There's no gratis lunch".

Newbie (2, Interesting)

Wardini (608107) | about 10 years ago | (#9542201)

What does GFS exactly do for you? Allow you to have your hard drive in another computer?

Re:Newbie (1)

JeffTL (667728) | about 10 years ago | (#9542238)

It looks to be a storage-area-network program, like Apple Xsan (and I think there's one called FibreShare (FiberShare?) or something)

yes, that's actually the basic idea (3, Informative)

nounderscores (246517) | about 10 years ago | (#9542280)

Say you want to create a webserver cluster that can host some big files and dynamic content and survive a slashdotting. No one machine can survive all of us hitting it for video and dynamic content at once, so you build your cluster so that the video is distribtued over several machines, the webservers are distributed over some other machines, and the layers in between the that decide which request goes to which physical hard drive holding a copy of the video are also made redundant.

Now if, after running for some time, one of the machines gets coffee spilled on it and dies, GFS will automatically route around it. The result is that a slashdotter will not be aware of the failure, and still get the video.

Meanwhile you can fix the problem and bring the downed machine back on-line again.

Re:Newbie (3, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 10 years ago | (#9542312)

It allows you to realy use SAN's it's a filesystem that allows multiple readers and writers on one real disk. No other standard linux FS does this but there are add on ones that have similar functionality and work better or worse on different hardware/OS's. Realy what it means is you can have say 10 servers all serving up the same content by all looking at the same set of disks. This is extreamly usefull in tightly packed clusters that need to share large data sets (things that just dont fit all into ram) or HA/HP clusters to serve up ritch media like streaming video (Most web data is to trivial to replicate to make this worth it there but when your talking about TB's of streaming content it's non trivial to use a lot of redundant disk/replicate)

Really? (5, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 10 years ago | (#9542274)

GFS on the GPL? From RHN? WTF?

Normally I'd ask what's the BFD? but most people would just LOL. Then other people would probably want to know if it comes on DVD or FTP, but the FAQ will explain it JIT. Now what would be really cool would be a PDA that would run it with an RGB display, but it might need extra RAM.

HTH.

And there is more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542471)

It's included in RHEL.

Re:And there is more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542577)

That's 4 letters.

GFS is cool! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542277)

GFS allows multiple redundant storage computers to serve a whole lot of other servers for data availability purposes. It isn't just another FS like EXT* or JFS or .... It's a transparent networkable filesystem with failover and all of the other goodies needed to implement a hardcore enterprise level solution for serving needs like a million hits a minute sites, or filesharing with 50,000 users...

Excellent News (0, Redundant)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | about 10 years ago | (#9542298)

This is excellent news. For those who want to download the source: ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/3 /en/RHGFS/i386/SRPMS/ -Ass

GFS defined... (5, Informative)

jarich (733129) | about 10 years ago | (#9542308)

From the website....

Red Hat Global File System (GFS) is an open source, POSIX-compliant cluster file system and volume manager that executes on Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers attached to a storage area network (SAN). It works on all major server and storage platforms supported by Red Hat. The leading (and first) cluster file system for Linux, Red Hat GFS has the most complete feature set, widest industry adoption, broadest application support, and best price/performance of any Linux cluster file system today.

Red Hat GFS allows Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers to simultaneously read and write to a single shared file system on the SAN, achieving high performance and reducing the complexity and overhead of managing redundant data copies. Red Hat GFS has no single point of failure, is incrementally scalable from one to hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, and works with all standard Linux applications.

Red Hat GFS is tightly integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and distributed through Red Hat Network. This simplifies software installation, updates, and management. Applications such as Oracle 9i RAC, and workloads in cluster computing, file, web, and email serving can become easier to manage and achieve higher throughput and availability with Red Hat GFS.

Highlights

Performance

Red Hat GFS helps Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers achieve high IO throughput for demanding applications in database, file, and compute serving. Performance can be incrementally scaled for hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers using Red Hat GFS and storage area networks constructed with iSCSI or Fibre Channel.

