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Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month 273

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-as-magical-as-advertised? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix is reporting that an Indian technology company has been porting the ZFS filesystem to Linux and will be releasing it next month as a native kernel module without a dependence on FUSE. 'In terms of how native ZFS for Linux is being handled by this Indian company, they are releasing their ported ZFS code under the Common Development & Distribution License and will not be attempting to go for mainline integration. Instead, this company will just be releasing their CDDL source-code as a build-able kernel module for users and ensuring it does not use any GPL-only symbols where there would be license conflicts. KQ Infotech also seems confident that Oracle will not attempt to take any legal action against them for this work.'"
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Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month

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  • Good Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:39PM (#33399722) Homepage Journal

    No, really. I had a bunch of questions going in, and they were all answered. This is rare enough to warrant a shout out to Michael Larabel.

    I disagree with some of his subjective claims like x86_64 being a substantive limitation or ZFS on Linux remaining niche (I guess that depends on how you define the niche...) but he got the national lab project, the zpool version, the Oracle (nee Sun) patent problem. Kudos.

    FreeBSD 9 is probably where ZFS will wind up finding a proper home, I'm guessing.

    • Re:Good Article (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:42PM (#33399744)

      How do you think it is not a substantive limitation?

      My phone runs linux and is not x86 of any shape or register size, nor is my workstation, nor are many other machines I have running linux. This is just like people who think flash working only on x86 32bit linux is good enough.

      If FreeBSD ever gets a good ZFS implementation expect lawsuits to commence.

      • by Monkius (3888)

        Sadly, yes, there is every reason to expect it.

      • If FreeBSD ever gets a good ZFS implementation expect lawsuits to commence.

        None have been filed since it was production-ready last year. Besides, what would they sue over? The FreeBSD team using code that Sun deliberately and explicitly licensed for such things?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

          None have been filed since it was production-ready last year.

          It's not. Yet. There are many reports of lock-ups with uptimes on the order of a week. Soon, I hope, but don't set people up to hate on it.

          Besides, what would they sue over? The FreeBSD team using code that Sun deliberately and explicitly licensed for such things?

          It's not Sun you need to worry about, it's NetApp.

          • Why? NetApp has been having it's ass handed to it over the patent claims.

            • Legal intimidation is a common tactic.

              • What's intimidating? In their case against Sun they've had a patent struck down and summary judgements against them saying that Sun doesn't violate others.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

                  What's intimidating?

                  Being a hobbyist OSS developer and getting hit with a patent infringement lawsuit from a large corporation.

              • by hedwards (940851)
                It is, however, it's not BSD code, it's a port of the code from Sun. Well, now belonging to Oracle, I'm not sure how they could sue the FreeBSD people without first filing suit against Oracle for infringing on whatever patents they claim are relevant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by h4rr4r (612664)

          It is not production ready, I know I tested it. The next version should fix those gripes. Patents are what Oracle will sue over.

      • How do you think it is not a substantive limitation?

        ZFS now only runs on servers. Yeah, they wanted to see it on digital cameras, but in the current market that's not real. Nobody who's currently using ZFS would blanch at the x86_64 requirement.

        Sure, there are opportunities that will open up when it's ported further, but they're doing the right thing by getting it out where it'll get the most use.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Because their are no servers running linux using non-x86_64 CPUs? You had better tell IBM that.

          • by Kjella (173770)

            Because their are no servers running linux using non-x86_64 CPUs? You had better tell IBM that.

            If it's important enough for IBM, let them supply the patches for POWER chips. I'd think the x86_64 requirement is mostly for 64 bit addressing, which as far as I know th POWER chips do as well so it shouldn't be that hard given enough interest. Personally I'll wait and see how well this GPL/CDDL module business will work out...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

            Don't be intentionally dense. The majority of the market that can help these guys refine their code is fine with x86_64.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mysidia (191772)

            It's worth mentioning that the latest version of Windows Server (2008 R2) is 64-bit only as well.

            And ZFS has always had 64-bit as minimum system requirements for production systems, even on Solaris.

            That is, 32-bit is considered okay for limited testing, unsuitable for production use, particularly for use with zpools larger than a few hundred GB in size or so.

            If you have a 1TB or larger storage pool with ZFS, you need 2gb of RAM and a 64-bit CPU to have something acceptable and stable. This is tr

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mysidia (191772)

        Because ZFS is not production quality on a 32-bit CPU or with less than at least additional 2GB of RAM available for ARC, even on Solaris where ZFS is most mature. Bare minimum for ZFS: 1Gb RAM, 64bit proc.

        If you have a 32-bit CPU or less than 2GB system RAM, use UFS or Ext3, forget about ZFS for such hardware configurations, unless you want to experience pain (system hangs, memory starvation, crashes / Panics due to 32-bit address space squeeze causing fragmentation and ultimately inabi

      • by arth1 (260657)

        If FreeBSD ever gets a good ZFS implementation expect lawsuits to commence.

