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ZFS Making its Way to OS X

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OuchOfDeath    26

Z-410: How ZFS is slowly making its way to Mac OS X

By Chris Foresman | Last updated about 7 hours ago

A commercial ZFS solution is (still) coming to Mac OS X, thanks to former Apple filesystem and OS engineer Don Brady (who previously worked on the abandoned internal Apple project to port ZFS). Brady and his company, Ten's Complement, just launched a limited private beta in hopes to have the software polished and ready for a summer launch this year.

Ars spoke with Brady, who has a long history engineering filesystems for Mac OS and Mac OS X, to find out a little about his previous work with ZFS at Apple, and what Mac users can expect to gain from Ten's Complement's port of ZFS.

ZFS versus HFS+

ZFS, aka Zettabyte File System, is a 128-bit file system originally designed by Sun in 2004. The main advantage of 128-bit is that it is possible to have files as large as 16 exabytes on total storage volumes up to a theoretical 256 quadrillion zettabytes. A zettabyte of storage might be hard to comprehend?it's equivalent to over a billion terabytes, or roughly enough space to store 251 billion single-layer DVD movies without further compression. ZFS creator Jeff Bonwick noted that filling a 128-bit file system "would exceed the quantum limits of earth-based storage." So ZFS is designed with massive future capacity in mind.

But ZFS also includes a number of features designed to simplify disk management and maintain data integrity. All disks can be assigned to a single pool of storage, and ZFS keeps track of where all data is on the physical hardware. The storage pools can be arranged as mirrors or RAID-Z groups with data redundancy. Each data block written to a device has an automatic checksum which can be examined for data integrity. If any data gets corrupted, which can happen "silently," ZFS can use redundant mirror or parity data to repair the corruption without any user intervention or lengthy rebuilding.

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Unix2    5

ZFS is clearly a future-proof file system, it will be wonderful if Apple replace the outdated HFS+.

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ObiWanToby    35

ZFS is kinda hypey.

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Rudy    457

It would be nice if Apple was doing it but even if they manage to implement it, it won't be wide spread because you won't be able to install OSX on it :/

If Apple was to implement it properly I would most likely use it for sure.

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Quillz    1,002

ZFS is clearly a future-proof file system, it will be wonderful if Apple replace the outdated HFS+.

What is so outdated about HFS+?

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Unix2    5

What is so outdated about HFS+?

Well, it's limited to 32bit, from the original HFS which was 16bit. That's basically my point. I will take the benefit and the unlimited capability of a 128bit file system anytime.

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the evn show    138
Well, it's limited to 32bit, from the original HFS which was 16bit.

Given the sort of places a HFS+ is going to show up (desktop computers, notebooks, ipods, etc) what would be gained?

The maximum file and volume size for HFS+ drives is several million gigbaytes: larger than any raid set you can cram into a mac even if you assume storage capacity doubles every year for the next decade that's still only 12,000 terabytes in a 4 disk raid 0 set.

In terms of maximum number of files: you take a mac pro today, stuff in a raid 5 set of the largest drives on the market today (3tb) and put nothing but 1 byte files on the drives and you wouldn't hit the maximum number of files on a single HFS+ volume.

So what about being 32-bit is an issue? I think this is a non-issue for mac file systems, if it was "the issue" then just making it use larger allocation addresses would save the day, but IMO the real shortcomings run deeper than that.

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PyX    140

3 years later...

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Ci7    199

What is so outdated about HFS+?

limited to 2TB volume ;)

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DrDrrae    6

limited to 2TB volume ;)

HFS has a 2 TB limit, HFS+ has a 2 EB (exabyte) limit.

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the evn show    138

limited to 2TB volume ;)

Here's a 5 petabyte HFS+ volume.

20110319-en4mcrd4e2fxueuu3qpq5nftkk.jpg

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Quillz    1,002

Here's a 5 petabyte HFS+ volume.

20110319-en4mcrd4e2fxueuu3qpq5nftkk.jpg

A bit off-topic, but where did you get a 5 PB drive?

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.Neo    1,834

I never had any issues with HFS+ and since this isn't an official solution I won't be using it.

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giga    45

HFS has a 2 TB limit, HFS+ has a 2 EB (exabyte) limit.

Apple says 8: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2422

"One exabyte is roughly equivalent to one million terabytes."

a7ZFW.png

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DrDrrae    6

Apple says 8: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2422

"One exabyte is roughly equivalent to one million terabytes."

a7ZFW.png

Either way, it's way more than anybody needs in the foreseeable future.

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PyX    140

I never had any issues with HFS+ and since this isn't an official solution I won't be using it.

It was supposed to be Apple?s official replacement for HFS+ back in the Leopard previews, but it never made it.

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what    326

It was supposed to be Apple?s official replacement for HFS+ back in the Leopard previews, but it never made it.

I expect there was good reason for it, too. It'll be official when the need arises.

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.Neo    1,834

It was supposed to be Apple?s official replacement for HFS+ back in the Leopard previews, but it never made it.

Apple couldn't agree with Oracle, Sun or whatever on the licensing terms. Something like that.

Even in de Mac OS X Leopard betas ZFS couldn't be used to install the OS on.

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Xtreme $niper    51

Here's a 5 petabyte HFS+ volume.

Holy crap. Haha, awesome volume name.

Apple couldn't agree with Oracle, Sun or whatever on the licensing terms. Something like that.

Even in de Mac OS X Leopard betas ZFS couldn't be used to install the OS on.

The article states...

But when WWDC 2009 rolled around, all mention of ZFS support was scrubbed from Apple's website. A patent infringement lawsuit was still pending between NetApp and Sun, with NetApp claiming that it held patents on copy-on-write. Furthermore, Sun's CDDL open source license was also believed to make ZFS incompatible with Mac OS X, and that Apple couldn't reach suitable license terms with Sun.

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KoL    36

Here's a 5 petabyte HFS+ volume.

20110319-en4mcrd4e2fxueuu3qpq5nftkk.jpg

Is that real? yours? what are you (or the person) using to get 5 PB?

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TheLegendOfMart    1,558

If that is real what the hell takes up 5.2 PB of data if there is only 300 GB free.

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tomjol    7

Is that real? yours? what are you (or the person) using to get 5 PB?

Judging from the icon, it's some kind of fibre-connected storage array.

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KoL    36

If that is real what the hell takes up 5.2 PB of data if there is only 300 GB free.

Haha that was going to be my next question.

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Boz    1,324

Judging from the icon, it's some kind of fibre-connected storage array.

Or it's a photoshopped get info window and that was 5.12 tb raid or something?

Do you guys have any idea what a 5PB drive is? It's 5 thousand terrabytes... that means you would need 1,667 3TB drives to get to that number. Who in their right mind would even do that..

Yah..it's photoshopped..

Look I just put together 18 PB drive. :rolleyes:

5542545805_ed95dbaae5_o.png

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KoL    36

Or it's a photoshopped get info window and that was 5.12 tb raid or something?

Do you guys have any idea what a 5PB drive is? It's 5 thousand terrabytes... that means you would need 1,667 3TB drives to get to that number. Who in their right mind would even do that..

Yah..it's photoshopped..

Look I just put together 18 PB drive. :rolleyes:

Of course I know and I assume the other posters know too what is a PB. I know that that is probably photoshopped but there are some crazy people with money out there.

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