Availability

Red Hat GFS has no single-point-of-failure: any server, network, or storage component can be made redundant to allow continued operations despite failures. In addition, Red Hat GFS has features that allow reconfigurations such as file system and volume resizing to be made while the system remains on-line to increase system availability. Red Hat Cluster Suite can be used with GFS to move applications in the event of server failure or for routine server maintenance.

Ease of Management

Red Hat GFS allows fast, scalable, high througput access to a single shared file system, reducing management complexity by removing the need for data copying and maintaining multiple versions of data to insure fast access. Integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (AS, ES, and WS) and Cluster Suite, delivered via Red Hat Network, and supported by Red Hat's award winning support team, Red Hat GFS is the world's leading cluster file system for Linux.

Advanced features

Scalable to hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. Integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and delivered via Red Hat Network, comprehensive service offerings, up to 24x7 with one-hour response. Supports Intel X86, Intel Itanium2, AMD AMD64, and Intel EM64T architectures. Works with Red Hat Cluster Suite to provide high availability for mission-critical applications. Quota system for cluster-wide storage capacity management. Direct IO support allows databases to achieve high performance without traditional file system overheads. Dynamic multi-pathing to route around switch or HBA failures in the storage area network. Dynamic capacity growth while the file system remains on-line and available. Can serve as a scalable alternative to NFS. Product Information Supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, ES, and WS. Red Hat Cluster Suite support available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. Support for a wide variety of Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage area network products from leading switch, HBA, and storage array vendors. Mature, industry-leading, field-proven, open source cluster file system.

Why GFS is great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542337)

GFS allows you to share a single filesystem among a cluster of machines through fiber channel. It's like NFS, but with real local filesystem semantics (locking that WORKS, for instance) and much more reliable.

Way to go, Red Hat. This is beautiful. GFS was previously sold by Sistina - they bought the company and released it.

opendlm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542357)

I read that the redhat distro has no single point of failure. do they have a stable release that uses opendlm?

Re:opendlm? (1)

cpmte (537490) | about 10 years ago | (#9542712)

According to their site, it has the equivalent functionality builtin.

`GFS' (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542432)

I was reading only the other day about the Google File System. So there are now two acronymns which are both GFS which both refer to a distributed file system. That's not going to get confusing. Nope, not at all.

Good Distributed Filesystems? (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#9542433)

Are there any distributed filesystems that don't have serious issues?

I mean, NFS has issues with security (relying on numeric user id's sent by the client is a nightmare). Locking is problematic. Different versions have severe compatibility issues.

I forget the issues with AFS, but it's successor, Coda, seems not very mature, although it is one of the more promising filesystems out there. InterMezzo is a more complete and robust implementation of the Coda featureset, but is Linux-only.

SFS looks very promising (simple, but effective), but requires NFSv3 clients and servers to interact with the kernel.

None of these filesystems allows regular users to access remote filesystems (superuser privileges are required for mounting) like with FTP.

What's so hard about getting this stuff right? And can we please have kernels that support userspace filesystem drivers (or, better, any drivers)? (Yes, I know about LUFS and FUSE).

Ok, rant over. Thoughtful comments, corrections and pointers appreciated.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (1)

dmaxwell (43234) | about 10 years ago | (#9542502)

This [sourceforge.net] is pretty nifty. It's more of an admin tool than a general use tool though. It only requires some scripts running on the server side. The client side needs a kernel module.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#9542550)

See, that's just what I mean.

We already have SSH, and it can be used for accessing remote files (e.g. through the sftp command). All there is to making it a remote filesystem is to write a kernel module. Locking works. Authentication works. With a little extra effort, a generic system can be set up to allow for disconnected operation over any filesystem.