        FreeBSD already has a fairly good implementation of ZFS. It's other file systems (ext4, xfs, jfs, jffs2...) that it lacks. If FreeBSD ever ditches archaic UFS, expect heads to explode :-)

      • Re:Good Article (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:45AM (#33402230) Journal

        My phone runs linux and is not x86 of any shape or register size, nor is my workstation, nor are many other machines I have running linux

        I can't speak for the Linux version, but ZFS on FreeBSD needs x86-64 for three reasons:

        First, and most simply, this is the platform that all of the ZFS developers use, so it is the one that is most tested. This doesn't mean that it won't work elsewhere, it just means that it is not well tested anywhere else.

        The second is a performance consideration. ZFS uses a lot of 64-bit arithmetic for computing checksums and so on. On most 32-bit platforms, doing 64-bit arithmetic means that you need to split the operands between two registers, effectively halving the number of GPRs that you have to work with. On x86-32, this basically limits you to 2 registers, which cripples performance - every operation involves some stack spills. This is an x86-specific limitation. On ARM, for example, you have 16 32-bit registers, which can be viewed as 8 64-bit registers for certain instructions. Doing a lot of 64-bit arithmetic on an ARM chip still doesn't generate as much register pressure as even doing 32-bit operations on x86.

        The final limitation is memory. ZFS likes to have 600MB or so of kernel memory. On x86, the divide between kernel and userspace memory is typically done using segmentation. The kernel has one segment, marked in the GDT as requiring ring-0 permission to access. When you switch to kernel space, the segment register points to this entry. In userspace, you use other segments (sometimes just one per process, sometimes one for stack, one for heap, and so on, sometimes one for all processes with some churn between them). With other implementations, this is done at the page level, although that's more expensive. The kernel's memory, however, is always mapped into the userspace process's address space - it just isn't always accessible.

        The reason for this is that x86 lacks sensible TLB controls. If the kernel's address space were not mapped in this way, then every system call would require a TLB flush, which would impact performance. The more address space that you allocate to the kernel, the less you give to userspace apps. If the kernel has 2GB of address space, userland apps can only have 2GB each. On ARM, each TLB entry is tagged with an ASID. The kernel and userspace programs' address spaces are entirely separate, but transitions between the two don't require a TLB flush because the userspace process can't see entries tagged with the kernel's ASID.

        Rather than saying that ZFS requires 64-bit, or requires x86-64, it's more accurate to say that it won't work (well) on x86-32 due to inherent limitations of the platform. That doesn't mean that it won't work well on other 32-bit or 64-bit architectures which are less braindead.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      If FreeBSD 8.1 RELEASE, STABLE and CURRENT are any indication, FreeBSD 9 has a long, long way to go to be the 'home' for much of anything outside of the odd server here and there the base for other projects (pfSense/freeNAS). It certainly is not a 'general purpose' OS - if for no other reason than its woefully lacking (and often unstable) hardware support.

      And by 'long way to go' I mean it needs to regress - in stability and commitment to making all the subsystems actually work out the door. The current stat

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday August 27, 2010 @08:49PM (#33399782)
    I hear that every install of ZFS for Linux comes with a pre-installed Steam client, and a free copy of Team Fortress 2 For Linux!
    • ...or the yahoo toolbar.

      (why is oracle pimping the yahoo toolbar, btw, on their java installs? boggle!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CoolGopher (142933)
      I came across this job post [valvesoftware.com] at Valve just recently. To save you from having to follow the link, it includes the item
      "Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform".

      Just sayin'.
      • You do realize that Valve has Linux server clients for all of their games, and the Steam infastructure itself runs on Linux right?

        Just sayin'.
  • ZFS recap (Score:2, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484)
    We've heard much about ZFS, but being a slashdotter, I can't recklessly go on and RTFA. So, maybe someone here can recap its main benefits. Maybe a power point slide?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      But we're all slashdotters here, so who can read the article to do the recap? I believe this is a belling-the-cat problem.

    • by Miseph (979059)

      Perhaps you'd like a colonel to read it for you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We've heard much about ZFS, but being a slashdotter, I can't recklessly go on and RTFA. So, maybe someone here can recap its main benefits. Maybe a power point slide?

      Here's a good PDF on it:

      http://hub.opensolaris.org/bin/download/Community+Group+zfs/docs/zfslast.pdf

      Here's the PDF being presented by the co-creators, Jeff Bonwick and Bill Moore:

      http://blogs.sun.com/video/entry/zfs_the_last_word_in

      Three parts, one hour each. Streamable blip.tv as well as a downloadable M4V file.

      Two, ten minute videos:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gthel59G56c
      http://www.youtub

  • by Daffy Duck (17350) on Friday August 27, 2010 @10:09PM (#33400210) Homepage

    http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?threadID=131604 [opensolaris.org]
    http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=270957 [opensolaris.org]

    Long story short: disk pools in ZFS can only grow, so don't make any mistakes unless you can afford to do a full dump and restore. Sun had been "working on" this for years. Anyone heard any news lately?

  • I'm not holding my breath, but god damn...

    If this ever happens, my wildest dreams will have come true. Forget the threesome with now-hideous-and-leathery-old-but-once-hot porn stars from my youth! Not having to deal with any more Solaris or FreeBSD for a 'modern filesystems' would be incredible.

    Like I said, not holding my breath (or even breathing heavily!). If it happens it'll happen only at the fringes, and poorly.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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