[OpenAFS] OpenAFS in the ISP environment. A good idea...

Leland J. Steinke steinkel@pa.net
Thu, 06 Mar 2003 10:34:59 -0500

... or not?

We are considering moving our customer storage (POP mailboxes at first, but 
maybe personal web space, and configuration settings) to an OpenAFS cell with 
each customer having their own volume and the volumes spread across several 
machines in the cell.  We want to use maildir for mailbox storage (yes, I saw 
the earlier messages about maildir and hard-links in AFS, so we are testing the 
possibilities of changing the link() calls to rename()s).

I doubt that the ratio of clients (SMTP, POP, FTP, and web servers) to OpenAFS 
servers will ever get above 2:1, if that might be an issue.

I have many questions, but here are three questions that have not been discussed 
on openafs-info recently, if at all:

1)  Is this a "Good Idea" or are we setting ourselves up for a disaster due to 
performance/scalability issues?  AFS seems much more stable than more recent 
distributed file systems and much more scalable than NFS or Samba.  The main AFS 
clients and servers will be RedHat Linux 7.3 or 8.X boxes.

2)  How many volumes can we reasonably expect to fit in a single cell?  Earlier 
discussions mentioned 40K, 60K, and 100K+ volumes per cell;  we would be looking 
at few, if any, backup volumes and most volumes will be read/write.  A related 
question is how many volumes can fit on a single disk partition before things 
start to break?  archov-doc.pdf mentions a maximum of 3500, but that document is 
over ten years old.

3)  What is the status and future of OpenAFS, if my reading of IBM's 
discontinuation of support for AFS is correct?  Is AFS a technology just waiting 
to explode across the Internet (I saw Avi Freedman's endorsement of AFS over NFS 
in the premier issue of ACM Queue this month.) or is it a niche technology 
looking for the right time to die?

I have not looked at Arla, but I imagine that the answers to these questions 
about OpenAFS will apply to it as well.

(OK, so it was five questions...)

Please forgive me, I started playing with OpenAFS two weeks ago.