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BeeGFS on NetApp with E-Series Storage

Overview, key concepts, and terminology

Contributors iamjoemccormick

Learn how to administer BeeGFS HA clusters after they have been deployed.


This section is intended for cluster administrators that need to manage BeeGFS HA clusters after they are deployed. Even those familiar with Linux HA clusters should thoroughly read this guide as there are a number of differences in how to manage the cluster, especially around reconfiguration due to the use of Ansible.

Key Concepts

While some of these concepts are introduced on the main terms and concepts page, it is helpful to reintroduce them in the context of a BeeGFS HA cluster:

Cluster Node: A server running Pacemaker and Corosync services and participating in the HA cluster.

File Node: A cluster node used to run one or more BeeGFS management, metadata, or storage services.

Block Node: A NetApp E-Series storage system that provides block storage to file nodes. These nodes do not participate in the BeeGFS HA cluster as they provide their own standalone HA capabilities. Each node consists of two storage controllers that provide high availability at the block layer.

BeeGFS service: A BeeGFS management, metadata or storage service. Each file node will run one or more services that will use volumes on the block node to store their data.

Building Block: A standardized deployment of BeeGFS file nodes, E-Series block nodes, and the BeeGFS services running on them that simplifies scaling out a BeeGFS HA cluster / file system following a NetApp Verified Architecture. Custom HA clusters are also supported, but often follow a similar building block approach to simplify scaling.

BeeGFS HA Cluster: A scalable number of file nodes used to run BeeGFS services backed by block nodes to store BeeGFS data in a highly available fashion. Built on industry-proven open-source components Pacemaker and Corosync using Ansible for packaging and deployment.

Cluster services: Refers to Pacemaker and Corosync services running on each node participating in the cluster. Note it is possible for a node to not run any BeeGFS services and just participate in the cluster as a "tiebreaker" node in the event there is only a need for two file nodes.

Cluster resources: For each BeeGFS service running in the cluster you will see a BeeGFS monitor resource and a resource group containing resources for BeeGFS target(s), IP address(es) (floating IPs), and the BeeGFS service itself.

Ansible: A tool for software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment, enabling infrastructure as code. It is how BeeGFS HA clusters are packaged to simplify the process of deploying, reconfiguring and updating BeeGFS on NetApp.

pcs: A command line interface available from any of the file nodes in the cluster used to query and control the state of nodes and resources in the cluster.

Common Terminology

Failover: Each BeeGFS service has a preferred file node it will run on unless that node fails. When a BeeGFS service is running on non-preferred/secondary file node it is said to be in failover.

Failback: The act of moving BeeGFS services from a non-preferred file node back to their preferred node.

HA pair: Two file nodes that can access the same set of block nodes are sometimes referred to as an HA pair. This is a common term used throughout NetApp to refer to two storage controllers or nodes that can "take over" for each other.

Maintenance Mode: Disables all resource monitoring and prevents Pacemaker from moving or otherwise managing resources in the cluster (also see the section on maintenance mode).

HA cluster: One or more file nodes running BeeGFS services that can failover between multiple nodes in the cluster to create a highly available BeeGFS file system. Often file nodes are configured into HA pairs that are able to run a subset of the BeeGFS services in the cluster.