/ BLOG / ZFS - Making file systems sexy again?

Ok, so maybe not again. After all there’s not much you can get that happy about when it comes to filesystems these days - a lot of the really exciting stuff has been done so far.

Like Resier[3|4], ZFS is one I’d heard about, did some research on but never considered using at all. The fact that it currently only runs on Solaris or via FUSE under Linux (which in itself can be considered to be a benefit, as the filesystem is recoverable and separate from the kernel - performance supposedly sucks though), had kind of put me off a bit.

If you’re unfamiliar with ZFS and it’s feature, then may I suggest taking a quick look-see at the ZFS wikipedia article. There are many pretty cool features in ZFS, such as the concept of pools (and everything that comes with them, such as growing pools with the file systems mounted - very slick), the sheer capacity, RAID-Z, etc. all which helps it to to sustain multiple disk failures in a RAID-Z2 array, much like you’d see in RAID-6, except this is acheived within the filesystem itself. Granted you might not see someone attacking your drives with a sledge, but you never know what might happen some days…

The video is certainly it’s aimed at managers or some sort of technical head, but you cannot deny it. That. Is. awesome. I’ve been considering creating a small box, with multiple SATA hard disks in a separate enclosure (possibly attaching the enclosure to a mini, pico or nano ITX box) to create a home-grown NAS box and ZFS certainly seems interesting enough to consider as an option, considering that iSCSI, NFS and CIFS (aka SMB or Windows sharing) support is now built into the kernel (interesting decision perhaps?), plus Samba is running on Nexenta as well. My only hesitation is the work done on Nexenta - GNU tools sat on top of the OpenSolaris kernel. I’m familiar with the various tools used by this distro and it would speed up my understanding of what I’d be using, however the rate of packaging and development seems to flucutate. Playing with it in a virtual environment is going to be limiting at the end of the day, and my spares box won’t cover something of this scale, so maybe I’ll have to jump in with both feet Real Soon™…

Does anyone have any practical experience with ZFS? Is it mature enough to trust my files and believe that I won’t have to go through the pain of restorations?