[OpenAFS] OpenAFS in a production environment

Mike Polek mike@pictage.com
Fri, 12 Aug 2005 17:16:56 -0700

Hi, Sean,
   I'd say Lester gave an excellent overview of a lot of the
pros and cons for using AFS, so I'll try not to repeat what
he said.
   We use AFS for storing LOTS of images. We're up to about
85TB and will probably be over 100TB in a couple of months.
For our setup, AFS is a match made in heaven, as we have
data that we need replicated at remote locations. It also
has the advantage of *very* large scalability and a
uniform namespace. You can find a place for just about
   As long as you are using a platform that is stable and
that most other people are using, you're in pretty good
shape. We're using Linux of the RedHat/Fedora variety
and have found it to be very stable. If you use a platform
that most others are using, the *real* bugs get fixed
quickly. If you use an esoteric platform... well...
you become the main debugger, I think.
   One of the biggest hurdles is learning to manage a cell.
Understanding all the different concepts and how everything
is interwoven is a bit daunting at first. Once you get used
to it, it's second nature... but then training up the next
person when you have personnel changes can be something of
an adventure. The good news is that there is a friendly
user community willing to offer tips/advice/etc.
   At the risk of repeating Lester... backups are ... interesting.
We use custom software for most of our data. We do native
AFS backups for general storage volumes. I wrote some
custom scripts to make that easier, including a good chunk
of perl code to interface with our tape library using
mtx. (I'd like to post this at some point to see if it
could be useful for others... if anyone is interested in
a preview, let me know. It's for an Overland library with
LTO drives. Standard SCSI stuff. It will do automatic tape
changes if you do your barcodes nicely.)
   To answer your question about "is it only the people who have
problems that we hear from"... I think the answer is mostly
"yes"... I'm pretty quiet on the list when things are running
smoothly, and we've been using AFS for about 3 years now with
few problems. This forum and the devel forum are largely about
fixing problems and suggesting enhancements. So what you see
here is largely all about what isn't working. If you come to
the BestPractices conference, you get to hear some folks talk
about what IS working...

   And on that note... many thanks to all the developers, testers,
and contributors to OpenAFS. You are a daily part of my life...
perhaps that's what they mean by "community"...

Take care,
Mike Polek
Pictage, Inc.

 > Message: 8
 > Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 16:15:37 -0500
 > From: Sean Kelly <smkelly@rooster.creighton.edu>
 > To: openafs-info@openafs.org
 > Subject: [OpenAFS] OpenAFS in a production environment
 > I've been stalking this mailing list for a few months now while pondering
 > the possibility of deploying an AFS setup in my environment. However, while
 > reading this list I've not been able to get a firm idea of how stable
 > OpenAFS is.