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How ZFS may impact you and Apple's plans
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besson3c
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:18 AM
 
I've been reading and learning a fair bit about ZFS in planning for a storage solution for my business, and the more I think about what this technology represents, the more I think that it will be much bigger than we might think.

A good article here. As I understand it and can summarize, RAID 5 type solutions have always been problematic because they require additional memory to prevent corruption in the form of a loss of parity in the event of a power outage or some other form of disaster. The hardware solutions work, but only up until the buffers fill. However, this is besides the point. The point is, for most people, this is all way too complicated and geeky for anybody to give a rat's ass.

Here is where Mac users might start to care...

There are several Apple products that provide or rely on some sort of external storage: Time Capsule, Time Machine, and AppleTV. As our storage needs grow and we want to store more stuff on a hard drive, we become dependent and hopeful on this disk not failing, and we keep thrashing away at a single disk that the manufacturers continue to build larger and try to make faster at the same time.

We have hot swappable drive technology, we have solid state drives here now, and we also have modern file systems like ZFS. Instead of just building larger and larger disks, at some point wouldn't it make sense to go the same direction that the processor manufacturers went in building multicore processors in building multi-drive systems? We can make them pretty small now, so this might even be applicable to laptop owners.

The other thing is, current hard drives are probably the most susceptible piece of hardware in our computers to damage/corruption. Solid state drives will help a great deal, but it looks like we are even closer to going that next step in a truly plug and play grandma friendly sort of RAID system built off of software. This system could fail over to the spare drive in the event of failure, and allow you to easily add storage as you desire.

Yes, this is not terribly practical right now with something like a laptop, but who is to say that we won't be able to miniaturize storage enough to fit a few flash drive sized removable storage disks of some sort in a laptop sometime in the near future?

I think the benefits can go even beyond that. Instead of sort of recreating the wheel in having direct attach storage on the AppleTV, Time Capsule, and a lot of storage that is wasted on our own hard drives, we have fast ethernet and wireless N now, why now a little storage appliance for the household built with x number of removable drives?

It just seems like a lot of progress is being made to remove a lot of these barriers and change how we think of storage in software advances, solid state drives, building RAIDs, etc. I bet this is something that becomes even more mainstream in the coming years, multi-drive NAS systems already seem fairly popular now.

The one short term and somewhat tangential problem that would be nice to solve with ZFS is the ability to increase performance by adding more disks. You get this with a traditional RAID-5 system where parity is stored in some data blocks shared among disks, as I understand it, but with ZFS RAID-Z every single file has its own checksum that is written to every disk in the pool, and whenever there is a discrepency it "self heals". This is one of ZFS's virtues and downsides. It solves the aforementioned problem with RAID-5 and makes software RAID-5 something that is far more practical, but every disk has to be a part of every write. Maybe this isn't the case for reading though, I'm still learning...

The other big advantage to ZFS is that it will completely transform the whole idea of backups with its ability to take snapshots (speeding up your incremental backups by significant margins), and the ability to encrypt files at the file system level will certainly be of value to those with sensitive information.

What do you think? When Apple finally at long last adopts something like ZFS, can you see them offering a very Apple-like storage appliance for households and businesses that changes our whole notion of organizing IT and allocating resources in growable, specially optimized storage pools?
     
CharlesS
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:24 AM
 
It seems like the biggest way that ZFS manages to impact me is by making me frustrated each time a new version of OS X comes out and ZFS isn't in it.

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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:37 AM
 
There's that too!

I need to learn more about the licensing bottlenecks with ZFS, because I don't quite understand how FreeBSD is about to unveil bootable ZFS in FreeBSD 8 any day now, how you can get ZFS via FUSE in Linux with caveats, but Apple can't work out something with Sun even though they were able to work out adding Exchange support to Snow Leopard with Microsoft? I would gladly have part of my OS X purchase cost go towards a ZFS license.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:48 AM
 
So would I. If nothing else, it would make Time Machine a whole lot better.

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moep
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Oct 3, 2009, 04:14 AM
 
I suspect the guys at Apple think they can do better and prefer to roll their own successor to HFS+.
And really, ZFS’s future isn’t very bright... Oracle will most likely let it die in favor of BTRFS. Lots of Sun developers were already shifted away from ZFS and to the BTRFS team.
That’s also why nifty features such as deduplication are still not implemented even though they were scheduled for Q02/09 (before Oracle bought Sun).
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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 04:23 AM
 
I'd be surprised if Apple can do better, this doesn't seem to be where their strengths lie.

