Anand Babu Periasamy, CTO and co-founder of Gluster (, says:

Multiple trends are contributing to the demand for Gluster’s high performance, highly scalable storage solutions: According to IDC, unstructured data is growing by 60 percent per year, creating a need for vastly different storage economics. Gartner predicts that over 50 percent of all compute workloads are to be virtualized by 2012, creating a need for vastly different shared storage architectures; and, the cloud is expected to account for 12 percent of all IT spending by 2014, creating a need for storage that works both in public and private clouds.

Gluster’s storage technology is specifically designed for maximum flexibility, giving enterprises the ability to treat physical storage as a virtualized, standardized, and scale-on-demand pool in the same way they treat computing resources today. This radically improves storage economics and enables organizations to easily move to public and private cloud environments as their storage needs evolve. Gluster’s storage technology integrates into virtual machines for deployment on popular hypervisor environments such as Red Hat, KVM, VMware ESX and Citrix Xen and their certified hardware platforms.

In addition to being cost-effective, and easy to deploy and scale, Gluster storage pools storage resources under a global namespace with elastic volume management for data growth and migration with no downtime. With Gluster storage, IT managers can achieve maximum scalability and performance in their storage environment.

Storage plays an extremely important role in maintaining an effective data center. The explosion of unstructured data has introduced a number of challenges into enterprise storage infrastructure, and NAS is the only storage technology equipped to handle this explosion. As cloud computing becomes more widely adopted, it is becoming apparent that storage is becoming the Achilles heel of the cloud and NAS is destined to play a leading role in cloud storage.

In terms of why IT should select scale-out storage, the advantages are clear. The scale-out architecture allows resources to be added as required for capacity and performance. Disk, compute, and I/O resources can be added independently for higher performance.

Infiniband and 10GigE have taken NAS ahead of SAN in performance and scalability. SAN will complement NAS as backend storage and carve its own share for mission-critical storage, but at the end of the day, cloud will drive commoditization and the move toward NAS.

Server virtualization technologies are being adopted at an accelerating pace, with higher server productivity and faster response times as the primary benefits. However, storage virtualization technology has lagged that of server virtualization, presenting several challenges for storage administrators. As previously mentioned, the growth in unstructured data is phenomenal and the numbers are only going to increase. The dynamic nature of the cloud also challenges administrators to implement flexible storage solutions that can adapt to such an environment. Enterprises are faced with the challenge of keeping up with the heaps of data introduced to the data center every day while also trying to ensure their performance requirements are not affected.

These challenges can be overcome by selected a storage technology that meets your data center requirements in terms of flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Choose a solution that easily integrates with your existing data center technology and is easy to deploy and manage.

Since Gluster provides open source storage, the advice I would give is for IT managers to download and deploy it in a test environment. This will allow them to gain hands-on experience, giving them the information needed to make the best decision. The open source community is also a great resource for gathering feedback and educating yourself on what technology might be best suited for your data center.

Storage is increasingly becoming a commoditized, virtualized and centrally managed pool of resources. In short, it’s transforming to reflect the compute environment in many respects. We can look to web giants such as Google, which has built its own storage infrastructure with cloud-like characteristics. Built on commodity scale-out hardware, the intelligence and functionality are built into the software, plus it’s very dynamic, scales on demand and gives high availability through redundancy. The problem is there aren’t many companies that can bring to bear the engineering resources or budget of Google to build a similar solution from scratch. This is why at Gluster we are working to accelerate this storage transition and provide enterprise customers with Google-like storage off the shelf.