Red Hat's Gluster community adds new open-source projects

Red Hat's Gluster open-source community has been all about its namesake, the GlusterFS, but now it's expanding to cover other open-source, software-defined storage technologies.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Red Hat announced on May 1 that its Gluster Community "has extended its charter from a single project to a multi-project open-source community for open software-defined storage."

Gluster is now open to new open-source software storage programs.

Gluster, for those of you who haven't used it, is primarily about the Gluster file system (GlusterFS). Acquired by Red Hat in 2011, GlusterFS is an open-source network-attached storage (NAS) system that can be used both for virtual and cloud systems (PDF link). As such, it's positioned to be used to address big data problems.

As John Mark Walker, Red Hat's Gluster Community leader, explained at the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco in mid-May 2013:

Storage is morphing and merging with a host of other technologies. If you look at the industry trends that make up the open hybrid cloud, elastic, automated storage is quickly being recognized as an intrinsic part of any cloud architecture. The problem is, as with many technologies, those responsible for deploying these open hybrid clouds are discovering that the traditional, proprietary approaches don't scale. That in order to have an open hybrid cloud, they need an open hybrid storage platform that's agile enough to support their data center's rapid growth.

Historically, compute was the sexy part of cloud computing, while storage was the backwater that nobody really cared about. And then storage requirements started to exceed the ability of operators to keep pace, and suddenly storage was recognized as something that needed to be just as elastic as everything else. The problem was, storage means data, and nobody can afford to lose data. If you lose compute resources, spinning those up is easy, and you can continue wherever you left off when the old compute node died. But that implies that there's a storage layer underneath allowing you to preserve the state of all of your virtualized machines and apps. If that goes away, you better have some mechanisms in place that allow you to quickly recover. So, in our brave, new, open hybrid cloud world, you must have an open storage counterpart that's baked into your data center architecture.

Now Red Hat wants to expand Gluster "from a tightly-controlled open core project to an open-source ecosystem with a rapidly growing number of projects and contributors." To make that happen, the Gluster Community now includes the Gluster Community Forge. This is a Gitorious-based collaborative development environment where "like-minded developers and organizations can incubate, develop and collaborate on new open software-defined storage projects. The Gluster Community Forge aims to accelerate the growth of community-driven innovation around GlusterFS and greatly enhance developer and user collaboration."

New projects in the Gluster Community Forge include an HDFS Plugin, pmux, file-based mapReduce (which is a core part of Hadoop), SAMBA integration, and Dispersed Volume.

In a statement, Walker said, “The Gluster Community Forge and project expansion marks a significant milestone for the Gluster Community. We continue to build momentum globally, growing from a single, open core project to a global open-source community with contributions by individual engineers, educational and research communities, and organizations. Similar to way the Fedora Community shaped software-defined compute, the goal of the Gluster Community is to transform software-defined storage.”

Want to give this community development site a try? You can create your own software-defined storage project at the site.

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