The conversation often starts with a challenge. “What’s so great about open source storage technology?”
For the casual end users of storage systems, regardless of SAN (definitely not Fibre Channel) or NAS on-premises, or getting “files” from the personal cloud storage like Dropbox,OneDrive et al., there is a strong presumption that open source storage technology is cheap and flaky. This is not helped with the diet of consumer brands of NAS in the market, where the price is cheap, but the storage offering with capabilities, reliability and performance are found to be wanting. Thus this notion floats its way to the business and enterprise users, and often ended up with a negative perception of open source storage technology.
Highway Signpost with Open Source wording
Anybody can “build” a storage system with open source storage software. Put the software together with any commodity x86 server, and it can function with the basic storage services. Most open source storage software can do the job pretty well. However, once the completed storage technology is put together, can it do the job well enough to serve a business critical end user? I have plenty of sob stories from end users I have spoken to in these many years in the industry related to so-called “enterprise” storage vendors. I wrote a few blogs in the past that related to these sad situations:
We have such storage offerings rigged with cybersecurity risks and holes too. In a recent Unit 42 report, 250,000 NAS devices are vulnerable and exposed to the public Internet. The brands in question are mentioned in the report.
I remembered the Gluster demo at Jaring over a video call, because I was the lead consultant pitching the scale-out NAS solution. It did not go well, and there were “bugs” which made the Head of IT flinched in her seat. Despite Jaring being Malaysia’s technology trailblazer, the impression of Gluster was forgettable. I stayed on the GlusterFS architecture a little while and then it dropped off my radar.
Gluster Scale Out NAS
But after the conversation last week, I am elated to revive my interest in Gluster, knowing that something big and impressive in coming into the fore very soon. Studying the architecture (again!), there are 2 parts of Gluster which excite me. One is the Brick and the other is the lack of a Metadata service.
I was at the 9th Openstack Malaysia anniversary this morning, celebrating the inception of the OpenInfra brand. The OpenInfra branding, announced almost a year ago, represented a change of the maturing phase of the OpenStack project but many have been questioning its growing irrelevance. The foundational infrastructure components – Compute (Nova), Image (Glance), Object Storage (Swift) – are being shelved further into the back closet as the landscape evolved in recent years.
The writing is on the wall
Through the storage lens, I already griped about the conundrum of OpenStack storage in Malaysia in last year’s 8th anniversary. And at the thick of this conundrum is OpenStack Swift. The granddaddy of OpenStack storage has not gotten much attention from technology vendors and service providers alike. For one, storage vendors have their own object storage offering, and has little incentive to place OpenStack Swift into their technology development. Continue reading →