The clustered file system pools storage servers over TCP/IP or InfiniBand Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA), aggregating disk and memory and facilitating the centralized management of data through a unified global namespace. The software works with low-cost commodity computers and is based on Linux.
Use cases for GlusterFS include cloud computing, streaming media and content delivery. Scale-out storage systems based on GlusterFS are suitable for unstructured data such as documents, images, audio and video files, and log files.
In 2011, Red Hat Inc. acquired Gluster Inc., which developed GlusterFS. The vendor supports a commercial version of GlusterFS, which ships with its Red Hat Gluster Storage product. An open source version of GlusterFS is still updated and maintained by a community of developers.
GlusterFS vs. Ceph
In 2014, Red Hat acquired Inktank Storage, the maker of Ceph open source software. Red Hat supports commercial versions of both GlusterFS and Ceph, but leaves development work on each project to the open source community.
Red Hat's acquisition of Inktank Storage and Ceph does not duplicate the functionality of GlusterFS in the company's product line. Rather, Ceph adds object and block-based storage to Gluster's file storage. For Red Hat customers, GlusterFS meets archiving needs, while Ceph is used in many OpenStack implementations.
Ceph is aimed at IT shops that build large-scale clouds, while GlusterFS is for customers who just need a file system.