Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Latest ZFS add-ons

ZFS boot support was just integrated (x86/x64 platform for now). It will be available in SXCE build 62.
Yes, we'll be able to boot directly from ZFS - that would definitely make life easier - no more hassle with separate partitions and their sizing, snapshots and clones for / and much easier live upgrade - those are just some examples. In b62 installer won't know about ZFS (yet) so some manual fiddling will be required to install system on ZFS.

Also in b62 gzip compression was integrated into ZFS (additional to ljzb) thanks to Adam Leventhal. It not only can save you lot of space transparently to application but in some workloads it can actually speed up disk access (if there's free CPU, disk IO is a bottleneck and data are good candidate for compression). We've been using zfs built-in compression (ljzb) for quite some time on LDAP servers - on disk database size reduced 2x and we've also gained some performance. It would be interesting to try ZFS/gzip.

Ditto block support for data blocks was integrated in b61. It means that we can set new property per fs basis (zfs set copies=N fs, N=1 by default) to instruct zfs to write N (1-3) copies of data regardless of a pool protection. Like with ditto blocks for meta data if your pool has more vdevs each copy will be on different disk.

ZFS support for iSCSI was integrated in b54. It greatly simplifies exposing ZVOLs via iSCSI in the same way sharenfs simplifies sharing file systems over nfs.

In case you haven't noticed 'zpool history' feature was integrated into b51. It stores zfs commands history in a pool itself so you can see what was happening.

Of course lots of bug and performance fixes were also integrated recently.


John said...

I couldn't tell from either the ARC or the code... Will this require a full disk to be devoted to ZFS, or will I be able to use my laptop ( or any other dual-boot machine for that matter ) ?

mrak said...

Oh, it's wonderful. I just wrote an article about ZFS and noted there that direct boot from ZFS is impossible. Now it is real! Great!

And copies=N beats Google FS! They have hardcoded copies=3, and no RAID and things.. Now ZFS is much better!

milek said...

John - of course you'll be able to use it in dual-booted environemnts - you don't have to give it entire physical disk.

Mrak - where this article will be published? Is it available online?

GoogleFS - keep in mind they have a shared file system so each copy is on different server. It's a very different beast.

trey said...


Anonymous said...

Could this perhaps be what Apple has been awaiting in order to announce a final Leopard release date or RC? Are there any other "third party" items such as dtrace, etc. that could also be holding Apple up?