If I were to have my clients access the storage via the GlusterFS client would I still need to setup a site cluster and assign a VIP?
In the "Scale out NAS" setup using Gluster, you have two options to connect the client to storage via NFS protocol or GlusterFS client.
If you are using the native Gluster Client from a Linux server there are no additional steps required to make a volume highly-available as it will communicate with the server nodes to get the peer status information and will then communicate directly with each appliance.
An HA VIF is recommended for NFS/CIFS access. When accessing Gluster Volumes via NFS and SMB additional steps are required to make the storage highly available.
This is because SMB and NFS clients communicate with a specific IP address associated with a single appliance at a time.
If the appliance serving storage to an NFS client is turned off then the IP address that was used by the client must "float" to another node to ensure continued access to storage on that interface.
The Gluster native client for Linux automatically tracks the availability of the nodes for a Gluster Volume and will elect to use those online in the event of a failure.
We have more detail including diagrams in our documentation here: