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Debian GNU is Not Unix Open Source Operating Systems Red Hat Software Software Ubuntu Linux News Build Technology

ZFS For Linux Finally Lands In Debian GNU/Linux Repos (softpedia.com) 150

prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: It took the Debian developers many years to finally be able to ship a working version of ZFS for Linux on Debian GNU/Linux. For those not in the known, ZFS on Linux is the official OpenZFS implementation for Linux, which promises to offer native ZFS filesystem support for any Linux kernel-based operating system, currently supporting Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, openSUSE, and now Debian. And it looks like their ZFS for Linux implementation borrows a lot of patches from Ubuntu, at least according to the changelog for zfs-linux 0.6.5.6-2, the version that is now available in the unstable channel for Debian users to install and test.
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ZFS For Linux Finally Lands In Debian GNU/Linux Repos

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2016 @08:41AM (#52111181)

    I notice that this article was submitted by prisoninmate, yet the filesystem in discussion is ZFS, not ReiserFS.

    What gives?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you want the benefits of ZFS use FreeBSD. It's a much nicer/cleaner OS than Debian or the other 3000 linux distros in use cases that require ZFS.

    • I hear that all the time, but why would I switch operating system only for the file system? Ever heard of someone switching to Linux to get ext4 support? Or to Windows to get NTFS support? Of course not. File system is a very minor component of an operating system these days. Except if I were building a NAS, I wouldn't even consider making a comparison of file systems when choosing an OS.

      • I hear that all the time, but why would I switch operating system only for the file system? Ever heard of someone switching to Linux to get ext4 support? Or to Windows to get NTFS support? Of course not. File system is a very minor component of an operating system these days. Except if I were building a NAS, I wouldn't even consider making a comparison of file systems when choosing an OS.

        Go look up containers and jails? ZFS is more than just a filesystem as it can be used for situations with jails. That is a big difference.

        Also without SystemD and with old fashioned init you get a much more reliable and production ready system

      • by poet ( 8021 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:19AM (#52111645) Homepage

        If you are building a server, then file system absolutely matters.

        Ext4 is fine but limited and not nearly as mature or stable as XFS. When building a server that *matters*.

        ZFS blows the doors off of anything the Open Source community has *ever* built (in terms of file systems). It has features that Linux users have been desperate for. For example, file system snapshots and rollbacks. Yes, you can do it with LVM2. Guess what? LVM2 sucks at it (in comparison to ZFS).

        • But wait, during the decade or so that ZFS was "almost ready," wasn't there a functional transactional file system option with a less-well-known name?

          I'm trying to remember what it was - and also flush out a believer who can tell us: "X" was doing this 5-6 years ago and has been actively improving since then, ZFS is just a better known name, not a better system.

          Anybody remember that one?

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          For example, file system snapshots and rollbacks

          NetBSD does this in a filesystem-agnostic way with its Filesystem snapshot device [gw.com]

          Why build the functionality into one particular filesystem? Oh yes, poor design.

        • Agree wholeheartedly. Or the blindingly obvious need for compression, or Linux's continuing refusal to integrate volume management, RAID, and filesystem.
        • Oh yeah sorry, I forgot. Most servers out there do not use ZFS. And they still perform stuff that matters.

        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          Btrfs is already the default file system for SuSE. I believe it is on par with ZFS and has a better roadmap. It's also GPL, which is ZFS's biggest problem.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I hear that all the time, but why would I switch operating system only for the file system? Ever heard of someone switching to Linux to get ext4 support? Or to Windows to get NTFS support? Of course not. File system is a very minor component of an operating system these days. Except if I were building a NAS, I wouldn't even consider making a comparison of file systems when choosing an OS.

        For NAS, its a killer RAID filesystem. It's a bit of a memory hog, but the anti-corruption and snapshotting features are great. The on the fly compression doesn't save much space for media files, but that's handy to have also.

        My only gripe is how tricky it is to add more drives to the raid. I don't know if I would switch operating systems to have it, but I'm really liking it and I wouldn't want to go back to another filesystem.

        • by mlts ( 1038732 )

          It would be interesting for the ability to add more drives dynamically, perhaps with a new RAID type that can work with dynamic adding and removing of drives, minimizing the time the array is in a degraded state.

          My "ideal" of a filesystem that sits on BSD is EMC Isilon's OneFS or NetApp's WAFL filesystem. This not just offers what ZFS has, but the ability to link other nodes via Infiniband and use their filesystems, presenting a filesystem which is redundant across drives, and redundant across nodes. If a

        • by Wolfrider ( 856 )

          --ZFS is much more flexible with mirrored pairs. Build a 5- or 6-disk RAIDZ2, and you have to add the same number of drives ( with the same capacity, e.g. 6x1TB + 6x1TB ) to double the RAID capacity properly and keep your I/O throughput sane.

