Over the past couple of months I was taking a really close look at GlusterFS for potential use on a virtualization project. Today I saw the notice the version 3.1 was released. That's good news. They call it a scale out NAS platform which it is but it's also a bit more than that too.
I had the chance to speak at length with Anand Babu (AB) Periasamy and a few members of his team at VMWorld recently about 3.1 prior to release and it was genuinely interesting and exciting. I've been following the Gluster project for years and it really just seems to keep getting better and better. Not only that, they seem pretty passionate about what they do which is always a good thing.
Of particular interest in 3.1 is that you are now supposed to be able to add and remove nodes to the cluster without impacting the applications using the cluster at all. This is CRITICAL and was a major barrier to adoption perviously. Previously you actually had to restart the cluster to expand.
One of the things that can be challenging is large scale file sharing to many, and sometimes varying numbers of, application servers in large scale web environments. I could see GlusterFS 3.1 being very useful in this scenario. One recently published example of this is the way that Acquia uses GlusterFS for scaling Drupal.
Of course, other options exist such as Swift from open stack, MongoDB w/ GridFS, Riak perhaps in smaller file size senarios, and perhaps Ceph which just released. The file / storage space is hot right now with change and even *gasp* innovation. It is pretty exciting and more choice over the last few years has been a very good thing.
I suspect I'll be writing more about this in the future assuming I can get some of the testing I want to do completed. As usual, my lab in my secret lair is under powered and over utilized. *sigh*