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.
ZFS has been around a long time, underpinning one of the most stable operating systems underpinning the Internet.
- October 2001, user level prototyping of ZFS was completed.
- October 2002, the first in-kernel mount of ZFS was completed.
- September 2004, Jeff described why ZFS skipped 64 bits as a file system - data size projections would exceed 64 bits in a decade, so longevity was the concern for data, and this famous quote was made, "That's enough to survive Moore's Law until I'm dead, and after that, it's not my problem."
- June 2005, OpenSolaris was launched with ZFS code.
- October 2005, ZFS was integrated into Solaris.
- November 2005, Jeff Bonwick discusses the launch of ZFS and describes how ZFS solves the RAID Write Hole with RAID-Z.
- December 2005, Matthew Dillon announces plans to port ZFS to DragonflyBSD.
- May 2006, ZFS port to FuseLinux was announced.
- April 2006, Apple started development to port ZFS to MacOSX.
- June 2006, Sun released ZFS for Solaris 10 Update 6/06.
- April 2007, Jeff makes the case why storage should not be offloaded to specialized hardware controllers, shared why Solaris is the natural choice for Storage Appliances and the 3par scenario which drove him and others to push Sun to open source Solaris.
- June 2008, ZFS was announced in Snow Leopard release of MacOSX.
- June 2009, the MacOSX ZFS port was discontinued, and in October 2009 the ZFS source code removed from http://ZFS.MacOSXForge.org/. MacZFS on Google Code had a fork and released ZFS.
- September 2008, Jeff Bonwick and Bill Moore presented at the SNIA Software Developers' Conference, "ZFS: The Last Word in File Systems".
- March 2011, Don Brady, formerly from Apple, started Ten's Complement to bring ZFS to MacOSX with a newer fork of OpenSolaris ZFS code and Alex Blewitt discusses the pros/cons of the MacZFS fork.
- On September of 2008, ZFS on FUSE/Linux 0.5.0 was released.
- April 2009, Oracle acquires Sun Microsystems and ZFS.
- September 2009, deduplication was released under ZFS.
- August 2010, it was leaked that Oracle will stop releasing [ZFS] code before Solaris releases and the Illumos code repository was forked to replace OpenSolaris source code repository.
- September 2010, OpenIndiana distribution was released, to replace the OpenSolaris distribution.
- January 2012, OpenIndiana oi_151a_prestable_0 was released in binary form with ZFS.
- July 2012, Ten's Complement sold it's MacOSX ZFS code to Greenbytes, who released a community version of ZFS on MacOSX in September 2012 called Zevo.
- In September 2012, MartUX distribution of OpenIndiana and Illumos was released for oi_151a on Solaris SPARC.
- August 2012, Alasdair resigns from OpenIndiana as project lead.
- October 2012, OpenIndiana oi_151a_prestable_7 was released in binary form with ZFS, the last release of OpenIndiana (as of June 2013.)
- January 2013, OpenSXCE 2013.01 was born from MartUX for SPARC, based upon Illumos and OpenIndiana.
- February 2013, OpenSolaris.org shutdown was announced and content of individual projects were moved to http://solaris.java.net/ for future releases. The Solaris Development Portal appeared.
- February 2013, on-line petition to include ZFS in MacOSX 10.9 was produced and hit 3000 signatures in early June 2013.
- March 2013, Oracle released the Solaris ZFS project on Java.Net.
- May 2013, OpenSXCE released 2013.05 release with ZFS, for x86... a later common SPARC and x86 distrubution to come, earlier based upon OpenSolaris, Illumos and OpenIndiana... soon to be based upon DilOS distribution, which is based upon Illumos.
- June 2013, the value of OpenSXCE on DilOS with ZFS was explained on the OpenIndiana mailing list, providing ISV compatibility on a vanilla Illumos core for both Server and Workstation capabilities.
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.
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.