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Apple Removes Nearly All Reference To ZFS 361

Posted by kdawson
from the you-say-technology-i-say-politics dept.
Roskolnikov writes "Apple has apparently decided that ZFS isn't really ready for prime time. We've been discussing Apple/ZFS rumors, denials, and sightings for some years now. Currently a search on Apple's site for ZFS yields only two hits, one of them probably an oversight in the ZFS-cleansing program and the other a reference to open source. Contrast this with an item from the Google cache regarding ZFS and Snow Leopard. Apple has done this kind of disappearing act in the past, but I was really hoping that this was one feature promise they would keep. I certainly hope this isn't the first foot in the grave for ZFS on OS X."
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Apple Removes Nearly All Reference To ZFS

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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:18AM (#28275991) Homepage Journal

    cross-meme joke completed.

  • Larry effect again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:19AM (#28275995)

    Could this be a Larry effect?

    • by ildon (413912) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:53AM (#28276179)

      I'm thinking Balki effect.

    • Who's Larry? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      If you mean, has Oracle management quietly told Sun to back off the ZFS evangalism, I kind of doubt it. It's hard to see why they would even care, at least not enough to risk getting caught doing something that could have nasty consequences — Oracle's acquisition of Sun still hasn't had federal approval, and illegally interfering with Sun's management would be just the thing to get it turned down.

      The whole ZFS-on-MacOS thing is part of Sun's broader efforts to fight the marginalization of its technolo

  • Death knell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by siloko (1133863) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:22AM (#28276011)

    I certainly hope this isn't the first foot in the grave for ZFS on OSX.

    More like the last nail in the coffin . . .

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Macrat (638047)
      Or it's not ready for a consumer OS yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What ZFS does have that typical Apple Consumers would like to see it on desktops and not just on servers?

        Almost every ZFS oriented discussion, there just comes one point up. ZFS is not miracle what is not possible to gain already with other kind setup with RAID and other filesystem.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          What ZFS does have that typical Apple Consumers would like to see it on desktops and not just on servers?

          Snapshots. Which with heavy use of rsync (TimeMachine) allow for very large files to be versioned without having to save the file over and over and over again. Also file saves will become much faster.

          Variable block sizes so that different directories (parts of the OS) can be tuned differently.

          More inodes for disks over 1TB. As disk sizes start hitting say 100TB HFS is going to be in serious trouble.

        • Re:Death knell (Score:5, Informative)

          by toby (759) * on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:14AM (#28278391) Homepage Journal

          What ZFS does have that typical Apple Consumers would like to see it on desktops

          Pretty much all of it applies equally to consumer systems.

          ZFS is not miracle what is not possible to gain already with other kind setup with RAID and other filesystem

          You need to study ZFS more, [opensolaris.org] as you clearly know little about it. Almost no RAID systems can do what ZFS does. Hints: end to end checksumming; self-healing; copy on write; ...

          Hint: The extra capability largely comes from integrating both the "filesystem" and "volume manager" layers, which are separate modules in traditional configurations. Calling ZFS a "filesystem" seems to mislead a lot of people that it can be compared to other "filesystems"; and the fact that ZFS implements RAID-like redundancy leads people to think that it can be compared to other "RAID" systems. Sure, it can be compared, but conventional systems will generally lose (notably in data integrity, but also in performance, manageability, etc).

    • Re:Death knell (Score:5, Interesting)

      by udippel (562132) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @04:19AM (#28276625)

      More like the last nail in the coffin . . .

      Which is what I hope. Having tried forth and back over the last years, trying to convince myself, that it would fulfill its promises (and it promises a lot! and all beautiful things) one day or another.
      It simply didn't. Which is a shame, since if it did, ZFS would be last file system mankind would have ever needed.
      But even in 2009, it suffers from serious problems, just read the ZFS list in OpenSolaris. Basic things, that is.
      Like boot corruption; like unusable system, if you pull the power, and pull the power again while it is restarting; Like slowness under specific conditions; like rendering the file system unbootable, reproducibly, when using a specific setup of snapshots.
      The latter, not addressed on the mailing list, killed our interest immediately.
      Not to forget some arrogance of the Sun engineers when it turned out that you cannot simply unplug a USB-drive. And it won't be enough, to umount it, neither. If you want the data to be there, sure, after the removal, you have to export the drive. Now tell this to Aunt Tilly. Or me, when I stumble over a USB-cable and out it is. And my data, as confirmed on the mailing list, potentially gone forever; with, confirmed, no tool available for recovery.