It will be interesting to see how quickly BTRFS phases out ZFS and how soon it makes it into Linux (it looks like the incremental step, ext4, will be the default in the next Ubuntu). It will suck for the FreeBSD team to have to potentially discard their work on ZFS should it become abandoned.
     
Paco500
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Oct 3, 2009, 04:52 AM
 
I thought ZFS was open source. Would Apple truly have to license it?
     
tooki
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Oct 3, 2009, 06:04 AM
 
The "add another disk and forget it" is what the Drobo does. Users who don't understand RAID are exactly its target market.
     
nonhuman
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Oct 3, 2009, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'd be surprised if Apple can do better, this doesn't seem to be where their strengths lie.

It will be interesting to see how quickly BTRFS phases out ZFS and how soon it makes it into Linux (it looks like the incremental step, ext4, will be the default in the next Ubuntu). It will suck for the FreeBSD team to have to potentially discard their work on ZFS should it become abandoned.
BTRFS has been in the Linux kernel since 2.6.29. People are already using it full time in their systems. At this point I believe the holdup is basically BTRFS support in GRUB 2.
     
nonhuman
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Oct 3, 2009, 12:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Paco500 View Post
I thought ZFS was open source. Would Apple truly have to license it?
It's open source, but under Sun's CDDL. I don't know what the implications of this are for Apple, but the CDDL is incompatible with the GPL, which is why ZFS isn't, and most likely never can be, included in the Linux kernel.
     
analogue SPRINKLES
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Oct 3, 2009, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The "add another disk and forget it" is what the Drobo does. Users who don't understand RAID are exactly its target market.
I heard the Drobo is a bitch to get running right with Time Machine though for some reason.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 01:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
BTRFS has been in the Linux kernel since 2.6.29. People are already using it full time in their systems. At this point I believe the holdup is basically BTRFS support in GRUB 2.
They shouldn't be though, because it's still a work in progress... Stuff like RAID-5 and RAID-6 are still in development, for instance. I don't see the wisdom behind being the first person on the block to use something as important as a file system, you are asking for trouble if you do this.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 02:00 PM
 
Drobo looks very cool, but I frankly don't know if I would trust their proprietary and relatively unknown BeyondRAID scheme with important data. According to the Wikipedia page, some users reported a lack of performance, reliability, and data loss.
     
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Oct 3, 2009, 02:25 PM
 
Does the Zombie FileSystem only use undead hard drives?
     
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Oct 3, 2009, 02:53 PM
 
My guess is that ZFS is dead and Oracle is putting all resources onto the development of BTRFS.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't see the wisdom behind being the first person on the block to use something as important as a file system, you are asking for trouble if you do this.
This kind of reasoning might be why Apple is still using HFS+.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
My guess is that ZFS is dead and Oracle is putting all resources onto the development of BTRFS.



This kind of reasoning might be why Apple is still using HFS+.

Well, there are many other file systems that would be an improvement over HFS+ that are considered stable now. I guess Apple just doesn't want to bother with a small incremental improvement, which I suppose makes sense since they've put their users and developers through many changes already, and unless they went with ext chances are there would be no compatibility between the two file systems.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:16 PM
 
^ this.

It doesn't make sense to switch to something that wouldn't be a solid and extensible base for the next twenty years.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 03:39 PM
 
The only catch is how difficult it will be to port BTRFS, which is specifically written for the Linux kernel, to OS X. It may be that ZFS is what sticks with non-Linux, non-Windows operating systems.
     
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Oct 3, 2009, 04:07 PM
 
besson,
let us know how the project goes. I'm doing something similar at work soon: opensolaris, zfs, NFS.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 3, 2009, 04:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The only catch is how difficult it will be to port BTRFS, which is specifically written for the Linux kernel, to OS X.
Not to mention the fact that btrfs is GPLed...

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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
Not to mention the fact that btrfs is GPLed...
Yeah, but I don't see that as a deal breaker. The Webkit is GPLed, and I believe CUPS is too. Apple can work with GPL licenses, and the BSD license too, as I understand it.

The reason Apple may have backed away from ZFS was netApp lawsuit, according to this blog post. Perhaps there were rumors of the Oracle takeover or something too which made them pause a little?

It looks like, for the time being, there is plenty of reason for Oracle to keep both ZFS and BTRFS going strong. Perhaps at some point in the future the two will somehow merge, but for now BTRFS is simply not ready for production use, nor has it matched the feature set of ZFS. It could be years before BTRFS is considered stable.
     
nonhuman
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Oct 3, 2009, 06:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
They shouldn't be though, because it's still a work in progress... Stuff like RAID-5 and RAID-6 are still in development, for instance. I don't see the wisdom behind being the first person on the block to use something as important as a file system, you are asking for trouble if you do this.
I doubt that anyone's using it for mission critical stuff out there, though I do know of a number of people who are using it full time, and have been since before it was included in the kernel (from what I understand, it's actually been quite stable and performant for a while now). But people who are willing to use it and experiment with it are exactly what's needed in order to keep development moving at a rapid pace, these are the people that are finding the edge-case bugs and performance issues that need to be fixed before someone like Apple could even consider using BTRFS.

I've used it myself, though not for extended periods of time, and intend to set up a system using it in the near future for my media PC. I had been using ZFS on FreeBSD, but I just find FreeBSD to be too limiting when it comes to media stuff (and OpenSolaris is really just out of the question right now). BTRFS will allow me to have the features of ZFS what I want (a single storage pool transparently running atop multiple non-identical discs), and the features and potentially stability that it lacks simply don't matter that much when all I'm using it for is storing video files that I won't care about too much if I lose.
     
CharlesS
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Oct 3, 2009, 07:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Yeah, but I don't see that as a deal breaker. The Webkit is GPLed, and I believe CUPS is too. Apple can work with GPL licenses, and the BSD license too, as I understand it.
WebKit and CUPS aren't GPL, they're LGPL. BTRFS, on the other hand, is the plain vanilla GPL as far as I know, which means that if Apple used it, they'd have to release the whole OS under the GPL as well. Needless to say, I don't think they're going to go this route.

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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 3, 2009, 11:28 PM
 
I guess I never thought about that. Surely there are GPL things in OS X, like say, bash, but I suppose that since bash is a standalone sort of thing Apple can justify not making OS X available, whereas BTRFS would be tethered to the kernel. I think the worse case scenario is that Apple would have to make their entire kernel available though, not all of OS X, no?
     
CharlesS
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Oct 4, 2009, 12:26 AM
 
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. But, as I understand it:

If Apple included BTRFS with OS X, the kernel would have to load the code for the BTRFS plug-in. Thus the kernel would have to be GPLed. Also, any libraries or other software that needed to access the file system would have to use the code that called the BTRFS plug-in, and would also need to be GPLed, as would any other libraries or frameworks that loaded those libraries, which would be just about everything, including, eventually, the Carbon and Cocoa frameworks, which means that all Apple's applications would get infected by the GPL virus as well, and as a side effect, all third-party software for OS X would be required to be released under the GPL too.

I don't think you'll see BTRFS in Mac OS X anytime soon.

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nonhuman
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Oct 4, 2009, 08:48 AM
 
Unless Apple decided to go the microkernel route and move the filesystem out of the main kernel to a separate filesystem server. If the filesystem lives in userspace, that should sidestep the issue and allow them to use BTRFS (or any other piece of GPL code). Since OS X uses a hybrid Mach kernel I'd imagine it would be easier for them to move to a microkernel structure than it would otherwise be.
     
moep
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Oct 4, 2009, 01:54 PM
 
Request: Don’t compare the Drobo to a ZFS–based NAS.
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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 4, 2009, 02:27 PM
 
So, what do you guys think, do you think we'll move towards multi-drive systems like we have moved towards multi-processor systems eventually? There has to be a point where it is no longer practical to make single drives larger, faster, and cooler and to rely solely upon them.
     
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Oct 4, 2009, 02:56 PM
 
I don't know how practical multiple drives are. Each drive requires some type of encapsulation, which has trade offs for space (Apple went away from swappable batteries to gain capacity and design improvements created by removing the battery carriage components).

