GFS: Fundamental Paradigm Shift or One-off Oddity?
As regular readers know, I believe that the current model of enterprise storage is badly broken. When I see something that blows that model away I like to learn more. In particular, I assess the marketability of the innovation. So a cool technology, like GFS or backup compression, makes me wonder if and how customers would buy it.
This article offers a 100,000 foot view of GFS by way assessing its commercial viability. If you want a technical article about GFS, I can only recommend The Google File System by Ghemawat, Gobioff, & Leung, from which this article draws heavily. The Wikipedia article, oddly, isn’t very good on GFS (as of 5-16-06). If you don’t have a BS/CS or better you’ll likely find Ghemawat et. al. a slog. Probably worthwhile. Good for temporary relief of insomnia.
Google From Space
GFS is one of the key technologies that enables the most powerful general purpose cluster in history. While most IT folks lose sleep over keeping the Exchange server backed up for a couple of thousand users, Google’s infrastructure both supports massive user populations and the regular roll out of compute and data intensive applications that would leave most IT ops folks gibbering in fear. How do they do it?