      My last hope for it, had been that the engineers at Apple were able to give it the life-line needed to provide reliable Time-Machines (the snapshots of ZFS are just perfect therefore), but obviously, they have given up just as well.

      I bet that something like ZFS will resurrect, one day or another. It simply has to. But ZFS as of today is more like Leonardo's drawings of a copter, compared to an Apache.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by KonoWatakushi (910213)

        This is almost entirely nonsense. I have been following the zfs-discuss list for years, and almost no one has lost data. There have been a few bugs which could in rare cases render your data inaccessible, but they almost always have workarounds, and do get fixed.

        The data loss and corruption that the parent is talking about is the fault of crap hardware. In almost every case, USB is involved, or more rarely the lack of ECC ram. It is true that ZFS is less tolerant of bad hardware. Note, faulty good hard

        • Re:Death knell (Score:5, Insightful)

          by speedtux (1307149) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @05:37AM (#28277073)

          The data loss and corruption that the parent is talking about is the fault of crap hardware. In almost every case, USB is involved, or more rarely the lack of ECC ram. It is true that ZFS is less tolerant of bad hardware.

          What good is a fault tolerant file system if it isn't tolerant of faults?

          With such hardware, it is impossible for any filesystem to function reliably.

          Quite incorrect.

          USB and Firewire bridges are notorious for this. If you care about your data, you should run the other way if you happen upon one.

          Well, golly, those only happen to be the way 99.999% of Apple's customers attach exernal drives, not to mention 99.9% of all of the rest of the world.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by KonoWatakushi (910213)

            What good is a fault tolerant file system if it isn't tolerant of faults?

            This is not about faults; ZFS handles those fine. This is about hardware which behaves badly.

            You should not talk so authoritatively when you are so obviously ignorant of the subject. What you are implying, is that a filesystem does not care about the ordering of writes, and that is absolutely absurd. The ordering of writes is more critical for copy on write filesystems like ZFS, but in neither case is your data safe on bad hardware.

            Like you point out, there is lot of bad hardware out there. What you ove

            • Re:Death knell (Score:5, Insightful)

              by wereHamster (696088) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @07:23AM (#28277581)
              Every disk will corrupt eventually, it's just a matter of time. Not even the best hardware will help you there. So the question is, how well does the filesystem catch these errors and correct them. It turns out, ZFS is really bad at this, as it can get into a state where you can't even import the pool (where zpool either stops with an error and in worse cases causes a kernel panic). There have been numerous bug reports on the zfs mailing list and the opensolaris bug tracker. So far nobody seems interesting in fixing those. My pool got corrupted in such way. I had to manually poke around the filesystem and invalidate metadata until zpool was able to import the pool. Something that a 'fsck' could have easily done, but Sun refuses to create such tool because, according to them, ZFS is robust enough. All credits go to this guy who had the idea to invalidate the uberblocks directly on the disk: http://opensolaris.org/jive/message.jspa?messageID=318457#318457 [opensolaris.org]
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Charan (563851)

            What good is a fault tolerant file system if it isn't tolerant of faults?

            Any time you read about a product that guarantees perfect fault tolerance, there is always a list of constraints that must be met for that claim to hold. You probably won't ever see this list marketed, but it's there somewhere.

            I haven't looked into this, but it sounds like ZFS is fault-tolerant given a system model where data can change once it's on-disk, but otherwise system components are fail-stop. So if you ask a hard disk to perform a write barrier and flush its data to disk, the disk will either

        • Re:Death knell (Score:5, Insightful)

          by udippel (562132) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @06:40AM (#28277383)

          I have been following the zfs-discuss list for years, and almost no one has lost data.

          That's not good enough for the likes like me.
          For the rest of your post, I am simply too lazy to prove you wrong. For a beer each I could fiddle out those that were confirmed to lead to data loss, including unrecoverable data loss, as I mentioned in my post.
          But I won't do this (except for that beer each), because you know that best yourself:
          The data loss and corruption that the parent is talking about is the fault of crap hardware. In almost every case, USB is involved, or more rarely the lack of ECC ram
          Because this is exactly, word for word, the usual excuse given in the mailing list.
          And I didn't add the one in my original post, when it was 'confirmed' that you need RAID if your data are valuable to you; and now, read this in bold: irrespective of hardware failure. I for one accept the need for RAID, in case of a hard disk really and effectively dying. Not for manhandling the data. Read the postings carefully.

