Sistina Releases Global File System 4.0 For Linux

January 26, 2001

NEWS BRIEFS

Minneapolis, MN – – Sistina Software Inc. on January 22nd, announced the release of the Global File System (GFS TM) version 4.0. GFS 4.0 is the first cluster file system available for the Linux operating system, and is released under the terms of the GNU General Public license (GPL). Sistina’s GFS transforms a cluster of Linux servers into a Storage Cluster, extending all of the availability and performance of clusters to storage sensitive compute activities. GFS gives administrators the ability to simultaneously mount shared storage devices on multiple nodes in a Storage Area Network. This enables simultaneous ac-cess to files within the file system. Symmetric, shared access to devices prevents the performance bottleneck and single-point-of-failure associated with traditional network file systems.

With GFS version 4.0, Sistinasets the standard for performance and data a vailability with abusiness-ready Storage Cluster solution. Storage Clusters running GFS provide scalability for storage systems in four areas.

1. GFS Storage Clusters can provide tremendous aggregate throughput by combining the strengths of multiple servers (aggregation of processors and memory) with multiple SAN and network interfaces and nearly unlimited numbers of storage devices. All components can be upgraded and serviced while the overall functionality of the cluster remains on-line and services provided by the cluster remain unaffected.

2. GFS is fault tolerant, recovering from node failures with fully journaled file system operations on a per node basis. This high availability protects against costly service downtime.

3. GFS can be used as a shared root file system. This provides administrators with a pseudo-single-system-image, which can greatly simplify cluster administration. Configuration and management tasks that would otherwise have to be repeated many times can be performed in a single location and instantaneously affect all cluster members. Individual customization can be accomplished via context dependent symbolic links (CDSL).

4. The total cost of ownership and administration of a Storage Clusters can be dramatically reduced by using GFS. GFS Storage Clusters can be composed of inexpensive, commodit servers yet provide service previously only available on large proprietary SMP server platforms. Simplified administration due to GFS shared root file system further reduces these costs.

GFS runs independently of the underlying hardware platform allowing it to take advantage of Linux’ heterogeneous scalability from embedded systems to mainframes. Storage Clusters running GFS exploit the advanced scalability, performance, and SAN management features of Fibre Channel, gigabit Ethernet, and high performance interconnects. Clustered Linux-based server solutions effectively compete with higher priced proprietary solutions by spreading a workload across a cluster of computers. GFS Storage Clusters with high performance parallel I/O and high availability (HA) extend this capability to applications that are not practical on a traditional cluster.

Storage Clusters running the Global File System can be deployed to extend the available bandwidth and transactions per second of web, SMTP, IMAP, NFS, specific application servers, and parallel, scientific computing/data processing. GFS Storage Clusters also provide high availability access to mission critical data. By running Linux, GFS Storage Clusters benefit from the computer industry’s incredible interest and investment in Linux and open source software. Since GFS interfaces conform to POSIX file system seman-tics, software requires few or no changes to take advantage of the scalability and reliability offered by the Storage Cluster.

“We wanted a system that would have high availability and high performance over SAN, and it had to run Linux. So it was here GFS got into the picture,” states Lars Jonsson of GIGA-Consulting AB, who set up a GFS cluster to run a fail-over Oracle 8.0 database, and the apache web-server. “We are really satisfied with our work and are really impressed with the performance.” Furthermore, “GFS was reallyeasy to install. In about 1 hour we had a GFS site up and running.”

“The release of GFS will better position Linux to be an important player in the development of enterprise information systems,” Writes Dr. Gregg Wettstein of Enjellic Systems Development, LLC. “Sistina is bringing such an important piece of technology to the storage design table. I consider GFS to be the key piece of technology that has been missing from all the hype surrounding SANs.” Dr. Wettstein, who develops systems to provide compute services for tens of thousands of users, continues: “I have been impressed by the quality implementation of GFS: The clean code base, extensive documentation and impressive performance leave me convinced that using GFS will allow me to make win-ning moves in developing enterprise storage solutions.”

Professor Amnon Barak says of GFS, “The MOSIX extensions [to the Linux Kernel] enables co-operating nodes in a cluster to run almost like a single-system by automatically load-balancing through process migration. The MOSIX development team has been in very tight contact with Sistina to test and further enhance GFS. The combined features of MOSIX and GFS can support parallel file operations in a scalable computing cluster.”

GFS supports the Direct File System Access (DFSA) interface of MOSIX, allowing greater performance and availability in MOSIX clusters. GFS can be used to create embedded solutions. Christophe Barbe of Lineo’s High Availability Group writes this of Lineo’s cluster plans. “At Lineo, we provide a High Availability Clustering solution based on the CompactPCI hardware architecture. The next release will contain full Fiber-Channel support and GFS support.” Bruno Simon of Lineo adds, “Lineo Availix using GFS has been validated to significantly increase scalability for large providers, and to provide support for parallel database servers.”

About Sistina Software

Sistina Software designs, develops, and supports storage management software for Unix, including the Global File System (GFS), the Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM), and management tools for installing and configuring Storage Clusters based on GFS and LVM. Sistina’s Storage Clustering technology can dramatically increase system preformance, availability, scalability, and manageability. Storage Clusters can benefit web serving, distributed compute tasks, file serving, mail serving, and database applications, among other compute services. Sistina’s Software allows administrators to simplify management of storage and fully utilize their available hardware.

Web site: http://www.sistina.com

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