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Red Hat Whips Up Storage File System

Red Hat lifted the wraps on its storage file system based on Linux and made its source code available under the General Public License (GPL) , Red Hat spokeswoman Leigh Day said.

Called Red Hat Global File System (GFS), the cluster file system and volume manager combo are essentially the same product that the company picked up in the December when it purchased Sistina Software.

But under Red Hat's roof, GFS offers new features and allows Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers to shuttle files to one shared system on the SAN in order to avoid redundant copies.

One of the value propositions of a file system is that it has no one failure point. So if a server, network, or storage device goes down, others pull the extra duty to avoid system downtime. This is true for GFS.

According to a company data sheet, customers using GFS can incrementally scale performance for hundreds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers and storage area networks constructed with iSCSI or Fibre Channel .

GFS works with all standard Linux applications and on all major server and storage platforms supported by Red Hat. For example, applications such as Oracle 9i RAC, and cluster, Web, and e-mail workloads can be managed easily with GFS.

Available for $2,200 per system per year, GFS is being offered as a layered product with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which includes maintenance and services.

File systems are becoming increasingly important at a time when compliance regulations are forcing businesses to back up and archive files for years. IBM released a super file system, TotalStorage SAN File System, last year.

In a deal closer to the heart of what Red Hat is doing with Linux and storage, HP announced the StorageWorks Scalable File Share (HP SFS). Geared for high-performance computing scenarios, HP SFS allows bandwidth to be shared by distributing files in parallel across clusters of servers and storage devices. Network Appliance's bread and butter is making file systems.

The fact that Red Hat chose to join IBM , HP and others in the same storage pool signals that Red Hat is extending its Linux tendrils beyond the operating system realm. It also validates the current efforts by vendors in the storage space.

"There is a major trend in technology to improve storage solutions," Day told internetnews.com, noting that analysts identify storage as a key area to focus their resources. "But we felt like it is an organic step in growing our business."

Day said getting into storage fulfilled a goal in the company's Open Source Architecture strategy to create as many solutions as possible that were compatible on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

"But the other part of that strategy is to look at the trends in the open source world and help determine what technologies were mature" Day said. "Storage was definitely one of the top areas."