Also most hard drives are generally reliable enough for most consumers; there's not a chorus demanding redundant, pooled storage from Western Digital. The people who need that already know about RAID and ZFS.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 4, 2009, 03:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
I don't know how practical multiple drives are. Each drive requires some type of encapsulation, which has trade offs for space (Apple went away from swappable batteries to gain capacity and design improvements created by removing the battery carriage components).
What about small removable flash drive technology?

Also most hard drives are generally reliable enough for most consumers; there's not a chorus demanding redundant, pooled storage from Western Digital. The people who need that already know about RAID and ZFS.
There is no chorus demanding anything from consumers, but if there is any room for improvement with the design of a PC, it is the failure rate of hard drives. They are the weakest link, IMHO.
     
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Oct 4, 2009, 03:18 PM
 
Small removable flash drive tech is too slow to keep up with a real HD. It would need to be on its own dedicated high-speed bus and fast enough to mirror the primary HDD. This costs power and design space. Those that need this already have multiple SATA slots in a tower.

Solid state drives will eventually obviate the need for mechanical drives, so they won't be the weakest link anymore. HDD could move into the realm of tape: there for backup and archival but not real-time redundancy.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 4, 2009, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
Small removable flash drive tech is too slow to keep up with a real HD. It would need to be on its own dedicated high-speed bus and fast enough to mirror the primary HDD. This costs power and design space. Those that need this already have multiple SATA slots in a tower.

Solid state drives will eventually obviate the need for mechanical drives, so they won't be the weakest link anymore. HDD could move into the realm of tape: there for backup and archival but not real-time redundancy.
I was referring to solid state drives. Once they replace today's SATA drives they could be built small enough to become practical to remove and have several of in a computer, right?

If so, we don't have to wait until they can make them in 1TB, we just provide several slots to pop these small cartridges in to add storage as needed... Is this vision flawed?
     
CharlesS
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Oct 4, 2009, 04:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Unless Apple decided to go the microkernel route and move the filesystem out of the main kernel to a separate filesystem server. If the filesystem lives in userspace, that should sidestep the issue and allow them to use BTRFS (or any other piece of GPL code). Since OS X uses a hybrid Mach kernel I'd imagine it would be easier for them to move to a microkernel structure than it would otherwise be.
Well, if they did that, it would marry OS X to the microkernel architecture forever, since once you've made a file-system your default, you won't be able to remove support for that file system for a long time (notice how OS X still supports regular HFS not-plus drives even in 2009?). And as we've seen, Apple doesn't like to limit its options like that. Especially when you consider the rumors of Apple dropping Mach for a more efficient kernel that have been popping up ever since Avie Tevanian left Apple, I don't think this is a workable solution.

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Oct 5, 2009, 10:19 AM
 
I'm playing with the following at work:
Solaris ZFS -> iSCSI target
3 XServes with iSCSI initiators and XSan

Basically the poor man's XSan, but with some really nice features that you don't get on the expensive FC hardware:
- incremental, instantaneous snapshots (perfect for back ups)
- bitrot protection
- no RAID-5 write hole (well, no need for a battery anyways. besides, copy-on-write is far superior)
- painless expansion of your storage pools

I haven't done performance tests over GigE yet, but these servers don't really need a ton of performance, just capacity.
     
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Oct 5, 2009, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I was referring to solid state drives. Once they replace today's SATA drives they could be built small enough to become practical to remove and have several of in a computer, right?

If so, we don't have to wait until they can make them in 1TB, we just provide several slots to pop these small cartridges in to add storage as needed... Is this vision flawed?
Interestingly, cameras now can use 64 GB Compact Flash cards, and these have real-world read speeds of about 100 MB/s.

So, if a tiny device like a CF card can be that fast and that large in 2009, the future for small SSD drives seems pretty good. That said, it's rare to get even a 1.8" drive in a laptop in 2009, with most laptop SSDs still in the 2.5" size.

P.S.

For those of you Mac Pro owners, how many of you are running RAID? If so, what type and configuration?
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 5, 2009 at 11:28 AM. )
     
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Oct 5, 2009, 11:31 PM
 
We use ZFS for some very large mission critical systems here at work. Works very well with no problems so far (have been running for a couple of years). We use the snapshotting for backups which is great.

Note that you don't need ZFS to do snapshots. They can be done with UFS (and I think with EXT3?), but it's built into ZFS, and very fast, rather than kludged over the top.