Of course, using SSH is heavy on resources, so it would still be better to have the encryption optional.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (1)

gatzke (2977) | about 10 years ago | (#9542631)


Yeah, something like smbfs for mounting samba shares. A lot of times, you don't need a lot of speed and you just want to allow mounting without adding a new service. Something running off ssh would be great.

fishio on konqueror does this, allowing you to browse a remode ssh account like it was a local folder, but I don't think you could mount it as a normal home directory or fs.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (1)

dmaxwell (43234) | about 10 years ago | (#9542749)

Of course, using SSH is heavy on resources, so it would still be better to have the encryption optional.

No problem! From the FAQ:

Is it possible to use another command instead of ssh?

Yes. See --cmd shfsmount option.


You can tell ssh to not use encryption or use some other command entirely as the transport.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 10 years ago | (#9543357)

Yes...it's right there. I didn't read carefully at first - it's been a long day for me.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (4, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | about 10 years ago | (#9542620)

Coda is NOT the sccessor to AFS, DFS (of Transarc fame) was, and it was really really good. Probably the best distributed filesystem out there. Unfortunatly setting up DCE (the environment that DFS ran in) was complicated and only really large institutions used it. Since it was not profitable IBM (the last major vendor supporting it) has discontinued it. And hampered the Open Group's attempts to open source it I might add. :(

Finkployd

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (2, Interesting)

cantabrigian (689418) | about 10 years ago | (#9542625)

Many people believe that the salient problem with AFS is that it violates unix semantics. AFS has a program called "fs" that facilitates dealing with metadata like permissions, etc. For example, chmod doesn't do anything in the AFS environment; you need "fs sa" instead.

On the other hand, if GFS doesn't do something intelligent about security, then we're left with the same fundamental problem that NFS has. Namely, we need to presume that it operates within a local environment in which all users on the inside are trusted. (Insert end-to-end argument here.)

Obviously the idea of "secure network" is a myth, and when I first glanced at the headline on Slashdot, I was hoping that GFS would be a step in the right direction toward a secure filesystem that actually stands a chance of being implemented in servers like the ones produced by NetApp. I guess I am disappointed.

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9543130)

Lustre [lustre.org] , I don't know anything about it except it exists. SMB [samba.org] , yes it's the spawn of satan, but if you need to share with windows machines there's really no choice.

Additionally, Re: NFS (1)

TTK Ciar (698795) | about 10 years ago | (#9543334)

NFS also has some scalability problems. It is not a suitable mechanism for several hundred hosts to make their filesystems simultaneously available to each other. (Though, admittedly, I haven't seen anything that indicates that GFS does this either.)

-- TTK

Re:Good Distributed Filesystems? (4, Interesting)

Salamander (33735) | about 10 years ago | (#9543423)

None of these filesystems allows regular users to access remote filesystems (superuser privileges are required for mounting) like with FTP

No, and they don't cook your dinner for you either, but if that's what you're expecting then you're completely missing the point of what a cluster filesystem is for. Granted, the name "Global File System" is a misnomer, but it has been a misnomer for several years now and if you have anything more than a dilettante's interest in this you should know what GFS really does.

What's so hard about getting this stuff right?

Yeah, everything's easy when you're not the one doing it. Tell me what you do, and I'll tell you how wimpy that is. If you think that maintaining consistency across multiple machines in a cluster without compromising performance is easy, you're a fool. If you think that high availability of any form is easy, then you're an idiot. If you think putting those two together doesn't lead to an exponential increase in complexity and hence difficulty, you're a moron.

If you want a filesystem stub (not really a complete filesystem) that lets you access files stored half-way around the world over a standard protocol, look into one of the many efforts based on WebDAV. If you want a true global filesystem, look into OceanStore so you can appreciate some of the problems that are involved. If you want to be able to change the filesystem namespace without being root, look into Plan 9. Do your own googling. None of those are what GFS is about.

an idea whose time has come ... and gone (3, Interesting)

dekeji (784080) | about 10 years ago | (#9542441)

GFS has a number of useful applications. But I think the times where you could design your enterprise around the idea of a globally consistent file storage system are over: enterprises are getting more flexible, more decentralized, and people would prefer not to have to deal with IT staff over issues such as file space and permissions. And they can avoid it--since many of them make the purchasing decisions.