          --However, if you start with a mere 2-disk mirror, you can keep adding mirrored pairs much more easily. Example: Start with 2x1TB WD RED NAS drives in a mirrored pair. Create a mirrored zpool with both disks. You start with ~1TB of redundant mirrored storage, with ~

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2016 @12:32PM (#52111899)

        Because ZFS is actually part of the kernel structure of FreeBSD. Linux puts the filesystem in userspace which makes ZFS in userspace inefficient. (Hell all filesystems in user space are inefficient, but ZFS doubly so because of what ZFS is.)

        ZFS, in short is a bullet-proof file system, if setup correctly. Unfortunately the VAST majority of use cases are overkill. A proper ZFS setup would require no less than 4 mechanical drives and 8GB of RAM. Just for the file system. Because underneath ZFS is essentially a very smart software RAID 6 and journaling system. So you can pretty much kill one drive in a 4 drive system and it will still function as if it was still there, no "degraded mode" like in a hardware raid. Then when you replace the drive, or upgrade it to a larger drive it just works seamlessly, no week-long rebuilds with impaired performance.

        Compare that to ext2/ext3/ext4/UFS/exFAT/NTFS which are nothing but filesystems, some with journaling.

        • > ZFS, in short is a bullet-proof file system, if setup correctly. ... Because underneath ZFS is essentially a very smart software RAID 6 and journaling system.

          Well, considering hardware RAID has a silent corruption bug, I'd say it more then "essentially" :-) Especially with Raid-Z2 and Raid-Z3.

          See Pages 13 .. 18
          ZFS The Last Word in FileSystems [illumos.org]

          Measurements at CERN
          * Wrote a simple application to write/verify 1GB file
          * Write 1MB, sleep 1 second, etc. until 1GB has been written
          * Read 1MB, verify, sleep 1 s

        • Uhm, no.

          ZFS-on-Linux is the project that creates a kernel module for all the ZFS bits, and integrates the filesystem into the Linux storage stack.

          It's not as stable and reliable as the FreeBSD setup, but it's a geek of a lot more stable and performant than the old FUSE-based setup on Linux .

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        I hear that all the time, but why would I switch operating system only for the file system?

        The obvious reason would be for a file server. Other situations are not so obvious, but as for minor - unlikely.

      • by rl117 ( 110595 )

        Simply because it's a *killer feature*. It does things which no native Linux filesystem can offer, even when coupled with LVM and RAID. It takes all of these and replaces them with something that's simply better, more robust and easier to manage. And which is also properly documented with a good number of tutorials and best practices documented clearly.

        I'm one of the people who migrated to FreeBSD pretty much because of ZFS, initially for a NAS but now also on other systems. Not the only consideration,

    • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      Isn't FreeBSD the OS where you have to deal with the same incompatibility bullshit as in Linux... just exponentially more so?

      Call me pessimistic, but with my luck on Linux I don't even want to try FreeBSD...

      • Isn't FreeBSD the OS where you have to deal with the same incompatibility bullshit as in Linux... just exponentially more so?

        Call me pessimistic, but with my luck on Linux I don't even want to try FreeBSD...

        If I was going to try any BSD it would definitely be OpenBSD especially for running a net facing server. For day to day use, browsing, email, getting work done, playing games, whatever, I plan to stick with Linux behind a NAT router.

    • by Wokan ( 14062 )

      If I wanted the experience of maintaining a BSD, I'd switch back to Gentoo Linux.

    • Because some of us need to run applications
  • I love ZFS on FreeBSD. Its works amazingly well. I tried it on Linux (Antergos lets you use ZFS on root if you're interested). My experience with Linux was less satisfying. It is an absolute memory hog. I was using 8 gigs of RAM at all times. Ordinarily I don't mind this, RAM is there to be used afterall. But on the same box with FreeBSD I rarely broke 2 gigs of RAM used and the same goes with any Linux distro and BTRFS.

    The features of ZFS are great and you can't beat the speed and stability but I really ho

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uhm, you know those things are mostly caches? And the seconds it's needed by some program it drops it? Unless you're talking about something like the deduplication support then memory usage is not something you should get to hung up on. I have lots of servers running ZFS, some on as little as 512 MB of RAM and they are fine.

    • I played with ZFS for a little awhile as a backup pool. The snapshotting is very nice, but I ended up using ext4 instead for my purpose because nothing is extendable. A modern FS should have extendable volumes.
      • by rl117 ( 110595 )

        Extensible at *which level*?

        If you're thinking in terms of filesystem size, and since you mention ext4 this appears to be the case, then this is a complete non-issue. ZFS *datasets* are the equivalent of filesystems, and these can grow and shrink freely; the only limit would be an optional maximum size you set on it, i.e. a quota. Otherwise it use whatever free space is available in the pool. This would be equivalent to growing and shrinking an LVM LV, but without any of the manual effort--to do the equ

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Linux and BSD accounting for memory currently in use for ZFS ARC differs.

