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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As one of the engineers of ZFS explains it about the rampant layering violation:

From my understanding, it's a misconception and poor naming that led to the "layering violations". If Sun had called it ZSMS (Zetabyte Storage Management System) then no one would bat an eye. But, since they called it ZFS, everyone has got their panties in a knot.

If you look at ZFS, it's more than just a filesystem. It's a storage management system, that lets you add/remove storage devices from a storage pool, create raid volumes using space in that pool, create storage volumes using space in that pool, and format those volumes using a 128-bit filesystem with a bunch of nifty features. But, you can also put UFS on top of the volumes (and probably others). And export the volumes out using network storage protocols (NFS, and I think CIFS).

ZSMS gives you a nice, unified way to do the same kinds of things as the cluster-* that is MD, device-mapper, LVM, mkfs.*, *mnt, mount.*, FUSE, and who knows what other crap you'd have to use to get the same featureset. What really irks me about the Linux tools is how non-standardised they are (why are some tools mount.fs while others are fsmnt?), how out of whack with each other they are, and how obviously un-designed to work together they are.

Now, you want a nicely layered approach to storage, then have a look at FreeBSD's GEOM: separate RAID modules (0,1,3,5), encryption, journalling, remote block device, volume management, and more, that can all be neatly stacked in any order, using standard FS tools. All with normalised commandline options, all with normalised command names, all with normalised module names, all designed to work together.

Kind of like ZFS (all that's missing is a pooled storage module, 128-bitness, and checksumming).

And completely unlike Linux.

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