Distributed filesystems

Michael Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Sat Dec 17 08:39:27 MST 2005

On Sat, 2005-12-17 at 01:06 -0700, Shane Hathaway wrote:
> Indeed.  But to my bosses, Coraid looks like an ant ready to be squished 
> because Coraid has a low employee count.  They prefer IBM, HP, EMC, 
> NetApp, etc. because the big guys can't be killed off as easily.  I can 
> see the logic, because we'll have to live with our solution for a long time.

One of the nice things about an open system is that I can switch at any
time to something else.  My capital equipment only has to last for 3
years. Then I replace it.  So I can do coraid today, and switch to
something else in 3 years.  It's not a huge deal to me, but then of
course I am the boss.

PHB thinking is changing slowly.  Especially because even with big
companies, bad things can happen suddenly.  And when that happens it
really helps PHBs to reconsider their reliance on certain big vendors.
For example, the whole peoplesoft buyout really shook a lot of a people
(obviously not hard enough though).

> But they fail to understand the power and longevity of open systems. 
> AFAICT Coraid's systems are 100% open, both hardware and software, so 
> we'd always have an upgrade path regardless of the fate of any vendor. 
> For a lot of business folks, that's a totally different way of thinking.

Coraid's systems look great, except that with the number of disks I want
to run, according to some people's numbers, it just can't produce the
bandwidth I'm used to.  According to one linuxtoday article, with 10
disks in a RAID10 configuration (all software RAID it looks like), he
achieved maybe 22 MB/sec.  This isn't that great.  Probably with
hardware RAID and a gigabit ethernet connection you could get the higher
speeds I'd expect (80+?).  For now, though, it looks to me like a
hardware RAID shelf with a fiber channel bus is pretty cost-effective,
but for a small business owner, Coraid's stuff is probably the only game
in town.  

This ATA over ethernet thing does look very interesting, especially when
it comes to clustering.  Certainly better than the network block device
for most things.  It's discouraging, but Sun has no interest at all in
supporting AoE in Solaris (states weird reasons like it's not a
standard).  Weird.  I wonder what OSes besides linux support it?


> Shane
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