Didn't ZFS used to be in Mac OS X Leopard (read-only) a couple of years ago (maybe Mac OS X Server only)? But I believe it is not in Snow Leopard. Does this mean that Apple were going to switch to ZFS, but have changed their mind and are now moving AWAY from ZFS, rather than towards it.
     
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Oct 6, 2009, 04:26 AM
 
Apparently Apple promised it for 10.6 and removed it at the last minute. No one knows for sure why this was done. 10.5 had read-only support, though you could download a rw beta.

Also, what ever happened to the iSCSI initiator they were working on? They axed the XRaid, so it's not like it was going to cannibalize sales.

They tried so hard to push Mac OS X into the enterprise, and now they're messing up all the hard work.
     
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Oct 6, 2009, 09:13 PM
 
I think it's funny that I come back and look in this forum after months and there is a ZFS thread by Besson in the lounge.
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Oct 6, 2009, 10:12 PM
 
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Oct 6, 2009, 11:37 PM
 
@besson
Have a look at this blog. This fellow has written a number of articles on the topic of using ZFS for his home server including a follow-up summarizing his experience after one year. I'm sure you'll find this interesting. He also has experience using SSDs.
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Oct 8, 2009, 03:29 PM
 
the upcoming release of Debian, codenamed Squeeze, will be available in a juicy new FreeBSD flavour alongside the regular Linux version.
source

apt-get install zfs

I think my head just exploded.
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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 8, 2009, 03:34 PM
 
Weird...

I'm not really sure I see the point, but it will be an interesting experiment, I guess.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Oct 8, 2009, 03:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
@besson
Have a look at this blog. This fellow has written a number of articles on the topic of using ZFS for his home server including a follow-up summarizing his experience after one year. I'm sure you'll find this interesting. He also has experience using SSDs.
Thanks for these articles Oreo!

I'm not completely sure whether ZFS would be an adequate replacement for a big enterprise infrastructure of a high performance SAN/RAID or something (where the management of disks and RAID is provided by expensive hardware), but it seems like a very strong solution for just about everything else, if not the former.

I guess the main question mark is its future given the Oracle/Sun takeover.
     
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Oct 8, 2009, 04:05 PM
 
As I've written to you, our storage infrastructure at university (~25k students, lots of research institutes with probably the same number of staff) has been migrated to ZFS (our university uses Sun hardware a lot) and I haven't seen any flaky behavior (which is good). So while I'm not expert to judge whether it is ready for any corporate use, it's certainly good enough for what we do. Our IT staff (especially the head IT guy) is one of those BOFH who is so knowledgeable that he is irreplaceable (since we have a lot of bandwidth, Chinese hackers would love to get their hands on it to send spam to the rest of the world).

Regarding Oracle/Sun, I don't see Sun moving away from ZFS, unless they completely shelve Solaris. ZFS is a lot more mature than BTRFS simply because Sun has had a head start of several years. Perhaps one day BTRFS will get there, but axing ZFS now or any time soon in favor of BTRFS is not going to happen.
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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 8, 2009, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
As I've written to you, our storage infrastructure at university (~25k students, lots of research institutes with probably the same number of staff) has been migrated to ZFS (our university uses Sun hardware a lot) and I haven't seen any flaky behavior (which is good). So while I'm not expert to judge whether it is ready for any corporate use, it's certainly good enough for what we do. Our IT staff (especially the head IT guy) is one of those BOFH who is so knowledgeable that he is irreplaceable (since we have a lot of bandwidth, Chinese hackers would love to get their hands on it to send spam to the rest of the world).
What is this storage used for? Just a general file repository, or something with very heightened I/O requirements, such as email or virtualization?

It seems like the main simultaneous strength and weakness of ZFS is the checksum distribution. Disk I/O is heavier with ZFS' distributed checksum design. Memory consumption can also be high, according to what I've read. This isn't a critique of ZFS necessarily, I'm just saying it isn't necessarily a given that it is safe to dispose of those super expensive SANs in environments with very heavy disk I/O in favor of ZFS, necessarily. It could work out, it is just an unknown to me at this point.

Have you come across any articles or reports of ZFS being used in these sorts of situations?