          Of course, the other person answering your flawed arguments about 'crap hardware' is right to the point: What good is a fault tolerant file system if it isn't tolerant of faults?
          May I remind you, the premise and promise of ZFS was the atomic write, the always consistent state on the drive. I do think and believe this is true, and all blocks are either written and confirmed or just not. As far as I can make out, the problem has only been shifted: to the problem of metadata. Again, refer to the mailing list. Those exist in four-fold. Why? It seems the consistency of blocks on the drive being guaranteed, the layer of actually having the links to those correct data is more vulnerable. Think of a pool: if you jank the structure of a pool by janking a USB, you have 100% correct data (contrary to any other file system, I agree), but alas no more structured access to reassemble them (compared to inodes).

          (The mods opting for 'informative' of your post obviously don't read the ZFS mailing list, and nobody blames them.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ThePhilips (752041)

            Of course, the other person answering your flawed arguments about 'crap hardware' is right to the point: What good is a fault tolerant file system if it isn't tolerant of faults?

            Or in layman's terms: if shit happens, system shouldn't help to spread it, but to localize it.

            (The mods opting for 'informative' of your post obviously don't read the ZFS mailing list, and nobody blames them.)

            What you describe is a standard problem faced by all journaling and/or distributed file systems. Or for that matter any distributed ("shared data") system. You simply cannot guarantee anything (efficiently) when many asynchronous agents are involved. And it all depends where would designers cut the compromise with inefficiency (force sync of all the agents).

            Judging that it took Veritas a decade to make such sy

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JoeMerchant (803320)
          In 2006 I was given a MacBook Pro to work with... it had been over 10 years since I computed on the fruity side and I decided to trust that Apple had "done the right things" with the features they included. One feature of interest was their "FileVault" which gave a "here, try this:" howto on encrypting your home directory. I thought with all the "just works" hype that surely Apple would have made such a thing secure and reliable... it wasn't 2 weeks before my MacBook Pro was useless, had to re-install OS-
        • by Znork (31774)

          Shh. Don't mention lack of ECC RAM, Sun products and crap hardware in the same comment.

          It makes some of us oldtimers recall various versions of the Sparc 'cosmic rays are crashing your server' ULTRA II, and the joy of having every piece of software and hardware in your Sun servers replaced and having them crash anyway.

        • by countach (534280)

          Well here's the thing. Almost all Macs rely on FireWire and USB for storage beyond the builtin disk.

      • by ishobo (160209)

        We run ZFS on every FreeBSD server and a few desktops. Mostly 64bit. It requires tuning. I have a laptop with 1GB running FreeBSD and ZFS has been rock solid. The instant volume and snapshots creation has me hooked. I could never go back. I wish ZFS existed for Windows.

        ZFS development is not over; it is still being actively maintained.

      • I've been struggling, really, to read, your sentences, with that many commas.

        Sorry, sounds a bit harsh and trollish but someone had to say it and might just save you driving someone mad in the future ;-).

  • by KenCrandall (13860) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:23AM (#28276019) Homepage

    WIth the impending purchase of Sun by Oracle, I'm thinking it could be one of 2 things:

    1) ZFS will be killed and/or de-emphasized and/or re-licensed in such a way that Apple is not comfortable/happy with putting it into Mac OS

    2) It will still be ZFS just not called ZFS anymore (either re-branded or forked by Apple or re-named by Oracle/Sun)

    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:32AM (#28276063) Journal

      1) Oracle hasn't publicly said anything of that nature, nor is even any rumors to that effect.
      2) They aren't mentioning the features that zfs provides under any kind of name

      Most likely, they've been focusing too much on the embedded space with the iphone and didn't have the man power to integrate a complex third party FS into their OS. As it was only going to be for the OSX Server for "production servers", they probably thought that was the easiest thing to drop. I mean, lets be honest no one really uses OSX Server for anything really mission critical that relies on it for the kind of storage capabilities ZFS would provide. Do they? Feel free to correct me with real world usage senarios of OSX Server ( I haven't heard of much).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by isorox (205688)

        I mean, lets be honest no one really uses OSX Server for anything really mission critical that relies on it for the kind of storage capabilities ZFS would provide. Do they? Feel free to correct me with real world usage senarios of OSX Server ( I haven't heard of much).