Why do you say it's time has already gone? (1)

hargettp (74445) | about 10 years ago | (#9542611)

Google relies on their own custom filesystem that provides similar features: massively distributed and scalable, supporting clusters 3 orders of magnitude higher (100,000 nodes) than Red Hat GFS. Further, many life sciences companies have very large computing problems requiring large amounts of storage and hundreds of nodes to solve--hence, GFS (as could XSan from Apple) can be useful in these classes of problems.

I think you are likely correct--typical IT shops in your average enterprise will not find this useful. Any solution that depends on heavy IT administration is falling out of favor in the marketplace. But is it clear that this solution does require heavy IT administration, for the amount of nodes actually managed in a single GFS cluster? In fact, this solution may *increase* the leverage of IT admins--allowing them to manage far more resources with the same staff. That's what Google is able to do.

So, you do raise an interesting point, but I don't know if there is evidence in the marketplace suggest you are 100% correct.

What about security? (4, Interesting)

ee96090 (56165) | about 10 years ago | (#9542444)

I don't see security in the least of features. Calling this a Global file system is a bit presumptuous, considering the lack of security prevents it from being used outside of a closed LAN segment.

Re:What about security? (1)

dotstar (89054) | about 10 years ago | (#9543218)

The difficult technical issue with a distributed file system is locking, so that the buffer cache, and file system meta data ( i.e. inodes, and all related kernel data structures ) are consisent on all of the machines. This is essentially the same problem space which Oracle's parallel databases address.

In a typical workload, there may be a lot of small files open in a fast succession. Each time the file open's there are locking exchanges. It is interesting to see that they ( like XFS [sgi.com] from SGI ) are positioning this for HPC applications where the files tend to be large and tend to stay open for a relatively long time. This indicates that they're not content with the performance of their locking mechanisms.

MIRROR (1)

Big Troller (651808) | about 10 years ago | (#9542486)

Right here [redhat.com]
Take a look and have some fun.

Any experience to share with GFS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542530)

Does anyone have any actual experience with GFS? I've been looking for an "easy" solution to clustering 2 machines that use software that is so interwoven into the base (/lib, /usr, /etc) that the plan calls for sharing the entire root across these 2 machines. I've yet to find a workable and solid solution! OpenGFS wasn't solid at all.

Difference between GFS, NFS and AFS? (2, Interesting)

techmuse (160085) | about 10 years ago | (#9542602)

What is the difference between GFS, NFS and AFS? (Other than AFS's global file structure, kerberization and encryption)? Do they all do the same thing, or does GFS add something that the others don't have?

Re:Difference between GFS, NFS and AFS? (3, Informative)

TTK Ciar (698795) | about 10 years ago | (#9543492)

I don't know much about AFS, but two significant differences between NFS and GFS:

GFS supports a global file locking interface; NFS does not. So for instance you can have a farm of web servers whose cgi scripts access/update shared files atomically, or multiple database servers which share the same database file, locking individual records to perform simultaneous INSERT/UPDATE transactions.

GFS supports host-granularity redundancy and failover; NFS does not. So if your NFS server bursts into flame, the filesystems it was exporting go away everywhere on your network, but your GFS systems can have two or more hosts exporting the same filesystem. This provides security not only against spontaneous combustion and other disasters, but also scheduled down-times. IT can power down one GFS server to replace a hard drive or move it to a different room, and the backup GFS servers will keep the exported filesystem available without interruption.

If GFS is more scalable/reliable than NFS, that would be nice, but I don't yet know if it does.

-- TTK

Isnt free. So why do I care? (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#9542647)

"$2,200 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription required) "

This means i wont be seeing it in practice, so big deal.

Re:Isnt free. So why do I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542732)

It's released under the GPL and submitted for inclusion in the Linux kernel. In other words, what the hell are you babbling about?

