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[Linux-cluster] General GFS Advice?

I'm just looking for a bit of general advice about GFS... We're basically just looking to use it as a SAN-based replacement for NFS. We've got a handful of servers that need constant read/write access to our users' home directories (Samba PDC/BDC, web server, network terminal servers, etc.), and we thought GFS might be a good replacement from a performance and security standpoint, let alone removing the SPOF of our main NFS/file server. Another place we're thinking of using it is underneath our mail servers, so that as we grow, SMTP deliveries (and virus scanning) can happen on one machine while IMAP/POP connections can be served through another.

Unfortunately, even at academic prices, Red Hat wants more per single GFS node than I'm paying for twenty AS licenses, so I've been heading down this road by building from the SRPMS. I mostly have a 2-node test cluster built under RHEL4, but a number of things have me a little bit hesitant to move forward, so I'm wondering if some folks can offer some advice. For starters, is my intended use even appropriate for GFS? It does seem as though I'm looking to put an awful lot of overhead (with the cluster management suite) onto these boxes just to eliminate a SPOF. Another concern is that this list seems to have a lot more questions posted than answers. Are folks running into situations where filesystems are hopelessly corrupted or that they've been unable to recover from? That's the impression I feel like I'm getting, but I suppose a newbie to Linux in general could get the same impression from reading the fedora lists out of context. The last thing I want to do is put something into production and then have unexplained fencing occurences or filesystem errors.

Finally, Red Hat sales is laying it on pretty heavy that the reason the GFS pricing is so high is because it's nearly impossible to install it yourself. That was particularly true before GFS landed in Fedora. Now the claim is just that it's very difficult to manage without a support contract. Is this just marketing, or does GFS really turn out to be a nightmare to maintain?

Any insights people could provide would be appreciated.


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