Gluster reduces procurement costs while allowing highly scalable solutions
September 12, 2016

Gluster reduces procurement costs while allowing highly scalable solutions

Charles Inglese | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Red Hat Gluster Storage

Red Hat Gluster Storage is being used by our organization to implement a scalable, redundant, and performant storage solution that reduces procurement costs. Our organization was a NetApp NAS shop, which in itself presents major licensing, hardware, and maintenance costs. Our team evaluated options to reduce storage costs while improving the user experience and trending into the open source community to ensure the latest and greatest baselines available to utilize.
  • Scales; bricks can be easily added to increase storage capacity
  • Performs; I/O is spread across multiple spindles (HDDs), thereby increasing read and write performance
  • Integrates well with RHEL/CentOS 7; if your organization is using RHEL 7, Gluster (GFS) integrates extremely well with that baseline, especially since it's come under the Red Hat portfolio of tools.
  • Documentation; using readthedocs demonstrates that the Gluster project isn't always kept up-to-date as far as documentation is concerned. Many of the guides are for previous versions of the product and can be cumbersome to follow at times.
  • Self-healing; our use of GFS required the administrator to trigger an auto-heal operation manually whenever bricks were added/removed from the pool. This would be a great feature to incorporate using autonomous self-healing whenever a brick is added/removed from the pool.
  • Performance metrics are scarce; our team received feedback that online RDBMS transactions did not perform well on distributed file systems (such as GFS), however this could not be substantiated via any online research or white papers.
  • Positive - Alignment with the open source community and being able to stay abreast of the latest trending products available.
  • Positive - Reduced procurement and maintenance costs.
  • Negative - Impacts user/system maintainer training in order to teach them how to utilize and troubleshoot the product.
Gluster is a lot lower cost than the storage industry leaders. However, NetApp and Dell/EMC's product documentation is (IMHO) more mature and hardened against usage in operational scenarios and environments. Using Gluster avoids "vendor lock-in" from the perspective on now having to purchase dedicated hardware and licenses to run it. Albeit, should an organization choose to pay for support for Gluster, they would be paying licensing costs to Red Hat instead of NetApp, Dell, EMC, HP, or VMware. It could be assumed, however, that if an organization wanted to use Gluster, that they were already a Linux shop and potentially already paying Red Hat or Canonical (Debian) for product support, thereby the use of GFS would be a nominal cost adder from a maintenance/training perspective.
GFS is well suited for DEVOPS type environments where organizations prefer to invest in servers and DAS (direct attached storage) versus purchasing storage solutions/appliances. GFS allows organizations to scale their storage capacity at a fraction of the price using DAS HDDs versus committing to purchase licenses and hardware from a dedicated storage manufacturer (e.g. NetApp, Dell/EMC, HP, etc.).