Linked by John Finigan on Mon 21st Apr 2008 19:00 UTC
Oracle and SUN When it comes to dealing with storage, Solaris 10 provides admins with more choices than any other operating system. Right out of the box, it offers two filesystems, two volume managers, an iscsi target and initiator, and, naturally, an NFS server. Add a couple of Sun packages and you have volume replication, a cluster filesystem, and a hierarchical storage manager. Trust your data to the still-in-development features found in OpenSolaris, and you can have a fibre channel target and an in-kernel CIFS server, among other things. True, some of these features can be found in any enterprise-ready UNIX OS. But Solaris 10 integrates all of them into one well-tested package. Editor's note: This is the first of our published submissions for the 2008 Article Contest.
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RE: Background articles
by jwwf on Tue 22nd Apr 2008 14:18 UTC in reply to "Background articles"
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Are you, sir, suggesting that I lack real world experience? Well I never...!!

But seriously, there are a few points here which are worth responding to; a careful eye picks out some of the things I could have talked about, but cut to avoid the problem of too many themes in one article:

* There is an important difference between ZFS in Solaris and ZFS in OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris has all the latest and greatest ZFS features, Solaris not yet.

This is true, but frankly I find it unimportant in the last year or so since most of the ZFS features I consider important are in mainline Solaris, since, say, U4. A lot of the dev stuff is either icing, like gzip compression, or far-off alpha stuff, like on-disk encryption.

Sun does support Solaris, but does not offer support for the OpenSolaris builds. My opinion is that with regard to the risk of hitting bugs that the OpenSolaris developer edition builds can be compared to Linux kernel release candidates.

Sure. I, personally, would never recommend that anyone runs a dev version of an OS in a commercial setting. It's rarely worth the hassle.

If there are four filesystems to choose from, this means not every filesystem is suited for every workload. The article does not mention e.g. that when using a single disk, UFS performs better for database workloads than ZFS. This is not a coincidence but is due to the fundamental characteristics of these filesystems (see also Margo Seltzer e.a., File System Logging Versus Clustering: A Performance Comparison, USENIX 1995,

I did allude to this. But I am not sure that that Seltzer paper is an applicable reference because I don't think that the designs of ZFS and LFS are close enough, ie, ZFS is not a pure-play log structured FS and requires no cleaner. I am not even sure the FFS comparison stands because journaling changes a lot, performance wise.

Still, the kernel of the argument is probably that ZFS and LFS both often change sequential IO to random and vice-versa, and this can cause weird performance characteristics. I think that this is true. However, experience (!) has taught me that single disk performance is rarely important, for the simple reason that almost any modern FS can max out a single disk on sequential and random. Putting it another way, if you require performance, you probably need more disks.

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