Who'll do a Red Hat on open-source storage?
Buy-and-build units just need a brand and a package
Storagebod Are we heading for a Linux moment in the storage world where an open-source "product" truly breaks out and causes the major vendors a headache?
I’ve had this conversation a few times recently with both vendors and end users - and the general feeling is that we are pretty close to it. What is needed is for someone to do a Red Hat: package up some of the open-source products, make them pretty and simple to use... and then give them away.
Of course, Nexenta have already done this rather successfully and if I was looking for a bog-standard traditional dual-head filer product, I’d seriously consider them against the traditional filers.
But great product that it is, it hardly breaks new ground - well, apart from price.
What I’m thinking is something which forces its way into the scalable space ... block, file and object. Ceph is probably the technology that is closest to this and although it is pretty simple to get going, it is still a bit of science project for most. I’m not sure I’d want to manage a Ceph environment at scale yet - I’d certainly be nervous about running heavy production workloads on it.
Integrating it into a traditional mixed data centre environment running Linux, Windows and a variety of virtualisation products would be a big challenge.
I’m looking at InkTank to do something but I’m not sure that they have the funding to push it to the level required.
Yet I think the storage market is ripe for this sort of disruption, especially in the object and "hyperscale" space - but the big vendors aren’t there quite yet.
Perhaps a big vendor will finally realise that it can take the open-source building blocks and use them as a weapon ... it may mean sacrificing some margin but they could guide the direction and gain some serious advantage. If I were already building commodity hardware, I’d be looking at building proper commodity storage. ®
I used to joke about this with AB Periasamy, founder of Gluster. He was using the line about Gluster (the company) becoming the "Red Hat of storage". I disagreed, saying that Red Hat should be the Red Hat of storage. Turns out we were both kind of right. ;)
But seriously, folks, it is kind of weird that you got through this article without even mentioning GlusterFS a.k.a. Red Hat Storage. Whatever you might think of our ability to "cause the major vendors a headache" that's clearly the intent and there's a lot of resources behind it. You even mention the company, but not the product. If I were only a tiny bit more cynical, I might think it was a deliberate snub posted for the sole purpose of giving a rival more exposure.
Disclaimer: in case it's not clear from the context, I'm a GlusterFS developer.
Re: Gluster is not bad but...
There are many better places to discuss that, John - ideally a bug report, but also the mailing list, IRC, etc. The point *here* is that, even if some people misuse it or even if it actually is technically deficient in some way, GlusterFS has proven useful enough to enough people that it belongs in this conversation. It's not like other storage products don't have bugs and missing features too, and people who might say those preclude serious consideration. How does single-digit IOPS sound to you? Or corrupting data? I've hit both of those in other projects, without even trying, but I know those other projects can fix their bugs just as we can fix ours. The question is not which project *deserves* to become the Red Hat of open-source storage based on its current state (which we can discuss elsewhere), but which *is likely to* as it progresses over the next few years, and in that context it seems remiss not to mention Red Hat themselves.
Gluster is not bad but...
"Disclaimer: in case it's not clear from the context, I'm a GlusterFS developer."
Dear Gluster developer, are you working towards fixing that annoying GlusterFS behaviour of randomly locking nodes when writing millions of small files to the file-system per day? (IE: small files = emails)
I do not think Gluster is going to take off for long if that is not fixed.