Babbling? Where is the GPL link then. (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#9542768)

According to their web page, you must have a subscription to get it, which costs 2200 bucks.

Id not call that babbling, its called READING.

Perhaps elsewhere it says its free, but not there.

Therefore, the original questions stands.. why do I care?

Re:Babbling? Where is the GPL link then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542869)

Guess you should have done a little more reading then...

Download the source here:
http://sources.redhat.com/cluster/

Re:Babbling? Where is the GPL link then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9543244)

The Slashdot summary explicitly says that it is released under the GPL. It also provides a link to an article which, again, explicitly says that it is being released under the GPL.

If you'd just asked an "Are you sure?" type question about it being released under the GPL then that would be fair enough but to pretend that you've never been told that it is in fact released under the GPL is just stupid.

Re:Isnt free. So why do I care? (2, Insightful)

GregChant (305127) | about 10 years ago | (#9542852)

Contrary to popular belief the world is not nurb432-centric. Many other people (including myself) care about SANs, and can afford a small licensing fee (2200 USD is small compared to other solutions like XSan, which is 5000 USD, but as other people have said, if you want it for free, you can download the source, just forget any level of support).

I'm sorry you're not exposed to ERP and enterprise-level work, but many of us are. Slashdot's plugs are not exclusively for free-as-in-beer projects.

Slight Correction (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#9542930)

First of all I DO live in a rather large enterprise-level system ( 40,000 + user ), and yes we spend much more on our solutions,. so I do agree that 2k isn't anything in the grand scheme of things.

My point was that from RH, it better be free or its of no value. Not that its a 'me-centric' world, as you put it, as I wouldn't trust RH to keep our SAN afloat ( or anything else in our datacenter to be honest. Think IBM and Microsoft, who are both there when you get into a jam )..

However if its free and open, id care, as we could take a direct look at it and see if we can make the proper adjustments to be reliable enough, and locally supportable for our needs.

If the source IS available ( though it wasn't made clear by the default info page) I will make the adjustment in my statement.

Re:Slight Correction (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 10 years ago | (#9543075)

> If the source IS available

Did you even read the blurb?

"Red Hat has released GFS under the GPL"

Re:Isnt free. So why do I care? (3, Informative)

_randy_64 (457225) | about 10 years ago | (#9542957)

The source code is here [redhat.com] . There are a couple other source RPMs in that directory that might be needed too.

Not to YOU of course, because you have no need for such things.

Remember, it's Free Software. That means you can pay Red Hat for it and get their support. Don't want that, fine. Now the source is available, so you can download and compile it yourself, or print it out and wipe your ass with it. Or maybe your favorite distro will download it, package it, enhance it, and include it in their next release.

you Fai7 it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542706)

won't be standing clearly become was kin the tea I Fueling internal to worpk I'm doing, Java IRC client uncover a story of

Finally :) (1)

photon317 (208409) | about 10 years ago | (#9542707)


I was hoping they'd do this. I think (IIRC) the original GFS for linux was (or was intended to be?) open source, then Sistina changed their minds and made it proprietary and commercial. So then there was an OpenGFS project, which never got off the ground. Now RedHat bought Sistina and they're GPLing the code.

Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9542756)

Not to be a jerk but has any of the above posters heard of a san? or windows DFS. Your not going to run this file system on a single home computer. its for managing data from multiple enterprise storage devices and servers.

Can it handle millions of small files? (1)

chiph (523845) | about 10 years ago | (#9542777)

A good test of a filesystem is how well it performs when updating millions of small files. We have this problem at work (application issue), and anyone who's run a news server is familiar with it (most news servers store messages in directories & separate files).

Chip H.

Re:Can it handle millions of small files? (1)

thefastrunner (608598) | about 10 years ago | (#9543061)

Yes, while all nodes (1000 or more) are writing simultaneously. I would really like to see how GFS stacks up against existing systems like IBM GPFS in a performance test with 1000 processors.

However, GFS seems to be available for general use at low cost. If it works reasonably well, the availability at this price point would be major progress.

