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[2]: Comment by agrouf
by jwwf on Tue 22nd Apr 2008 16:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by agrouf"
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It's not just that. It's maintainability. When features get added to the wrong layer, it means code redundancy, wasted developer effort, wasted memory, messy interfaces, and bugs that get fixed in one filesystem, but remain in the others.

It does make a difference just how many filesystems you care about supporting. The Linux philosophy is to have one that is considered standard, but to support many. If Sun is planning for ZFS to be the "be all and end all" filesystem for *Solaris, it is easy to see them coming to a different determination regarding proper layering. Neither determination is wrong. They just have different consequences.

Perhaps btrfs will someday implement all of ZFS's goodness in the Linux Way. I confess to being a bit impatient with the state of Linux filesystems today. But not enough to switch to Solaris. I guess one can't expect to have everything.

This is a good, balanced explanation. I think the question is whether the features provided by ZFS are best implemented in a rethought storage stack. In my opinion, the naming of ZFS is a marketing weakness. I would prefer to see something like "ZSM", expanding to "meaningless letter storage manager". Calling it a FS makes it easy for people to understand, but usually to understand incorrectly.

I see ZFS as a third generation storage manager, following partitioned disks and regular LVMs. Now, if the ZFS feature set can be implemented on a second generation stack, I say, more power to the implementors. But the burden of proof is on them, and so far it has not happened.

I too am impatient with the state of Linux storage management. For better or worse, I just don't think it is a priority for the mainline kernel development crew, or Red Hat, which, like it or not, is all that matters in the commercial space. I think ext3 is a stable, well-tuned filesystem, but I find LVM and MD to be clumsy and fragile. Once ext4 is decently stable, I would love to see work on a Real Volume Manager (tm).

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