The Gluster Blog

Gluster blog stories provide high-level spotlights on our users all over the world

Usenix LISA 2015 Tutorial on GlusterFS

I have been working in GlusterFS for quite some time now.  As you might know that GlusterFS is an open source distributed file-system. What differentiate Gluster from other distributed file-system is its scale-out nature, data access without metadata server and it’s modular design.

I feel that in general there is lack of awareness of Gluster as a distributed file-system. Therefore I wanted to do some kind of tutorial or workshop on Gluster. LISA gave me that perfect opportunity. LISA is one of the largest gathering of system engineers and operations professionals.

Me and my colleague Poornima gave a half-day tutorial on Gluster. Our tutorial was the First tutorial of the conference, i.e. on 8th Nov 2015.

This time LISA was held in Wasington DC from 8th Nov to 13th Nov. The conference was divided into multiple programs – Training, Workshops,
Technical sessions (or Conference Program), LISA Build, Lab, Expo, etc. Training, Workshops and LISA build started on 8th Nov, whereas Conference Program and Expo started from 11th Nov.

The tutorial was divided into two parts first part gives an overview of Gluster and its architecture and the second part was more hands-on. I felt that hands-on session would be much more helpful if the audience understood what is gluster and how various component gel together.

So in the first part I covered the basics of Gluster. e.g. trusted storage pool, nodes, bricks, volumes, etc. It is crucial that the audience understand these terms before we jump into anything. After that we introduced the translator concepts to the audience. This is one of the major feature which makes gluster so modular. Each translators provide unique functionality. Translators in Gluster are stackable therefore you can stack one or more translators to get your required feature set.

Then we explained various volume types in detail. Each volume type provide a unique functionality. It is important to understand the volume type because based on the type of workload or the use-case one has to choose a specific volume type. Apart from the regular volume types we also explained recently introduced volume types, e.g. sharding, disperse, etc.

Apart from the general GlusterFS architecture we also introduced various features like Geo-replication, Snapshots, Data-Tiering, etc.

The second part of the tutorial started after the tea break. Before the start of the tutorial we distributed USB pen drives to all the attendees. These pen drive contains a VirtualBox and KVM image of CentOS with GlusterFS pre-installed. Most of them managed to copy VirtualBox image without any problem, but as usual one or two people did face some minor hiccups.

Poornima started the hands-on session with Gluster installation and setup. We wanted to showcase how easily we can install and configure Gluster. she also gave a live demo so that attendees can try Gluster by themselves. We took some examples to show case how to setup volumes, how to expand and shrink the storage associated with the volume. In this context we also discussed the role of rebalance and Self-Heal Daemon (SHD). Near the end we also covered general Gluster troubleshooting.

Overall the session was very interactive and attendees asked lots of questions during the course of the training. Most of the questions were based on the tutorial slides, but some questions were based on previous experience with Gluster as well.

During the break time and after the session we had informal discussions with few attendees, which was very informative and helpful. This also made me realize that we should do more such sessions to spread the Gluster word.

The tutorial materials and the presentations can be found in the following link:

We also have pre-recorded multiple demos for various Gluster use-cases. These recordings are also available in the above mentioned link. These links would be useful to learn more about Gluster.


  • 06 Dec 2020
    Looking back at 2020 – with g...

    2020 has not been a year we would have been able to predict. With a worldwide pandemic and lives thrown out of gear, as we head into 2021, we are thankful that our community and project continued to receive new developers, users and make small gains. For that and a...

    Read more
  • 27 Apr 2020
    Update from the team

    It has been a while since we provided an update to the Gluster community. Across the world various nations, states and localities have put together sets of guidelines around shelter-in-place and quarantine. We request our community members to stay safe, to care for their loved ones, to continue to be...

    Read more
  • 03 Feb 2020
    Building a longer term focus for Gl...

    The initial rounds of conversation around the planning of content for release 8 has helped the project identify one key thing – the need to stagger out features and enhancements over multiple releases. Thus, while release 8 is unlikely to be feature heavy as previous releases, it will be the...

    Read more