Re:Can it handle millions of small files? (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | about 10 years ago | (#9543482)

1000 nodes?
I don't think either GFS or GPFS are scalable to that many nodes.

Re:Can it handle millions of small files? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 10 years ago | (#9543442)

Currently, I run reiser4. Reiserfs was the fastest filesystem for small files, reiser4 is better. I want a working intermezzo, but that looks dead. But most clustering filesystems seem to want their own partition. So I want a reiser4 plugin for a distributed filesystem.

GFS has a troubled license history (4, Informative)

freelunch (258011) | about 10 years ago | (#9542831)

GFS was well-liked at supercomputing centers I have worked with until Sistina dropped the GPL license in favor of proprietary. They did this very suddenly and without warning. It pissed off a lot of potential users and the open source community. It has since fallen out of favor.

This move by Red Hat gives new life (and resources) to GFS beyond the OpenGFS Project [sourceforge.net] that has also been continuing to work on the code.

Another recent development in this area is HP's decision to productize Lustre [tmcnet.com] . Lustre [lustre.org] is perhaps the most prominent and promising HPC filesystem.

SGI also announced [linuxelectrons.com] a major deal last week involving Luster:

The new file system is expected to sustain write rates in excess of 8GB/sec and demonstrate single client write rates of more than 600MB/sec. To achieve this performance, the new file system will leverage Lustre, an open source, object-oriented file system with development lead by Cluster File System Inc., with funding from DOE. Lustre currently is used on four of the top five supercomputers, including the PNNL cluster based on 1,900 Intel® Itanium® 2 processors.

Another way of reading SGI's news (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | about 10 years ago | (#9543530)

> To achieve this performance, the new file system will leverage Lustre,

Leverage.... Lustre _is_ a file system.

Why don't they say it like it is:
"To achieve needed performance and scalability, SGI won't be using its own cluster file system but Lustre."

Dear Slash from Guns 'N Roses (1)

Letter (634816) | about 10 years ago | (#9543104)

Dear Slash from Guns 'N Roses,

Here is the Google File System (GFS) [rochester.edu] paper from SOSP '03 that you requested.

-Letter

P.S. Blame Axl for letting RedHat steal the GFS acronym for their Global File System!

How will this affect IBM's GPFS (2, Interesting)

The Mad Duke (222354) | about 10 years ago | (#9543215)

IBM has a product called GPFS (General Parallel File System) which has sold on AIX for several years and is offered for Linux as well. On Intel based boxes it sells for about $1000 per CPU. I wonder how IBM will react to this Open Source competition ? The IBM product has very similar function - it is also used with Oracle RAC. It originated on the RS/6000 based SP clusters but has been ported out to be used on pretty much any AIX or Linux based cluster.

That exists for years already! (-1, Troll)

Dutchie (450420) | about 10 years ago | (#9543350)

It's called NFS. Perfect consistency, concurrent writes, file locking, etc. But ooooh, it's for SCSI block devices! Why anybody would want those is a whole different question. Ofcourse, being stuck with expensive obsoleted fibre channel switches in the near future is as good a reason as any.

$2,200! Requires RHE. (0, Troll)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#9543408)

From Red Hat...

Red Hat Global File System (GFS) is an open source, POSIX-compliant cluster file system and volume manager... Red Hat GFS is tightly integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux... $2,200

I see their pricing is right up there with Microsoft, but at least they probably have better licensing terms (NOTE: It says it's "open source", it doesn't say anything about GPL). Also, it's "tightly integrated" with RH Enterprise, so you'll have to buy that too...

... compared to InterMezzo, CODA or oMFS? (1)

csirac (574795) | about 10 years ago | (#9543639)

How does this compare to other SAN hacks like Inter Mezzo [inter-mezzo.org] , coda [cmu.edu] or the Open Mosix File System [x-tend.be] (find text: mfs)?

GPLed = useless (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9543701)

Too bad.
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