Comparing GlusterFS and Zadara NAS at AWS

True NAS, clustering, high availability, cost, performance, rich features and support: Advantages of Zadara™ NAS-as-a-service in Amazon AWS 


Many customers that need NAS with clustering capabilities at Amazon AWS, have used GlusterFS as a solution to accomplish that. But GlusterFS implementation on AWS suffers from various drawbacks as it runs on a user-managed software stack over multiple VM’s with dependency on the capabilities of Amazon’s EBS.

The Zadara Storage Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA™) service was built from the ground up for the cloud, to offer customers the same control and robust capabilities of enterprise-grade NAS and SAN arrays, but with the flexibility, elasticity, scalability and cost efficiency of the cloud. 

The Zadara VPSA service offers true NAS-as-a-service at AWS. With NFS connect over IP and a rich set of enterprise-class features, VPSA provides customers with superior performance, data encryption and an on-demand, pay-as-you-go cloud structure,- all utilizing the powerful cloud platform of AWS. 

Some of the advantages of using Zadara NAS vs. Gluster at AWS:

1 – Zadara Storage is truly “as-a-service”

To provide NAS, GlusterFS needs to run on one or more VMs of the customer, which means that the maintenance of the software stack needs to be performed by the customer. This software stack can be both cumbersome, due to management and compatibility, and is more prone to errors.

Zadara Storage provides an IP address that connects directly into the NAS device, and the customer can simply consume the storage. There are no software stacks that need to be built and then maintained, upgraded, or debugged. And Zadara’s CloudFabric™ architecture, on which the VPSA service is based, has no single point of failure. 

2 – Zadara Storage offers customers a dedicated choice of hardware and full control

GlusterFS runs on top of Amazon EBS. This means that whatever EBS can’t do, Gluster cannot do either, such as choosing your hardware to best support your workload, capacity, performance and cost needs. 

Zadara Storage has its own independent hardware proximate to Amazon Web Services, which allows us to provision dedicated drives per customer (offering better performance and advanced security features). 

Better yet, we give our customers their choice of drives to best fit their workload needs; from high performance SSDs, designed for demanding applications requiring 1000’s and 10000’s of IOPS, to 3TB repository drives that support applications that necessitate large capacities at an inexpensive cost, and multiple choices of other SAS and SATA drives at various capacities and speeds.

Zadara’s as-a-service model allows customers to tune drives, performance, and costs up or down, on an hourly basis. 

3 – Zadara Storage offers superior performance, consistent throughput and IOPS

Gluster’s performance is dependent on EBS performance, which has limited performance and consistency, even under provisioned IOPS.

Zadara Storage NAS runs on Zadara’s hardware, which is independent of AWS. Customers each receive dedicated drives and virtual controllers (called “Zadara Engines”) which run on dedicated CPU cores and memory. Better yet, every volume has 4 QoS controls: Read IOPS, Write IOPS, Read Throughput, and Write Throughput, and the on-demand structure allows customers to tune up or down according to need. 

4 – True High Availability

Due to the dependency and software stack on top of EBS, GlusterFS has several challenges for high availability:

  • A single EBS to EC2 mount point
  • EBS < single point of failure
  • EC2-based Gluster file server < single point of failure
  • Single Availability Zone (AZ) < single point of failure.

In order to avoid these, a customer would need to configure multiple EC2 machines running Gluster and would need to deploy, maintain and troubleshoot these cluster configuration himself.

Zadara Storage VPSA service is true high availability at every level, with a self-healing structure that provides 100% availability (backed by an SLA) and full business continuity: 

  • Our virtual controllers have redundant cores, memory and networks with automatic failover from active to standby cores with automatic migration of IP addresses
  • VPSA disks have redundancy using user-selectable RAID 1, RAID 5 or RAID 6, as well as redundant disk paths and an automatic rebuild in the event of disk failure
  • All 10Gb pipe networking paths are redundant Direct Connect paths
  • Available in multiple Availability Zones (AZ’s) and regions, VPSA can be mounted to multiple EC2 instances across multiple AZ’s, including coast to coast replication for disaster recovery.

5 – Zadara Storage is a lower cost solution

GlusterFS’s need for expensive instances for deployment, along with GlusterFS licensing and support costs, adds several additional expense layers to the overall cost of the solution.

Zadara’s cost calculation is based upon:
1.  Size of Zadara Engine (larger sizes have more CPU and RAM)
2.  Quantity and type of drives 
3.  Encryption features (data-at-rest and data-in-flight) 
4.  Enterprise Suite (a set of Enterprise-grade data management features)

Zadara provides customers clear and full oversight of their spending, with full control. 

6 – Zadara Storage includes a rich enterprise-grade feature set

GlusterFS NAS deployment only provides the NFS protocol access. 

Zadara Storage VPSA, which provides NFS and iSCSi, includes a rich set of enterprise-class storage features, far beyond clustering and true high availability. These features offer advanced throughput and IOPS tuning, thin provisioning, metering, encryption choices, mirroring and remote replication for business continuity, detailed snapshot control and much more. (Watch out for a big announcement coming up with more details on our latest added features.) 

7 – Support

The public cloud has been notorious for inconsistent support. Zadara Storage VPSA was built for enterprises that require true 24×7 support and business continuity. Our support provides direct contact to a team of Zadara engineers who work 1:1 with each customer to resolve any question as quickly and efficiently as possible.  

To learn more about our Enterprise storage-as-a-service and NAS offering at AWS, contact our sales team and take advantage of our free trial.  

Zadara VPSA are available at the following Amazon AWS locations:
US-West, US-East, Japan (launching September 2013), and the UK (launching September 2013).

Zadara Storage is an AWS Technology Partner. 

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