[CentOS] Setting up Linux File Servers in a University Environment

Fri Jul 24 04:20:48 UTC 2009
Eduardo Grosclaude <eduardo.grosclaude at gmail.com>

On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 10:05 PM, Ross Walker<rswwalker at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Jul 23, 2009, at 8:33 PM, Clint Dilks <clintd at scms.waikato.ac.nz>
> wrote:
>> Hello Everyone
>> I work for a University Department that has a high number of Linux
>> Desktop Users.  Currently we provide a users home directory via NFS
>> from
>> a file server.  Generally it works well for us, but I have been
>> asked to
>> look at our options for expanding the storage we have available.
>> So I thought one of the first things I had better do is consider are
>> there alternatives to the way we do things now that could be better
>> for us.
>> My initial research suggests that the only real alternative to NFS in
>> this context is ISCSI or perhaps the combination of ISCSI and GFS.
>> So I was wondering has anyone on this list in a similar field
>> implement
>> ISCSI for home directories instead of NFS?  And if so would you be
>> able
>> to give me some idea of the costs/ benefits of doing this?
> ISCSI isn't really suited for this. You would use iSCSI to provide
> storage to your NFS servers probably from a large storage box like an
> EMC, 3PAR or such.
> You could make your own massive storage server and present the storage
> in parts via iSCSI to different NFS servers serving different parts of
> campus.

Some time ago I was toying with the idea of having a number of hosts
exporting network block devices to a server where I would coalesce
them by means of LVM, then exporting the filesystem on one logical
volume with NFS. Is this too crazy a setup? I understand reliability
drops because of too many critical points of failure, but I would
expect (though not know for sure) gnbd should come with some form of
redundancy. Could this work as a cheap, scalable, poor man's solution?

Eduardo Grosclaude
Universidad Nacional del Comahue
Neuquen, Argentina