        I guess XSans may use it. I don't know much about them to be honest, another department at work has a small one for FCP editing. Seems to me that it's the same as any old san.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Divebus (860563)

        o one really uses OSX Server for anything really mission critical that relies on it for the kind of storage capabilities ZFS would provide. Do they?

        Just the iTunes store. Millions of people beat on it every day. However, the insane demands of simultaneously activating a gazillion new iPhones has brought the iTunes servers down with essentially a DDoS attack.

        • by prockcore (543967) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @04:33AM (#28276707)

          The iTunes store uses Akamai. So it uses Linux, not OSX at all.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by LKM (227954)
            Apple uses Akamai for mirroring some of their stuff. They use Xserves as the main source.
          • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @06:03AM (#28277197)

            I wouldn't think Akamai would be doing any of the actual work behind the iTunes store. I seem to recall they do have that capability, but it would be really hard to take advantage of unless you designed for it from the start, and even then I doubt anyone, especially a company as large as Apple, would be happy to give their content distribution network access to any of their actual user data.

            Our website is served by Akamai as well, but nearly all the content is served by Windows web servers. If you do a simple GET and the page is in the cache of the Akamai server you're using, then you could maybe say it was served by Linux or whatever. If you do a search or anything that requires actual work, your request will be getting funneled back to our Windows servers.

            I would say it's extremely unlikely iTunes works any differently.

          • It's a widely known fact that Apple uses Mac OS X Server to host the iTunes Music Store. No, I'm not going to provide you with a link. Learn to use Google.
          • by raddan (519638)
            The backend, for the vast majority of their customers, is up to the customer to decide. I had the pleasure of taking a grad CS course with an Akamai engineer, and I specifically asked him about Apple, which is one of the customers he works with. He said Apple provides their own backend.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @03:43AM (#28276457)

        Mac OS X Server has a few features that are hard to replicate well on other servers, basically coming down to specific Mac management (Open Directory, NetBoot, Software Update), and in particular AFP file services. There are a lot of design/production companies out there with a lot of Macs who need a reasonable amount of storage, and AFP still tends to work better for Mac clients than things like SMB. We've got a few clients with a few hundred Macs and and ZFS would have been a good additional option to have for backend storage. The snapshot and scrub features alone would be a big benefit.

        Xsan is great for certain situations but Apple's tools tend to target that towards video production, and not everyone needs or can afford a full SAN.

      • We do (Score:5, Informative)

        by theolein (316044) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @05:40AM (#28277091) Journal

        We use Mac OSX Server for our infrastructure. It's a royal PITA and I now wish we hadn't done it, but there have been a number of media companies in recent years that have moved to Mac OSX Server because all their clients are OSX.

        My view is that Apple is just jealous of Microsoft and said to itself that if Microsoft can drop promised new features in Vista like the DB based file system, then why can't Apple drop ZFS? ;-)

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:44AM (#28276129)

      I'm fairly confident of what it is, having actually used zfs on OS X.

      1. The implementation still has some major bugs -- I managed to get a kernel panic with it just by writing to a raid-z.
      2. There are some unresolved issues just with the way zfs behaves, for example, pulling a USB device with a zfs volume on it *must* cause zfs to shit its pants, because it's guarenteeing that writes to it will work.
      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:48AM (#28276143) Homepage Journal
        At my workplace we migrated to a brand new sun NFS server with ZFS and hit a critical bug in the first two weeks. If Sun can't get it right I don't expect others to.
      • There are some unresolved issues just with the way zfs behaves

        This is a lot like XFS on Linux. There were some very nice qualities to XFS, but at the end of the day, it wasn't designed for desktops, and would happily hose the entire partition if the underlying hardware didn't have enterprise-grade reliability.

    • by jipn4 (1367823)

      Why would Oracle want to make it hard to use ZFS? ZFS has an uphill battle to gain acceptance anyway.

