[Beowulf] Parallel File system as a storage Solution

Guy Coates gmpc at sanger.ac.uk
Sun Aug 14 03:57:27 PDT 2005

> I've thought of taking a bunch of machines with a few hundred GB
> of disk each, exporting each's disk devices to the others via NBD,
> iSCSI, or something else, tying all that together into one file

You can do this; gfs has a cluster aware ndb device called gndb.  There
are some limitations; you can't mount the gfs filesystem on nodes which
host the gndb device, so your "server" machines can't see the filesystem.
If you want reliability, then you need to set up gndb mirroring between
multiple servers, so you need 2x the disk space and server machines.

(see fig 7)

>I don't how reliable such system would be.  Any interested party out
>there with some money burning a hole is his or her pocket?

We run a similar setup in production (though using GPFS rather than GFS).

In practice, reliability is pretty good. We've got a series of cron-script
which automatically re-balance filesystems after disk failures etc.


> David S.
> >
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Dr. Guy Coates,  Informatics System Group
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1HH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1223 834244 x 6925
Fax: +44 (0)1223 494919

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