Cluster Filesystems

Cluster file systems are complex and challenging. They are sometimes required if you're building huge network storage pools, or if you want to run clustered instances of certain applications. You typically deploy them together with a cluster manager like Pacemaker.

A cluster file system is not a cure-all. It requires careful consideration and a perfect technical setup. And if you're using it incorrectly, it'll do you more harm than good.

We're well versed in the pros and cons of available cluster file systems, and we'll be happy to share!

Which one do I choose?

Numerous F/OSS cluster file systems exist: OCFS2, GFS2, GlusterFS, Lustre ... They all have their specific advantages and disadvantages. Hands-on experience is vital to determine the best solution for a certain set of requirements. And even if you've found the perfect match, there's still the setup and the integration into the cluster manager that needs to be done. 

How about locking and fencing?

Cluster filesystems need a way to ensure that a file is not changed on two nodes of the storage network simultaneously. They normally use a Distributed Locking Manager (DLM), which needs to be set up appropriately.

Cluster filesystems need a reliable fencing setup in case things go wrong. Fencing is a means of reliably separating misbehaving nodes from shared resources. Fencing is usually almost trivial to set up, but complex and challenging to reliably test.

What if I'm not sure if I need one?

Cluster filesystems fit a very clearly defined, narrow range of applications perfectly. However, we have frequently seen them deployed without necessity -- and based on our experience we can usually suggest simpler and more robust solutions.

Prior to deploying a cluster filesystem, we invite you to discuss your setup with us. Let us check whether a cluster filesystem is the only way to go. Or do you already have a cluster filesystem in place and are not satisfied with it?

Need help with OCFS2, GFS2, Gluster, Ceph, or Lustre? We can offer a broad array of consulting and training services for cluster filesystems. Ask The Expert Now!