  • One less "feature" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lank (19922) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:36AM (#28276097)

    With most of the emphasis on performance and stability, this was probably the one "feature" I was looking forward to with Snow Leopard. At $29 I'll still upgrade. Grand Central and OpenCL sound fairly impressive but I was really looking forward to a file system that never needed to be upgraded... I guess I'll keep on waiting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moosesocks (264553)

      I was really looking forward to a file system that never needed to be upgraded...

      ZFS might be the holy grail of filesystems in terms of capacity, flexibility, and data integrity, which have traditionally been the limiting factors for filesystems. However, it's not particularly fast, and I'm sure that we'll come up with better ways to store data in the future.

      If Apple have their own "ZFS killer" in the works, and choose to release it under a permissive license that's compatible with the GPL, they might very well be able to displace ZFS, given that the Linux community's refusal to suppor

      • by isorox (205688)

        given that the Linux community's refusal to support it has been an enormous thorn in its side.

        Unfortunately it's incompatable with the linux kernel license (not to claim which is more free, or who's to blame). There's a fuse project, but fuse projects don't tend to go in places where zfs does.

    • by AccUser (191555)

      I was really looking forward to a file system that never needed to be upgraded... I guess I'll keep on waiting.

      Heck, if it really never needs to be upgrades, I would say hang on in there until it works. It will be worth the wait. ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:39AM (#28276109)

    Which one can you mount on Linux, MacOS and maybe even Windows without precarious hacks, and with journaling, long filenames, and maybe extended attributes? So far FAT and HFS+ without journaling seem to be about the only choices. ZFS would have been it if MacOS and Linux both ended up supporting it, but now neither of them do (without precarious hacks!)... so Solaris is off in the corner by itself again. Bah humbug.

    When I dual-boot my Mac (Linux & Leopard) I'd like to have the same partition for home directory on either system. A better FS for thumb drives than FAT would be nice, too.

    The situation is utterly pathetic.

    • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @05:49AM (#28277127)

      Why, it's almost as if Microsoft don't want to inter-operate. Ext3 is fully documented with viewable code, yet MS don't implement it. NTFS on the other hand has to be reverse engineered.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        Ext3 is fully documented with viewable code, yet MS don't implement it.

        What's in it for them ?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JohnFluxx (413620)

          Exactly how they think. They don't care about making it easy for users to have a decent cross-platform filesystem. They want lock in and control.

    • In theory, I think UDF should work for this. I've not had much luck in my brief attempts, though.

    • by dzfoo (772245) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @06:25AM (#28277313)

      What about a pony?

                  -dZ.

    • by superposed (308216) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @07:23AM (#28277577)
      I'm in the same boat. For years I've been looking for a file system can hold files larger than 2GB and can be mounted from Windows and Mac OS X (and maybe Linux). That would allow me to store all my work on one partition, and access it from Mac OS X, from Windows via Boot Camp, or from Windows inside Parallels or VMware Fusion. It would also allow me to transfer large files back and forth between my Mac and other Windows computers. I was hoping ZFS would be that file system.

      The last time I checked (the middle of 2008), the only way to do this was via NTFS, and the only read-write support for NTFS on OSX was the MacFUSE NTFS driver, which was pretty slow.

      I just saw that MacDrive 7.2 now allows Windows Vista x64 [mediafour.com] (my Boot Camp OS) to read HFS disks, so maybe I'll give that a try. There are also rumors [roughlydrafted.com] that Snow Leopard's Boot Camp utility will include drivers for Windows to read HFS disks, so maybe that will help too.
  • Integration issues (Score:5, Informative)

    by henrikba (516486) * on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:42AM (#28276119)
    The Known Issues and Features in the Works [macosforge.org] page for ZFS on MacOSforge [macosforge.org] explains the situation pretty well. Integrating ZFS into MacOSX isn't just a matter of creating a device driver. Time Machine, Finder, Spotlight and other core OS products needs to support ZFS features explicitly, since ZFS behaves a lot differently from HFS+.
    • Yes, ZFS is very different from HFS+ (and that's a good thing). But ZFS makes Time machine much easier to implement, maintain and far, far more performant. Sun already had time slider in OpenSolaris last year and the difference between UFS and ZFS is at least as wide. Not to mention the fact that Apple throws heaps of money at its desktop and they only need to deal with drivers from vendors it controls. I have no idea why Apple would excise ZFS from its web exposure except to say that they're extremely
      • But ZFS makes Time machine much easier to implement, maintain and far, far more performant.

