Is ZFS ready for primetime?

This post on Is ZFS ready for primetime? is disconcerting. I’ve put a lot of effort recently in engineering a zfs based storage server to backend a xen cluster. I haven’t put much up here and a back injury has restricted the amount of seat time. Without much tuning I’ve put together a TB+ system that provides 85Mb/s over NFS to a RAIDZ2 pool.

Throughout the whole period it has been a constant struggle to get Opensolaris working, figure out ancient Solaris ideas about system management. Sort out a kernel bug that caused crashes when running bonnie++.

Being held ransom by the idea of needing a Sun support contract at some future unknown date due to a bug in zfs seems to me as a losing position. Being forced into that position I think misses the point of opensource. Zfs provides striking advantages with checksums and simple snapshots, easy offline remote replication. But without the idea that your data is safe there is no point.

I can put together a Linux storage system without thinking and manage it without much thought. The lack of constant time snapshots is going to hurt, but at least I know the exact same system will still work in 2 years without any changes.


  1. Richard Parry Said,

    December 3, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

    ZFS works fine for us, be we run it on Real Solaris 🙂 I wouldn’t fsck about with Opensolaris unless I was also getting a Sun server – Linux is a better choice on x86 IMO.

  2. Nicholas Lee Said,

    December 4, 2007 @ 7:48 am

    I think that misses the point. Either Sun want to engage a wider community or they don’t. Unlike Linux the code Solaris comes mostly from one source, in a sense I think this means Linux is fitter as there are multiple points of view driven by results. Whereas the unit of development around Solaris is smaller and held together by a corporate focus.

    I think Sun is trying to breakout of this mold so it compete effectively with Linux and given the above model, new technology is the main place it can do this. Since in general it is not easier to use that Linux, and secondly there is only one source for support.

    So regardless of the status “Real” or Supported Solaris, if aspects like zfs which are meant to have been developed for a long period are unstable now, then this destroys the work Sun is trying to do.

    All that aside, from a leading edge user it makes for a tough choice. Data protection is a fundamental building block of stable systems. An unstable web app can be hacked around, but leading with a corrupt filesystem is really bad. Balancing this with the new verbs of action in a technology space is the balancing act.

RSS feed for comments on this post