Also, just so you know, while this is just my gut feeling, I'd say that 25k is a medium sized to small enterprise. Then again, the whole "enterprise" label is pretty loosy goosy (just ask Apple when they called the SATA disk in Time Capsule and "enterprise grade drive"), I've never really heard it defined, I just use it for lack of a better word
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 12, 2009, 10:13 AM
 
Just a few more links concerning Sun and Oracle. They pledge to invest more money into Solaris, SPARC and allude to their track record, saying that even when they've bought companies that make competing products in the past, they have continued to invest in it. Hence, I think ZFS is safe.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What is this storage used for? Just a general file repository, or something with very heightened I/O requirements, such as email or virtualization?
Everything: we have groups that work with the super computer, groups that have their own cluster, we have a big e-mail server that sees a lot of traffic (especially spam, and this server has been running on ZFS for the past 2.5-3 years or so) and groups with very low I/O requirements such as ours. It's very heterogeneous.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It seems like the main simultaneous strength and weakness of ZFS is the checksum distribution. Disk I/O is heavier with ZFS' distributed checksum design. Memory consumption can also be high, according to what I've read. This isn't a critique of ZFS necessarily, I'm just saying it isn't necessarily a given that it is safe to dispose of those super expensive SANs in environments with very heavy disk I/O in favor of ZFS, necessarily. It could work out, it is just an unknown to me at this point.
This is not what has happened: they are using the same hardware as before, but instead of some RAID6 (+ combinations thereof), they use RAIDZ. I'm re-reading the message concerning the switch: they have tested ZFS for two years on our mail server and then moved our NFS servers to ZFS. One of the reasons was that we were (apparently) soon reaching the `inherent limits of UFS' (I'm quoting the mail here). They haven't bought any cheaper hardware, they're using using Sun servers and Sun storage systems. I don't think it's ever planned to `dispose of those super expensive SANs,' saving money isn't one of the objectives here. They really like the on-the-fly error detection and correction.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Have you come across any articles or reports of ZFS being used in these sorts of situations?
Well, no, because I'm not involved in this.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Also, just so you know, while this is just my gut feeling, I'd say that 25k is a medium sized to small enterprise. Then again, the whole "enterprise" label is pretty loosy goosy (just ask Apple when they called the SATA disk in Time Capsule and "enterprise grade drive"), I've never really heard it defined, I just use it for lack of a better word
Size-wise, you're probably right. However, we're part of an infrastructure which serves ~100k students alone (at least 2 universities, 2 colleges, a few tens of research institutes, a super computing center with 2 or three `machines,' several hospitals, etc.). So our resources painted a big fat bulls eye on our servers (we have plenty of bandwidth, we have 2x10 GBit lines and at least one 1 GBit backup line)

However, the move to ZFS concerned only two departments (math and computer science which share a building and IT infrastructure). I have no idea what the other ones are using.
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besson3c  (op)
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Oct 12, 2009, 02:22 PM
 
I don't understand then. Why would they use a SAN as an expensive disk chassis and void their warranty? When you buy a SAN you pay for the proprietary software that is included that allows you to maintain pools, monitor disks and disk failures, run backups/snapshots/clones, phone home when there is a problem, etc. Is the hardware outside of warranty?
     
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Nov 2, 2009, 01:58 PM
 
Monday Nov 02, 2009
You knew this day was coming: ZFS now has built-in deduplication.
ZFS Deduplication : Jeff Bonwick's Blog

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besson3c  (op)
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Nov 2, 2009, 02:26 PM
 
That's very cool... The whole Time Machine strategy is setup around hard links, which while they don't take a whole lot of disk space, they do create additional inodes on the disk. This would be great for TM backups, among other things.

The only thing that I'm slightly weary of is memory consumption. At *least* a gig of RAM is recommended to run ZFS. I need to research to find out how this increases as space is utilized, and what conditions worsen RAM consumption.
     
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Nov 2, 2009, 02:36 PM
 
Sorry for the late reply, real life got crazy the first two weeks of the semester.
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't understand then. Why would they use a SAN as an expensive disk chassis and void their warranty? When you buy a SAN you pay for the proprietary software that is included that allows you to maintain pools, monitor disks and disk failures, run backups/snapshots/clones, phone home when there is a problem, etc. Is the hardware outside of warranty?
Why should that void their warranty? They use Sun servers and Solaris. Using ZFS as file system is an officially supported config, nothing nefarious about it. The RAID cards for sure are bored now

Also: de-duplication also gets my thumbsup -- once I read the blog post so that I understand what it actually is
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