        ZFS and Time Machine may have Snapshots and other similar-looking features, but they are very different codebases. It is probably difficult to adapt existing HFS utilities to a different filesystem.

  • by code4fun (739014) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:43AM (#28276125)
    Snow Leopard is about performance and optimization. A new file system would fall under new features.
  • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:44AM (#28276131) Homepage
    I've played around [blogspot.com] with ZFS on the Mac a little bit. I've also played with ZFS at work (Sun UltraSPARC platforms) where we went from true believers to backing away rapidly (let's just say that there are certain Oracle workload profiles for which ZFS causes some massive performance hits especially when the disks are close to full).

    I'm guessing that ZFS failed to meet at least one of (what I imagine are) Apple's criteria:
    1. has to be simple to use
    2. has to be rock solid

    There's a good chance it failed at both. I'm not saying that ZFS is crap. Personally I think its a brilliant design, however it needs a bit more sunlight before its ready for the Steve.
    • by edmudama (155475)

      Any copy-on-write system needs a scratchpad area to be effective.

      Were you unable to scale the disks a bit past your workload size?

      • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @03:08AM (#28276265) Homepage
        We never got a reproducible cause/effect explanation from the Sun engineers (which is one of the main reasons we started backing away).

        Our particular problem seemed to occur when free-space shrank to below 20% and we had workloads with large numbers of connections doing lots and lots of very small write transactions in Oracle (using Oracle AQ as the backing store for our ESB/BPEL implementation). It wasn't 100% reproducible but seemed to be linked to those configurations more often that not.

        Having said all that, we never used ZFS for production systems (we are far too conservative a company). We used it for dev/test/UAT environments where the ability to clone large numbers of test environments cheaply, quickly and with very little disk space cost was of great benefit. Its still used in some circumstances, just not all of them. Horses for courses.
    • by 0x000000 (841725) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:59AM (#28276217)

      Okay, first and foremost it is well known that if you are running a database engine on top of ZFS you have to tune it to that specific database engine. This is well documented, and well described in the ZFS manuals, including steps to be taken to resolve these issues.

      As for the performance degradation when the disks are close to full are being worked on, while this can cause issues (especially if you have a lot of snapshots) any IT worth their salt would not have let the disk get that close to full that it causes issues (I've seen this error once on my production servers, when the disk was at 95% capacity, I was brought in as a contractor). Replacing and upgrading disk capacity is as simple as pulling one drive from the RAID Z, placing a new one in, and letting it resilver, then pull the next one, until you have pulled all of them, after which you will get the full space the new disks can provide, so going from 1 TB drives to 1.5 TB drives will at the end of replacing all of them (so that they are now all 1.5 TB or bigger) give you the extra space.

      As for 1, ZFS is extremely simple to use. gvinum from FreeBSD, or Linux's LVM are complicated, unnecessarily so, and 2, ZFS has so far proven far more reliable. It has been extremely fast, and has already saved a whole lot of trouble when a disk started failing by giving us a warning that ZFS reads were failing and letting us replace the disk before disaster strikes. Since we started using it in the last year we have had not yet had to resort to finding the backup tapes for a server because a disk went bad in Linux's LVM and bad data was written to other disks and files were lost.

      I don't believe the issue is that ZFS is not ready yet, I don't think that Apple has had the time to make sure that everything fits in with their way everything has to work, certain features that HFS+ can offer are not possible on ZFS yet. Certain tools are relying on very specific HFS+ mechanics and workings (Time machine for example) which would complicate work to replicate that on ZFS.

      While I was looking forward to seeing ZFS in Mac OS X, I doubted that it would be anytime soon, especially since it is a large undertaking making sure that the various parts of the system are all tuned for ZFS, this includes the way the OS caches, the amount of memory it can use for ZFS arc cache, and things along those lines. FreeBSD has slowly been working through those exact issues.

      • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @03:19AM (#28276325) Homepage

        > you are running a database engine on top of ZFS you have to tune it to that specific database engine

        Been there, done that.

        > any IT worth their salt would not have let the disk get that close to full that it causes issues

        I don't consider 80% a threshold which any FS should start to cause issues

        > As for 1, ZFS is extremely simple to use

        For unix admins perhaps. For the remaining rather large subset of Mac OS X users perhaps not.

