The Future of HekaFS

A lot of people have asked me about what the acquisition of Gluster by Red Hat means for HekaFS. In the interests of transparency I’m going to share a bit of my thinking on that, but I should be extra-careful to note that none of this represents the official position or plans of Red Hat. These are just my own personal predictions, or even hopes. I can influence the official direction to some extent, but I’m like the tenth guy down the totem pole when it comes to making actual decisions.

The main thing is that HekaFS as a separate project is likely to go away, in favor of having its functionality rolled piece by piece into GlusterFS. This is actually a very good thing for the HekaFS “vision” in much the same way that the acquisition itself was a very good thing for the Gluster vision. When Gluster was a partner, I personally went to great pains to make sure there was some differentiation between GlusterFS and HekaFS, to preserve their identity and business model. This was consistent with Red Hat’s corporate mission to support other open-source communities instead of crushing them (contrast to some of our partners/competitors). Now that we’re all part of the same family, that differentiation is no longer necessary and can only sow confusion. Having HekaFS become part of GlusterFS also brings several more concrete advantages.

  • The HekaFS functionality can be more tightly integrated with the GlusterFS management infrastructure. Having our separate CLI and GUI is a bit of a pain for both developers and users. Having tenant and certificate/key management be part of the GlusterFS UI will be much nicer for everyone. This is still a work in progress, regardless of whether HekaFS maintains a separate identity, but when we’re done it will be a great improvement.
  • HekaFS can now “piggyback” on GlusterFS’s greater access to the user-experience, documentation, QA, support and other infrastructure at Red Hat. It might seem odd that HekaFS didn’t already have that access, being at Red Hat and everything, but that’s the way it is. HekaFS was an “outbound” project, enhancing and contributing to an external upstream project. GlusterFS’s status as an “inbound” project contributing to Fedora or to Red Hat subscription-based products was completely separate from that. It’s the inbound status that brings access to all that other goodness. That status is strengthened by Gluster becoming Red Hat Storage, and now HekaFS becomes an inbound project as well.
  • This might get me out of the project leader/evangelist role, and back to design/coding. I’m not going to comment on squishy feelings about that; let’s focus on the practical effect. There are people associated with Gluster and GlusterFS who are much better at all that other stuff than I am. Anand Babu Periasamy is a better visionary than I am, John Mark Walker is a better community organizer/evangelist, Hitesh and Vidya and Dave and others can do other pieces of that far better than I ever will. I hope I’ll be able to spend more time with Avati and Vijay and Amar and everyone else on the technical side, and together we’re going to kick some ass.

More resources and more focus for planning and community management, more resources and more focus for development, more resources and more focus for just about every other part of making a product . . . what’s not to like? You know all those features I’ve always had to put on the slides at the end, because they’re so far in the future? Like these? Or this? Yeah, getting off the HekaFS dune buggy and onto the Red Hat Storage rocket brings all of those closer. Stay tuned for the official version.