[OpenAFS] will OpenAFS serve my needs?

F. Even openafslists@elitists.org
Sat, 29 Mar 2008 18:34:45 -0500

I'm trying to figure out if OpenAFS can accomplish what I need it to.

Here are my requirements:

All servers are generally AIX unless specified.

01.  3 file servers in distinct geographic parts of the country (while
of course not the same subnet, all the networks are connected).
02.  Each file server will have files that will be unique (I'm
guessing could be mapped back to unique cells).
03.  Each server will need some kind of failover capability (either
duplicating to a read-only volume or some kind of failover service on
server side).  Needs to be invisible to the client.

All of these file servers will be a repository of files for
applications running on other servers (files will be written from
other servers and read from others).  Original idea was to use NFS
where possible and FTP/SAMBA for clients that do not support NFS

04.  Each server could have files/images/documents/audio/whatever
related to a particular topic.  All these files will need to be
brought together in a shared hierarchy from all of these servers into
one hierarchy.

Initial design was to have one of the file servers act as a
centralized connection point, synchronize all files back to it, and
have all the processing done on it.

I guess I'm curious if I can configure OpenAFS to have space shared
and sychronized, fully writeable, across all 3 of the servers so it
could be mounted as one filesystem or one drive letter (windows
clients).  OR...if this is not possible...how quickly does
synchronization happen?  If a job were run to pull files together on
one server....would the replicated copies get updated fairly quickly?

Right now the plan is:

Application servers NFS mount from the file server in each area, right
out files to it.  Other servers will mount those same spots to take
files and do things w/ them.  Some Windows servers will need to write
files to the servers.  Where they need to write, it was going to be
via FTP.  Windows clients will need to retrieve files after jobs are
ran (the job that will pull files from all the servers).  As of right
now, one server will be chosen as the box that all the files are
copied to for the jobs to run and the server will run SAMBA.  The
windows clients will connect to a directory to pull those files that
have resulted from the job run.  ALSO, Active Directory authentication
needs to be supported (preferably seemlessly).

Would OpenAFS make any of this easier?