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Introduction to ZFS What is ZFS

Introduction to ZFS – What is ZFS (Part 2 of 6)


>> Mick:  ZFS, as I say here, is the file system in which this Storage Appliance is based. As you could probably guess, the Storage Appliance is based on the Oracle Solaris operating system with a nice graphical and command line interface to manage it, which you’ll see very shortly.


ZFS is Zettabyte File System that was originated by Sun before it became part of Oracle and introduced into Solaris 10 in 2006. In fact, it started live 10 years ago in terms of the development was taking place.


It’s named Zettabyte because of its capacity which is pretty well unlimited. You could connect all the disks in the world together and it wouldn’t come anywhere near the capacity that would be theoretically possible for one individual ZFS file system.




The capacity of the storage device is actually 256 quadrillion zettabytes, whatever that might be. Somebody might be able to work that out. But to give you an idea, the entire production of Seagate disks during this year is about 1/3 of the zettabyte.


Basically, all the old limitations that you have with other file systems and you can’t have any other file this big and you cannot have these many directories, etc. They’ve all been wiped away by ZFS.




ZFS is still very much under development and they’re constantly coming out with new facilities for it. Of course, it’s available within Solaris 10 itself and Solaris 11 system which was released back in November.




There are a few key features that this Storage Appliance has compared to other systems that make it standout a little bit. It has something called Hybrid storage pools, which is transparency. But it’s depending on how the system is configured. You have DRAM, flash storage (SSDs) and disks which are usually high-performance or high-capacity. Very fast access times for both read and write.


You have all the ZFS facilities also so rapid snapshots, clones – a vast variety of [3:04 inaudible] type facilities like triple parity RAID if you want to, triple mirroring, replications, thin provisioning. We can create a LUN that doesn’t actually occupy any space until you start putting data into it, for example. The nature is very secure because of techniques like data checksumming that ZFS employs. There’s also built-in compression of various levels, de-duplication, etc.


Last but not least, dtrace analytics provide dtrace is a mechanism within Solaris that negotiates and monitor an almost infinite variety of data that is being processed or held within the system. You can take measurements at various points and the Storage Appliance allows you to easily monitor what’s going on to a very high degree and producing nice-looking graphs at the same time.




As I mentioned, there’s always a new feature coming along. One of the latest ones is something that was invented or supplied with the Exadata systems. That was Oracle’s all-in-one database machine that’s called Hybrid Columnar Compression, which is a very advanced compression facility that gives you amazing amounts of compression and storage of data with a very high performance. Apparently, according to [4:43 inaudible] from Oracle, you get something like three to five times compression than anything the competition can achieve.


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