        > I don't think that Apple has had the time to make sure that everything fits in with their way everything has to work

        Totally, 100% agree.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chefmonkey (140671)

        Wait... what? You open by telling us that you have to perform custom tuning on the filesystem for certain applications, and later assert that "ZFS is extremely simple to use."

        [cue the car analogy]

        That's like claiming you have to open the hood on a car and tinker with the engine depending on what kind of road you're driving on, and then asserting that the car is "extremely easy to use." If you mess with your engine on a regular basis, it might seem that way -- but if you're a normal user, it's an unspeakable

    • I should probably expand on criterion 1 ("simple to use"):

      ZFS has an absolute ton of features. Providing access to these in a meaningful and intuitive way would NOT have been easy. Its very hard to make a complex tool, "simple to use".

      Nevertheless, I found playing with ZFS fun and strongly recommend it to those nerdier than the average nerd.
  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @03:09AM (#28276269)

    There never was a ZFS. And Oceania was always at war with Eurasia.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @03:16AM (#28276305) Homepage

    If something isn't "good enough" to make a solid product, then don't include it. This is how Vista got whittled down the way it was. The list of features that were pulled is longer than those remaining by my estimation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by AnalPerfume (1356177)
      Then delay it, mark it as a target for the next release after this one. Review it closer the time to see if it is technically ready, if not, repeat the delay process.
      • by profplump (309017)

        That's quite possibly what they've done -- you're confusing the marketing-controlled website with their internal development processes. Open-source projects post giant lists of milestones going years into the future because they're marketing to other developers (if they're thinking about marketing at all) -- but Apple follows a more traditional marketing plan and rarely publishes even vague feature lists before a product is launched, and certainly not more than one revision out. So while they may have remov

  • Is it not possible that apple is getting ready to rebrand ZFS as iFiles or something?

  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @06:39AM (#28277377) Homepage Journal

    OK, when they updated UFS in Panther I was all ^_^ because I was tired of HFS+ turning up x_x, and then they decided to make Spotlight dependent on HFS+ and I was all o_O and half the guys on Slashdot were telling me that UFS was -_+ and ZFS was coming and they were all :) over that, well guys, what kind of emoticon are you mainlining now?

  • ZFS or Btrfs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by r45d15 (1543669)
    Afaik Btrfs, which is roughly the Linux version of ZFS, has been started by Oracle (developers) and then embraced by Red Hat and alikes. So I'm wondering what are Oracle's plans about Btrfs after acquiring ZFS through Sun?
  • by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @08:19AM (#28277921)

    If you read the linked page (from Google cache), you'll see that this feature was slated for Snow Leopard Server, not the consumer version. I do not recall Apple ever advertising fll ZFS support as a feature for the consumer verison of 10.6, and neither does Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

    (Yes, consumer 10.5 does have read-only support for ZFS from the command-line; I imagine this would be still present in 10.6. In any case, it's not like this project is a secret, as Apple has released it [macosforge.org] open-source.)

  • ZFS not ready? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ggendel (1061214) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @09:15AM (#28278395)
    Well, I've been using ZFS for several years on several different machines with mixes of mirrored and RAID-Z configurations. Since that time, I've never lost one bit of data. It has survived power-supply failures, lightning strikes that fried the motherboard, flaky I/O cards, and human error. I understand that the implementation on Mac OS/X may be buggy, but it's not inherent to ZFS. I've several Macs doing time-machine to networked ZFS drives. It's definitely the filesystem I'd like to have everywhere.
  • by HumanEmulator (1062440) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @01:02PM (#28281657)

    Just playing devil's advocate: All the posts here seem to be trying to figure out what's wrong with ZFS to cause Apple to yank it out, but what if ZFS is fine and there's some big feature they're working on for HFS+ that they couldn't duplicate in ZFS?

    I admit it's much more likely they just don't want to maintain full support for multiple filesystems, which is what they'd have to do because there's no way they're putting ZFS on iPhones and iPod Touches anytime soon.

    Either way, the really telling thing is they aren't talking about ZFS in Mac OS X Server. If they had any plan for a ZFS future, it would start there much like the way HFS+ Journaling was initially a Mac OS X Server feature. (Introduced in OS X Server 10.2.2 and rolled out to non-server OS X in 10.3.)

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