Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Solaris ZFS: Still King for 2013

Filesystems have been the core of OS's for decades, with patches being slung upon patches. Sun released and open sourced ZFS under Solaris 10 with 128 bit computing in mind, with their projection from the life expectancy of UFS, to be good for many decades to come. ZFS has been forked and used under multiple OS distributions while alternate vendors have been cooperating to create a better file system (BTRFS) for years, in order to compete feature-for-feature.
Jeff Bonwick, who spent approximately 20 years at Sun Microsystems, worked with a team of developers to create ZFS, sometimes known as Zetabyte File System, but now known just as ZFS. Dozens upon dozens of OS's have standardized upon some release of ZFS since development started in 2001, with the ZFS source code being worked by Oracle, and also separately by other OS's and OpenSolaris distributions for both SPARC, Intel, and AMD platforms.

A little History:
ZFS has been around a long time, underpinning one of the most stable operating systems underpinning the Internet.
OpenSXCE on DilOS continues the OpenIndiana tradition that OpenSolaris began from Sun Solaris, offering a way forward with ZFS under SPARC, Intel, and AMD platforms.
This effort started with the intention of bringing a ZFS-like file system to Linux. Why go through this effort with all the ZFS porting work happening? This is a good question. With over a decade of work into ZFS, it seems crazy to re-create the wheel now that Oracle owns both efforts, but there was an announcement. In May 2013, BTRFS might arrive at the end of 2013 or early 2014 for distributions. Apparently, this was the promise for the past 3 years.
Network Management Implications:
ZFS is the way of the future, with the rest of the world trying to catch up. Perhaps by this time in 2014, there will be a competitive filesystem. A network management platform would find itself in a very secure place, running on world-class OS hosted by ZFS. Such a world-class ZFS operating system distribution is not hard to find. Solaris 10 is available under SPARC and Intel. Solaris 11 is available under SPARC and Intel. If Oracle licensing does not suit business requirements, binary distributions such as OpenSXCE are looking promising for SPARC, Intel, and AMD platforms with Solaris 10 compatibility. If compatibility is not a requirement, there are dozens of other ZFS related platforms available.

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