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Red Hat brings GlusterFS to Amazon cloud

Red Hat has been tweaking and expanding the NAS storage products it acquired from Gluster last October. This week Red Hat brought GlusterFS to the cloud with an appliance for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Last December, Red Hat released a Storage Software Appliance (SSA) that Gluster sold before the acquisition. Red Hat replaced the CentOS Gluster used with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system. This week’s release — Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) for AWS -– is a version of the SSA that lets customers deploy NAS inside the cloud.

The VSA is POSIX-compliant, so — unlike with object-based storage — applications don’t need to be modified to move to the cloud.

“The SSA product is on-premise storage,” Red Hat storage product manager Tom Trainer said. “This is the other side of the coin. The VSA deploys within Amazon Web Services with no on-premise storage.”

The VSA lets customers aggregate Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances into a virtual storage pool

Trainer said Red Hat takes a different approach to putting file data in the cloud than cloud gateway vendors such as Nasuni and Panzura.

“They built an appliance that sits in the data center, captures files and puts them in an object format and you ship objects out to Amazon,” he said. “We said ‘that’s one way to do it.’ But the real problem has been having to modify your applications to run in the cloud because cloud storage has been built around object storage. If we could take two Amazon EC2 instances and attach EBS on the back end, we could build a NAS file server appliance right in the cloud. Users can take POSIX applications from their data center and install them on EC2 instances. They can take applications they had been running in the data center and run them in the cloud.”

Red Hat prices the VSA at $75 per node (EC2 instance). Customers must also pay Amazon for its cloud service.

Trainer said Red Hat plans to support other cloud providers, and customers would be able to copy files via CIFS if they wanted to move from one provider to another. But Amazon is the only provider currently supported for the Red Hat VSA.