  • For those not in the known, ZFS on Linux is the official OpenZFS implementation for Linux, which promises to offer native ZFS filesystem support for any Linux distribution, currently supporting Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, openSUSE, and now Debian

    FTFY

  • by lalleglad ( 39849 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:30AM (#52111679)

    The inclusion of ZFS support into Linux has been discussed for so long I can't remember the first time anymore.

    And what I still can't understand is, and please excuse me my ignorance:

    1. What is it I can do with ZFS in Linux that is so important?
    2. What is it I can't do without ZFS?

    I am not saying that we shouldn't support ZFS, because I think we should eventually support anything and everything, but why all the fuss?

    • by Tapewolf ( 1639955 ) on Saturday May 14, 2016 @11:55AM (#52111765)

      What is it I can do with ZFS in Linux that is so important?
      What is it I can't do without ZFS?

      It does a lot, but the features I'm interested in are the protection against bit-rot. Specifically, if you set up a mirrored pair of disks in a ZFS pool, it will checksum everything on both sides of the mirror.
      When the array is checked (scrubbed), it verifies the checksums. If there is a mismatch because the data has glitched on the media, the checksum won't be valid on one disk, but it will be valid on the other disk so it can repair it. If there's a mismatch in a more conventional mirrored pair, the controller wouldn't really have a way to know which one is correct.

      This capability is also in BTRFS, but much has been written about how BTRFS is still experimental. Also, last time I looked, BTRFS was only available for Linux - with ZFS it would be possible to migrate to FreeBSD if Linux does jump the shark.

      The other thing is that the scrubbing process is done in the background. My main data pool is a pair of 4TB disks, which was EXT4 to begin with, then BTRFS and now ZFS. The system is a desktop which is powered down at night. Every 180 boots it would run FSCK, which took something like 2 hours to run on EXT4, during which the system was unusable. With BTRFS and ZFS, the scrubbing takes place while the pool is mounted. So yes, you can do this with BTRFS as well, but ZFS is the more proven option of the two.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        with ZFS it would be possible to migrate to FreeBSD if Linux does jump the shark

        Less contraversally it's convenient to have it not only controller agnostic but also OS agnostic. I've connected up a pool created on linux to a FreeBSD box and it just works because it's designed to work in that situation.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Some other cool features not mentioned is what PC-BSD does with ZFS. When a new PC-BSD upgrade gets pushed out, it will first snapshot your boot volume, then mount it in a jail, then upgrade the OS in the jail. On next reboot, you load from the new boot volume, but you can go back to the old one in case something horrible borks the computer.

      Another company that had a large world to build had issues managing all of the temp files and other crap that goes along with rebuilding a large system entirely from s
    • Here's an introduction to ZFS.
      * http://wiki.illumos.org/download/attachments/1146951/zfs_last.pdf [zfs]

      At the time ZFS was written, nothing even came close to its features.

      ZFS got famous for demos like this:
      * ZFS is Smashing Baby [youtu.be]

      --
      Robin Williams: Lived a hero, died a coward. :-(

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Good grief, as if the world owes you an explanation - google is your friend! You post is about as useful as people asking for phone numbers of businesses on facebook forums.

      - Grumpy Australian

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      It's a very nice way of dealing with disk arrays with snapshotting and a pile of other features that are not so easy to get via other means. One feature is that it is trivially easy to copy entire filesystems to other machines and just as easy to add incremental updates. Another is not having to rely on having the same brand of RAID controller if you want to get the disks to work on different hardware, any SATA (or SAS for those disks) controller/s will do. A desktop PC with slots full of SATA cards of a
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Another thing - not having to wait for "fsck" to finish on large volumes when they come up again after a lot of uptime. File system checks are done on live filesystems, it's called "scubbing" on ZFS.
  • SFC says ZFS is a GPL violation and "“Almost There” is More Painful Than Proprietary" (see https://sfconservancy.org/blog... [sfconservancy.org] )

    If so, surely we need to drop the "GNU" bit, since it is now merely a GNU system over another proprietary (or at least not FOSS, because it is a GPL violation) kernel? Or will rms continue to want crediting for distributions which violate (in his opinion) the very license he created?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The SFC is not the be-all end-all legal authority on the GPL. The SFLC, which has been around much longer than the SFC, has a differing opinion on the issue. The only thing for sure is that a resolution will be adjudicated in the courts and not press releases.

    • To be clear, SFC claims that including binary ZFS modules with the Linux kernel is a GPL violation. Not even SFC says that ZFS itself is a GPL violation.

      Also, by no means is ZFS proprietary, even the OSF approved CDDL as an open-source license.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      SFC says ZFS is a GPL violation and "âoeAlmost Thereâ is More Painful Than Proprietary" (see https://sfconservancy.org/blog [sfconservancy.org]... )

      If so, surely we need to drop the "GNU" bit, since it is now merely a GNU system over another proprietary (or at least not FOSS, because it is a GPL violation) kernel? Or will rms continue to want crediting for distributions which violate (in his opinion) the very license he created?

      No, it's not a GPL violation. The real problem is ZFS is CDDL licensed, while Linux is GPL

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