Red Hat is advancing its storage platform development with Monday’s beta release of Red Hat Storage 2.0. The Red Hat Storage platform is based on the GlusterFS open source filesystem technology that Red Hat acquired in October 2011 for $136 million. In December 2011, Red Hat debuted its first storage appliance based on Gluster. It is now in the process of developing the 2.0 release.

The new Red Hat Storage 2.0 appliance is based on the GlusterFS 3.3 release. The system will also provide components from the open source OpenStack cloud effort to enable unified file and object access.

“GlusterFS already allows users to store and retrieve data as files using traditional file system/NAS interfaces like native Fuse, NFS and CIFS,” Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager, storage, at Red Hat, told “In Red Hat Storage 2.0, object access has been added, based on OpenStack’s Swift, which allows users to store and retrieve content through a simple REST API as objects.”

Rangachari added that unified file and object access is very useful when there is a need for one interface to store data (object) and use another interface to retrieve and process the same data (file).

There are multiple use-cases where unified file and object access will be a benefit. One example cited by Rangachari could be a mobile insurance app that allows users to upload claim information from an accident scene, including pictures, video and text.

“Such an app would use the object access interface (provided by the ReST API) to upload the claim data to the insurance company’s private cloud,” Rangachari explained. “A claim processing application can later access that same claim data to process the claim using a traditional file system interface.”

In addition to leveraging OpenStack Swift, Red Hat Storage 2.0 differs from Red Hat’s traditional Enterprise offerings in terms of the bare metal filesystem. Instead of using EXT4, which is the default for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Storage 2.0 will use the XFS filesystem.

Rangachari commented that XFS handles large files better and has the ability to accommodate much bigger file-system sizes than EXT4. Additionally, XFS has better streaming read and write performance and higher performance for multi-threaded applications and highly parallel workloads.

While Red Hat is now out with the first beta release for Red Hat Storage 2.0. It’s not yet clear as to what the precise date will be for general availability. Rangachari said that no release data has been set yet. Other milestones for beta depend on customer feedback.

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