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I recently posted about my experiences with GlusterFS. Shortly after writing it I was contacted by the guys from GlusterFS keen to talk about my experiences on the phone.

I’ve just had this call and thought I’d summarize it here (with their permission):

  • They were very open and admitted freely that the points in my post came as no surprise to them in the current version of the code and the position they are in as a company.
  • They are now well funded and fully committed to establishing closer ties with the community, they are going to employ a community manager and revamp their community offerings around boards and so forth.
  • They are aware of the lack of deep technical documentation and will address this soon, they are essentially struggling to strike a good balance of User vs Advanced Administrator documentation and were erring on the side of User documentation.
  • Instrumentation will be greatly improved in the upcoming version of GlusterFS. Since they are a nice modular system they will essentially have a debug module that they can plug into a client that will then log a ton of events and metrics. Without rebuilding the code.
  • They are adding various command line and management utilities. One such utility is a tool to interrogate the bricks and give reports on the consistency of data, what exact files are out of sync etc.
  • There will be a new active replication option where the bricks will essentially communicate directly with each other removing the need for all the ls -lR stuff. The brick to brick comms should also be much quicker to do a full validation than the current method.
  • The fuse layer will receive a bit less prominence with NFS being the recommended way of connecting to the Gluster bricks.

There were some more points but you absolutely get the idea that the next version – already in Beta – will at least start the process of properly addressing many of the points I raised, confirming that both my idea of the current status is spot on and that they were aware of the issues and are working in the background resolving those.

I’d encourage people to keep an eye on GlusterFS, keep it in your bookmark list and keep following the news stream, I do still think the simplicity of their offering has serious merit if they can address my points in the next few releases GlusterFS would become a system worth considering.

I’ll hopefully have time to evaluate the next version thoroughly and will see about a follow up post at the time. The list of fixes/improvements is quite big and I have no doubt it will take at least a few releases to tick them all off but it all sounds like it’s heading in the right direction at least.

Update: It’s now been several months since this phone call. New code is out there etc. I’ve never heard from the people at Gluster again in contrast with the promises they made during this call. This is proof to me that still they do not have proper community handling and that this is affecting all levels of the company. For a commercial Open Source company this is a very big red light. I would not recommend GlusterFS as a solution to any problem ever as a result.