There is a new revision of this tutorial available for Debian 7 (Wheezy).

Creating An NFS-Like Standalone Storage Server With GlusterFS 3.0.x On Debian Squeeze

This tutorial shows how to set up a standalone storage server on Debian Squeeze. Instead of NFS, I will use GlusterFS here. The client system will be able to access the storage as if it was a local filesystem. GlusterFS is a clustered file-system capable of scaling to several peta-bytes. It aggregates various storage bricks over Infiniband RDMA or TCP/IP interconnect into one large parallel network file system. Storage bricks can be made of any commodity hardware such as x86_64 servers with SATA-II RAID and Infiniband HBA.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use two systems, a server and a client:

  • IP address (server)
  • IP address (client)

Both systems should be able to resolve the other system's hostname. If this cannot be done through DNS, you should edit the /etc/hosts file so that it looks as follows on both systems:

vi /etc/hosts       localhost.localdomain   localhost     server1     client1

# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
::1     localhost ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters

(It is also possible to use IP addresses instead of hostnames in the following setup. If you prefer to use IP addresses, you don't have to care about whether the hostnames can be resolved or not.)


2 Setting Up The GlusterFS Server

GlusterFS is available as a package for Debian Squeeze, therefore we can install it as follows:

apt-get install glusterfs-server

The command

glusterfs --version

should now show the GlusterFS version that you've just installed (3.0.5 in this case):

[email protected]:~# glusterfs --version
glusterfs 3.0.5 built on Jul 13 2010 16:44:21
Repository revision: v3.0.5
Copyright (c) 2006-2009 Gluster Inc. <>
You may redistribute copies of GlusterFS under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
[email protected]:~#

Next we create a few directories:

mkdir /data/
mkdir /data/export
mkdir /data/export-ns

Now we create the GlusterFS server configuration file /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol (we make a backup of the original /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol file first) which defines which directory will be exported (/data/export) and what client is allowed to connect ( =

cp /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol_orig
cat /dev/null > /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol
vi /etc/glusterfs/glusterfsd.vol

volume posix
  type storage/posix
  option directory /data/export

volume locks
  type features/locks
  option mandatory-locks on
  subvolumes posix

volume brick
  type performance/io-threads
  option thread-count 8
  subvolumes locks

volume server
  type protocol/server
  option transport-type tcp
  option auth.addr.brick.allow # Edit and add list of allowed clients comma separated IP addrs(names) here
  subvolumes brick

Please note that it is possible to use wildcards for the IP addresses (like 192.168.*) and that you can specify multiple IP addresses separated by comma (e.g.,

Afterwards we start the GlusterFS server:

/etc/init.d/glusterfs-server start


3 Setting Up The GlusterFS Client

On the client, we can install the GlusterFS client as follows:

apt-get install glusterfs-client

Then we create the following directory:

mkdir /mnt/glusterfs

Next we create the file /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol (we make a backup of the original /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol file first):

cp /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol_orig
cat /dev/null > /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol
vi /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol

volume remote
  type protocol/client
  option transport-type tcp
  option remote-host # can be IP or hostname
  option remote-subvolume brick

volume writebehind
  type performance/write-behind
  option window-size 4MB
  subvolumes remote

volume cache
  type performance/io-cache
  option cache-size 512MB
  subvolumes writebehind

Make sure you use the correct server hostname or IP address in the option remote-host line!

That's it! Now we can mount the GlusterFS filesystem to /mnt/glusterfs with one of the following two commands:

glusterfs -f /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol /mnt/glusterfs


mount -t glusterfs /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol /mnt/glusterfs

You should now see the new share in the outputs of...


[email protected]:~# mount
/dev/sda1 on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
/etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol on /mnt/glusterfs type fuse.glusterfs (rw,allow_other,default_permissions,max_read=131072)
[email protected]:~#

... and...

df -h

[email protected]:~# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1              29G  778M   27G   3% /
tmpfs                 249M     0  249M   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                  244M  100K  244M   1% /dev
tmpfs                 249M     0  249M   0% /dev/shm
                       29G  1.2G   27G   5% /mnt/glusterfs
[email protected]:~#

Instead of mounting the GlusterFS share manually on the client, you could modify /etc/fstab so that the share gets mounted automatically when the client boots.

Open /etc/fstab and append the following line:

vi /etc/fstab

/etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol  /mnt/glusterfs  glusterfs  defaults,_netdev  0  0

To test if your modified /etc/fstab is working, reboot the client:


After the reboot, you should find the share in the outputs of...

df -h

... and...


If modifying /etc/fstab doesn't help, undo your change to /etc/fstab and add this line to /etc/rc.local instead (before the exit 0 line):

vi /etc/rc.local

/bin/mount -t glusterfs /etc/glusterfs/glusterfs.vol /mnt/glusterfs

This makes sure the share gets mounted after the network is up.


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From: SDutremble

Can you please comment on your performance findings compared to just using a NFS export?

I would also appreciate your views on the benefits of using GlusterFS compared to using NFS.  Examples of benefits would be best if you could.

Thanks for all your work in providing HowTos.  I read them as soon as I notice them.