Red Hat has updated its scale-out Storage Server platform with a number of enhancements, including integration with the latest release of the OpenStack cloud computing framework, greater compatibility with Windows networks, and dramatically improved geo-replication performance between sites.
Available immediately, Red Hat Storage Server 2.1 is the latest version of the open-source storage server platform designed to run on commodity server hardware, which the firm gained when it acquired Gluster in 2011.
The update runs atop Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and makes use of the latest GlusterFS community release of the software, which is where many of the new features have come from.
A key enhancement is full support for the SMB 2.0 protocol used in Windows networks, along with Active Directory integration to allow Storage Server to more easily integrate with Windows domains and serve as a target for file sharing and other applications.
However, Red Hat has also put a lot of work into synchronisation between data held at different sites, to support data protection and availability, and Storage Server 2.1 boosts the performance of this by an impressive 38x in some cases, according to Ranga Rangachari, vice president of storage at Red Hat.
"One of the killer features of Red Hat Storage Server is what we call geo-replication, which is the ability to asynchronously replicate data sets between multiple data centres. As data sets have got larger and larger, we felt there was room to make performance better," he said.
Most of this improvement is due to enhanced change-detection algorithms, Rangachari said, rather than accelerating the transmission of data itself.
Red Hat Storage Server 2.1 is also now fully integrated with Red Hat's cloud offering based on the OpenStack framework, and now fully supports OpenStack's Object Storage, Block Storage and Image Service modules, known as Swift Cinder and Glance, respectively.
"Customers looking to the private cloud can now take the Red Hat OpenStack platform and Red Hat Storage Server and create a true open compute and storage-defined platform that scales on both the compute and storage sides, depending on capacity needs," Rangachari said.
Another key feature for large organisations is integration with Red Hat's Satellite lifecycle management tool, which means that IT staff can use Satellite to manage the deployment and update of Storage Server 2.1 alongside other Red Hat software such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Also announced today is a free test drive of Red Hat Storage Server running atop Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is a sandboxed cloud environment that enables prospective customers to evaluate the Red Hat Storage Server before investing in servers and other infrastructure.
"We have four or five ready-to-use cases such as file sharing and disaster recovery, where all the customer has to do is log in and play for five hours and then decide if they want to take the next step," Rangachari explained.
Looking to the future, Rangachari revealed that the Gluster developer community is working on a snapshot feature to operate at the volume level plus support for ARM-based servers. However, there is no date yet for when this may be incorporated into the Red Hat Storage Server code, he said.
Red Hat Storage Server 2.1 is available under a similar subscription model to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and is priced from $5,000 per storage node per year, regardless of the volume of storage handled.
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