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MinIO and GlusterFS as Storage Solutions

Updated: May 7

Living in a world where data is integral, it is imperative to take advantage of a storage solution offering efficiency and scalability. Businesses have increased their demands when it comes to performance. They value tangible results more than ever. After all, success is on the line with proper data management.


There will always come a time when storage solutions cannot reach their current demands and business goals. Whether problems arose on the existing storage or the database lacked sufficient space, this can harm their delivery and services. Acquiring storage solutions from providers like MinIO and GlusterFS supports fast-growing applications. MinIO works as an object storage system while GlusterFS works as a file storage system. However, both can also work as a cluster and eliminate a single point of failure. As a result, companies can be confident that their storage performs as needed.


This article will discuss one of the most notable Storage-as-A-Service providers, MinIO and GlusterFS.


Differences Between MinIO and GlusterFS

Although MinIO gets designed for private cloud infrastructure, it is open-source. Offering distributed object storage solutions, it is suitable for managing and storing unstructured data.


From creating backup files to maintaining photos, videos, and other media on a server, MinIO provides S3 storage functionality. Users can handle files ranging from several kilobytes to a maximum of 5 terabytes.


Here are the valuable features of MinIO that makes it different from GlusterFS:


  • Employs S3 API.

  • Offers Data Redundancy to establish an alternative backup method.

  • High Availability provided through data replication for faster data access.

  • Horizontal and vertical scaling for improved data resilience.

  • Supports multiple Pluggable storage backends for diverse workloads.

  • Both the server and client-end data are encrypted.


MinIO supports multiple KMS implementations, including Hashicorp Vault, AWS-KMS and Google cloud platform secret manager. MinIO can also enable auto-encryption if a valid KMS configuration is specified and the storage backend supports

encrypted objects. Auto-Encryption, if enabled, ensures that all uploaded objects are encrypted using the specified

KMS configuration.


GlusterFS is also free and open-sourced. It is suitable for managing cloud storage and media streaming. In contrast, it can handle large volumes of data, making it incompatible for oft-accessed smaller-sized files. It becomes extremely efficient when paired with Kubernetes to control GlusterFS through the Heketi API.


Here are the valuable features of GlusterFS that makes it different from MinIO:

  • The files are adjustable in terms of size to free up space.

  • Manage files that are beyond petabytes.

  • Since the metadata server is absent, users can scale up or down efficiently.

  • The reduction of metadata allows users to combine different data and objects freely.



How to Use MinIO and GlusterFS as Storage Solutions

Let us tackle the different use-cases and features for using MinIO and GlusterFS as storage solutions:


As mentioned above, MinIO supports several pluggable storage backends for diverse workloads. This storage includes local disk, Kubernetes PVC, NAS, and object storage provided by Public Cloud, like Azure and GCP. Clusters of files are operated by different hosts, having one standalone deployment for either single disks or multiple disks. For instance, disks get hosted by EBS, Google Disk, Ceph RBD, or ISCSI disk. Another possible host for these files is another hard disk directly attached or an NFS back-up folder. Either way, the erasure coding feature allows you to multiply data into smaller chunks. The division of data is vital to scatter them across multiple disks quickly. Disk redundancy is essential for data integrity and to have a back-up in case one disk fails.


Moreover, you can also take advantage of existing object storage solutions to host MinIO. Using Azure blob storage and object storage on Google Cloud Platform, they can serve as an S3 object on top of existing object storage to seamlessly access multiple files on the cloud.

MinIO Features for Managing File Systems


1. Erasure Coding

One significant feature of MinIO that keeps data secure without consuming much storage space is erasure coding. It splits the file into chunks and codes into parity blocks to deliver the highest performance possible.


2.Bitrot Protection

MinIO aims to provide maximum bitrot protection to prevent disk data corruption without the user knowing. Multiple causes of silent data corruption involve aging drives, current spikes, bugs in disk firmware, phantom writes, misdirected reads/writes, driver errors, accidental overwrites, and more. Without MinIO, the data is not only lost but also compromised.


3. WORM Activation

“Write Once Read Many” (WORM) means that no one can ever tamper with it once data gets written. Activating WORM automatically disables all APIs that can potentially modify both object data and metadata.


4. Continuous Data Replication

MinIO continuously replicates a large scale of data from one location to another across data center deployment. Prompting Lambda notifications allows users to calculate delta efficiently. Compared to the traditional method of modifications made per batch, it ensures that all changes get performed at once.


5. Authenticated Encryption Scheme

MinIO utilizes an authenticated encryption scheme to encrypt, decrypt, and authenticate object contents. This encryption scheme operates through either SSE-C for TLS and HTTPS requests, or SSE-S3 for any KMS configurations.


GlusterFS Block Storage

Through block storage, GlusterFS can keep small-sized data on open space in connected Linux computers. In other words, every storage acts as an individual hard drive that can only be operated by the storage administrator (Linux). It locates the storage areas that have sufficient consumable space for certain types of data.


Creating an identifying hash enables quick detection of duplicate data. It is instead of producing another metadata system that can take up extra storage space. From the user interface, the blocks of data can be viewable as directories. There is a unique identifying hash for every data, so users must create a backup before the files get renamed. Otherwise, they may find it challenging to find that data again.


Files have more space to spare than traditional storage solutions, offering scalable systems and transfer protocols. These protocols make scalability easier without jeopardizing data integrity. Simply put, users can store data over time without having to lose access to them. They remain protected and secure even though files pile up over time.

GlusterFS Features for Handling Storage


1. Self-healing

Self-healing occurs when the data replicated blocks are down and the user attempts to modify the file. It integrates the actions that commenced while the block is down.


2. Perform Rebalance Operation

Rebalance operation occurs when an existing volume of data is re-distributed to make way for a new block. Running this command is automatic and does not need manual intervention.


3. Setting Up Geo-Replication

Geo-replication refers to the back-up plan established for recovering lost files. It streamlines the response time for managing data across data centers. The data located between geographically separated servers sync to initialize geo-replication.


4. TLS Encryption

GlusterFS utilizes TLS encryption on Gluster volumes to authenticate authorized users. This TLS encryption requires both the server and client to communicate only using TLS encryption otherwise any attempted connections will be rejected.


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