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[Linux-cluster] GFS limits?

Hi there,

I've been peripherally following GFS's progress for the last two years or so, and I'm very interested in using it. We were already on Red Hat when Sistina was acquired, so I've been waiting to see what Red Hat will do with it. But before I get ahold of the sales people, I thought I'd find out a little more about it.

We have two use cases where I can see it being useful:

- For our web server clusters to share a single "snapshot" of our application code amongst themselves. GFS obviously functions great in this environment and would be useful.

- For our backend image data storage. We currently have 35TB of storage, and it's growing at a rapid rate. I'd like to be able to scale into hundreds of petabytes some day, and would like to select a solution early that will scale large. Migrating a few hundred TBs from one solution to another already keeps me up at night... PBs would make me go insane. This is the use case I'm not sure of with regards to GFS.

Does GFS somehow get around the 1TB block device issue? Just how large can a single exported filesystem be with GFS?

Our current (homegrown) solution will scale very well for quite some time, but eventually we're going to get saturated with write requests to individual head units. Does GFS intelligently "spread the load" among multiple storage entities for writing under high load? Does it always write to any available storage units, or are there thresholds where it expands the pool of units it writes to? (I'm not sure I'm making much sense, but we'll see if any of you grok it :)

In the event of some multiple-catastrophe failure (where some data isn't online at all, let alone redundant), how graceful is GFS? Does it "rope off" the data that's not available and still allow full access to the data that is? Or does the whole cluster go down?

I notice the pricing for GFS is $2200. Is that per seat? And if so, what's a "seat"? Each client? Each server with storage participating in the cluster? Both? Some other distinction?

Is AS a prereq for clients? Servers? Both? Or will ES and WS boxes be able to participate as well?

Whew, that should be enough to get us started.

Thanks in advance!


fn:Don MacAskill
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