The Gluster Community would like to congratulate the OpenStack Foundation and developers on the Havana release. With performance-boosting enhancements for OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder), Compute (Nova) and Image Service (Glance), as well as a native template language for OpenStack Orchestration (Heat), the OpenStack Havana release points the way to continued momentum for the OpenStack community. The many storage-related features in the Havana release coupled with the growing scope of typical OpenStack deployments demonstrate the need for scale-out, open software-defined storage solutions. The fusion of GlusterFS open software-defined storage with OpenStack software is a match made in cloud heaven.

Naturally, the Gluster Community would like to focus on OpenStack enhancements that pertain directly to our universe:

  • OpenStack Image Service (Glance)
    • OpenStack Cinder can now be used as a block-storage back-end for the Image Service. For Gluster users, this means that Glance can point to the same image as Cinder, which means it is not necessary to copy the entire image before deploying, saving some valuable time.
  • OpenStack Compute (Nova)
    • OpenStack integration with GlusterFS utilizing the QEMU/libgfapi integration reduces the kernel space to user space context switching to significantly boost performance.
    • When connecting to NFS or GlusterFS backed volumes, Nova now uses the mount options set in the Cinder configuration. Previously, the mount options had to be set on each Compute node that would access the volumes. This allows operators to more easily automate the scaling of their storage platforms.
    • QEMU-assisted snapshotting is now used to provide the ability to create cinder volume snapshots, including GlusterFS.
  • OpenStack Orchestration (Heat)
    • Initial support for native template language (HOT). For OpenStack operators, this presents an easier way to orchestrate services in application stacks.
  • OpenStack Object Storage (Swift)
    • There is nothing in the OpenStack Havana release notes pertaining to GlusterFS and Swift integration but we always like to talk about the fruits of our collaboration with Swift developers. We are dedicated to using the upstream Swift project API/proxy layer in our integration, and the Swift team has been a pleasure to work with, so kudos to them.
  • OpenStack Data processing (Savanna)
    • This incubating project enables users to easily provision and manage Apache Hadoop clusters on OpenStack. It’s a joint project between Red Hat, Mirantis and HortonWorks and points the way towards “Analytics as a Service”. It’s not an official part of OpenStack releases yet, but it’s come very far very quickly, and we’re excited about the data processing power it will spur.

To give an idea of the performance improvements in the GlusterFS-QEMU integration that Nova now takes advantage of, consider the early benchmarks below published by Bharata Rao, a developer at IBM’s Linux Technology Center.

 

FIO READ numbers

aggrb (KB/s) minb (KB/s) maxb (KB/s)
FUSE mount 15219 3804 5792
QEMU GlusterFS block driver (FUSE bypass) 39357 9839 12946
Base 43802 10950 12918

FIO WRITE numbers

aggrb (KB/s) minb (KB/s) maxb (KB/s)
FUSE mount 24579 6144 8423
QEMU GlusterFS block driver (FUSE bypass) 42707 10676 17262
Base 42393 10598 15646

 

“Base” refers to an operation directly on a disk filesystem.

Havana vs. Pre-Havana

This is a snapshot to show the difference between the Havanna and Grizzly releases with GlusterFS.

Grizzly Havana
Glance – Could point to the filesystem images mounted with GlusterFS, but had to copy VM image to deploy it Can now point to Cinder interface, removing the need to copy image
Cinder – Integrated with GlusterFS, but only with Fuse mounted volumes Can now use libgfapi-QEMU integration for KVM hypervisors
Nova – No integration with GlusterFS Can now use the libgfapi-QEMU integration
Swift – GlusterFS maintained a separate repository of changes to Swift proxy layer Swift patches now merged upstream, providing a cleaner break between API and implementation

 

The Orchestration feature we are excited about is not Gluster-specific, but has several touch points with GlusterFS, especially in light of the newly-introduced Manila FaaS project for OpenStack (https://launchpad.net/manila). Imagine being able to orchestrate all of your storage services with Heat, building the ultimate in scale-out cloud applications with open software-defined storage that scales with your application as needed.

We’re very excited about the Havana release and we look forward to working with the global OpenStack community on this and future releases. Download the latest GlusterFS version, GlusterFS 3.4, from the Gluster Community at gluster.org, and check out the performance with a GlusterFS 3.4-backed OpenStack cloud.