If you haven’t heard of Sun’s ZFS file system, here are the two important summary bullets:

For slightly more info, check out these screencasts, this slide deck, or this set of vids.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I lust for Linux support (currently difficult due to CDDL incompatibility with GPL). With a little effort, one could combine ZFS and something like S3 or rsync.net to get easy off-site backup on the cheap.

Much of the power behind ZFS comes from its copy-on-write philosophy. The parallels with software transactional memory are stark. One outstanding question re transaction size: are they limited by free disk space? Traditional file systems use in-place modification, but it sounds as though ZFS may require additional free storage proportional to the size of the change.

Update 2:
I just learned about the clone ability in ZFS and my eyes just about fell out of my head. I mean seriously, this is constant time file copying. I’d have half a mind to alias cp zfs clone.

Update 3:
Man the ZFS hits just keep on coming. I’ve got a RAID-5 at home, but I’d never heard of the “RAID-5 write hole” until I read Jeff Bonwick’s blog article. Don’t miss this war story featuring ZFS’s end-to-end checksumming.


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