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[3]: Comment by agrouf
by segedunum on Tue 22nd Apr 2008 23:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by agrouf"
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I too am impatient with the state of Linux storage management.

I don't see many people sharing your impatience in all honesty. The software RAID subsystem within Linux is pretty good, and has been tested exceptionally well over and over again over a number of years. You need to have spent a reasonable amount of money on a pretty decent hardware RAID set up if you really want something better. That extends to ZFS as well, as software RAID by itself can only take you so far.

The only perceived problem is that you don't get volume management, RAID and other storage management features for free in one codebase. If distributions started partitioning by using LVM by default, created userspace tools that had a consistent command line interface, as well as GUI tools that made LVM and software RAID much more visible and usable, then you'd see them more widely used on a wider variety of systems.

...but I find LVM and MD to be clumsy and fragile.

You're going to have to qualify that one, because LVM and MD software RAID were stable and being used before ZFS was even a glint in Bonwick's eye. Indeed, ZFS has yet to be proven in the same way.

I would love to see work on a Real Volume Manager (tm).

You'll probably see one come about when it becomes a requirement to do storage management on running desktop systems and other appliances. Until that day arrives those who require the features of ZFS are already using hardware RAID and some form of volume management, and beyond that, something like the Veritas Storage System.

That's part of the fallacy I see in some of the hype surrounding ZFS. It's useful and a nice thing to have, especially when compared with what you got in Solaris before, but its significance is overplayed. Most of what's in there is only really useful to people with some pretty large storage arrays, and if you have something that matters to you then you'll already be running hardware RAID of some description and volume management, and if you have money riding on it then you'll use Veritas as they have the tools that make the thing really useful, and it's very well proven having been around for the best part of two decades.

When we do get to a stage where desktop systems and various appliances need these storage capabilities (real home entertainment systems, whenever they actually happen) we'll have far better and affordable solid state or holographic storage, and the vast majority of what ZFS provides that is useful will have been transparently rolled into the hardware and not even software and kernel developers will need to worry about it.

To conclude, ultimately, when it comes to storage management today, we are limited by the hardware and the storage mediums that we have. You can't polish a turd by slapping ZFS on it, no matter how much self-healing goes on.

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