An interview with Red Hat’s James Shubin (or, “Why Puppet-Gluster is the bee’s knees”)

The next interview we held at the DevNation Hackathon in San Francisco is with James Shubin.

James Shubin
James Shubin, awkwardly caught on camera

Who are you?

I’m James Shubin, a configuration management architect in the systems engineering group at Red Hat. Before that, I was a “random hacker” who started using GlusterFS before the acquisition by Red Hat. I also write a technical blog named The Technical Blog of James.

Are you the kind of random hacker who builds things?

Yes, I do a lot of configuration management stuff. I created a Puppet module to deploy GlusterFS. I built it because I wanted to automate the testing of different configurations. When GlusterFS added a command line management utility, I had to rewrite the module from scratch, and it kept evolving as people requested features. Then a year ago, I met John Mark Walker, which lead to my work as a consultant on Gluster. After that, I was asked to stay on permanently.

Tell us about Puppet-Gluster

Puppet-Gluster is an easy way to automate or try out GlusterFS. So if you’re testing GlusterFS, evaluating it, trying out certain setups or parameters for performance, or testing and managing a production set up…it can do all those things. From my laptop I can build a whole Gluster pool in 10 to 15 minutes.

Puppet-Gluster is a Puppet module for the Puppet configuration management tool. For example, if you have a RAID array to partition–a technical task–you have to ensure the 512-byte blocks are aligned with the file system. If you don’t align them, this will kill your performance. If you use Puppet-Gluster, it’s all done for you. It also installs the GlusterFS packages, manages the peering and creates the volumes. I even have algorithms that figure out the optimal brick layout. You can also do chained layouts. If there are special brick layouts you may want to use, or try a weird layout, we can support that too.

People might think that GlusterFS is not good because it isn’t configured properly. But if you use Puppet-Gluster to setup GlusterFS, it helps to ensure you get a great out-of-the-box experience.

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