Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What is GPFS?
The IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) provides unmatched
performance and reliability with scalable access to critical file data. GPFS
distinguishes itself from other cluster file systems by providing concurrent
high-speed file access to applications executing on multiple nodes of an AIX
cluster, a Linux cluster, or a heterogeneous cluster of AIX and Linux nodes. In
addition to providing file storage capabilities, GPFS provides storage
management, information life cycle tools, centralized administration and
allows for shared access to file systems from remote GPFS clusters.
GPFS provides scalable high-performance data access from a two node
cluster providing a high availability platform supporting a database application,
for example, to 2,000 nodes or more used for applications like modeling
weather patterns. Up to 512 Linux nodes or 128 AIX nodes with access to
one or more file systems are supported as a general statement and larger
configurations exist by special arrangements with IBM. The largest existing
configurations exceed 2,000 nodes. GPFS has been available on AIX since
1998 and Linux since 2001. It has proven time and again on some of the
world's most powerful supercomputers1 to provide efficient use of disk
GPFS was designed from the beginning to support high performance
computing (HPC) and has been proven very effective for a variety of
applications. It is installed in clusters supporting relational databases, digital
media and scalable file serving. These applications are used across many
industries including financial, retail and government applications. Being tested
in very demanding large environments makes GPFS a solid solution for any
size application.
GPFS supports various system types including the IBM System p™ family
and machines based on Intel® or AMD processors such as an IBM System
x™ environment. Supported operating systems for GPFS Version 3.2 include
AIX V5.3 and selected versions of Red Hat and SUSE Linux distributions.
This paper introduces a number of GPFS features and describes core
concepts. This includes the file system, high availability features, information
lifecycle management (ILM) tools and various cluster architectures.

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