Gilbo

Sun's ZFS. Most interesting.

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And I thought Reiser4 was going to change the world. These people are really thinking. This is the most interesting storage-related news I have seen in ages:

Sun ZFS Automatic Performance Tuning Whitepaper

It looks like ZFS may alter the way RAID arrays operate on a fundamental basis in such a way that it allows them to confer performance advantages in far more situations --perhaps even in desktop scenarios.

It certainly has the potential to outperform Reiser4 (which I never thought I would be saying), at least with higher end hardware. This is innovation on a scale far beyond that of anyone except, perhaps, Namesys. I think I may have to start playing with Solaris; I used to think Linux had the filesystem edge. Too bad it's closed source; I'm really jealous. However, if Sun doesn't change anything, at least Ill be able to run Solaris 10 at home for free.

Alpha, don't you run Solaris x86 on one of your computers. I'm wondering now, how would you compare it to Linux, and how is its hardware support?

Don't like the weather in Halifax, wait 15 minutes.

Jon.

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When the SPA is presented with a sequence of blocks to write out, it automatically fans out the writes across all the available devices in the storage pool.

It sounds good, but I did not see any performance data except that 13% space is wasted.

I'm also wondering how it keeps track of which block is stored where.

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while the speed may be interesting, veritas has been handling the soft functions/configurability for some time now with vxfs and vxvm. should be interesting though, and pretty amazing that it's free. should have a major effect on veritas and their relationship with sun.

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hehe...you were so sure that I was going to read it, huh? hehe....

Yes, I do have a Solaris x86 system running on a really old computer right now. The good news: It runs. The bad news: the computer is so old that I have a very hard time trying to cram the newer stuff on the system.

I used to have another one, but that computer died due to hardware issues. So, my current system is a replacement server. Simple, effective.

Current configuration:

Pentium MMX 200

64 MB RAM (I THINK)

Onboard video (S3)

3Com 900 10 Mbps NIC

24x CD ROM

floppy drive

40 GB IBM Deskstar.

I don't even know if it has sound or not, but I really don't care. The 24x CD-ROM was salvaged from my last system, and the 40 GB drive was also from the previous system (which came from my main system when I changed hard drives.) On my old system, the BIOS is so old that it wouldn't read beyond 32GB. Now, I have full LBA32 support I believe.

In any case, the current system is also crappy cuz I can't boot off the CD-ROM so I have a Solaris boot-disk then continue the installation via CD.

Takes me about 2 hours to install it with an old computer like that. The newer systems take me like....half an hour...if even that. Depends on CD and hard drive speeds.

Compiling Apache takes about 5 minutes, which isn't TOO shabby for a crapbox like that.

----

To be honest, I don't have much experience with Linux. I learned Solaris before anything else. (Dove complete from Windows to Solaris.) It was quite a steep curve, but once I started climbing it, it got easier and easier.

Now for more Solaris x86 questions, there's a Yahoogroup that I found that has some like....3000+ members, and I know that at least TWO employees from Sun Microsystems are on the board and they post messages every so often or to answer questions. (Which is really nice cuz it's in a way "moderated" by them, and they're also able to monitor feedback about the software and what people wants and what you can do.

One of the more recent questions was about DVD ripping in Solaris. A LOT resources and also very resourceful people on there.

That being said, the older Solaris (Solaris 8, 9) are pretty similar. Both of them use Common Desktop Environment (CDE 1.4 and 1.5 I believe, respectively). I have installed Solaris 10 (Solaris Express) ONCE before and that took longer, but it has a VERY "Linux feel" to it.

It's good and it's bad I guess. The good things is that it makes it "look" more user friendly, but I didn't spend much time on it to tinker (that plus....I couldn't do much with a small 15" monitor, running at 800x600). That plus, some of the tools (which I THINK it's either a GNOME or KDE....I don't know....didn't get much time to find out) tools are available as well as some of the more "legacy" CDE tools (the ones that I'm used to.)

The bad news is that the new one is quite a resource hungry program. Like....most of the stuff that I do now, I do via either telnet or SSH and it has been running since I got the system set up Nov 6 and been running flawlessly.

----

It really depends on what you want to do with the system. There are a LOT of things that you can do with it, probably far more than popular perception/belief.

Like...for me....right now...all I have it doing is just a webserver and a FTP point for mostly CAD files.

---

With respect to it's hardware support, I DO know that Solaris 9 have a LOT of supported hardware. I have an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 32 MB, and that was supported in S9, but not S8 (at least not without an additional patch). Even if your hardware isn't supported initially, if you check the patches at Sun.com, you would probably be able to find it.

I've already heard of people running Solaris 8 and 9 on dual Opteron systems. *shrugs* don't ask me how they're managing that. Granted, I do believe that it does run in 32-bit mode, but that's okay...it's still pretty cool. I think that it shouldn't be that big of a stretch for Sun to release a 64-bit version sometime soon just because the UltraSPARC processors are all 64-bit and have been for quite some time now.

They're in the works of trying to compile an HCL (Hardware Compatability List) for Solaris 9 and current revision of Solaris Express. Problem with that: there's a LOT of off-the-shelf hardware out there in the x86 world, so to try to encapsulate as much as possible, it's not exactly an easy task. That's pretty much the same thing with the Windows platform, with the exception that all of the OEMs develop the drivers for Windows, but not necessarily for Solarix x86. Therefore; usually...its' someone else that develops the drivers (usually Sun I think) so....it's a LOT of work. And as more new products and technologies are coming out, they're playing a fairly big "catch up" game with tech in terms of drivers.

That, of course...not to say that there isn't support. But there are some newer technologies which might take a bit of time. If you're interested in building a system, and you're not sure whether the hardware is supported or not, probably the best place to go is to Yahoogroups and I BELIEVE that the group name is [solarisx86] but I will confirm that for you.

---

The choice of hardware and any software that you use ultimately boils down to one thing: What do I want this machine to accomplish at the end of the day?

Like....just this past week, I was having a brief discussion with the IT manager at work and suggesting to him that he can have a complete web server rebuilt for less than $500 (heck...you can probably find a old computer like the one that I've got at a garage sale!!!).

Throw on Solaris, Apache, and any of the dependent packages, and *poof*...webserver's back online in a few hours. The great thing about Solaris X86 that I really like for the corporate market is that they're really working hard to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) to a point where servers can be cheaper than desktops!!

That plus, there's also a LOT of software that's available for it. So....

I LOVE the system.

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Olaf van der Spek

I'm also wondering how it keeps track of which block is stored where.

I would assume that for organizing the logical volume it works in a manner similar to Microsoft's dynamic disks, which store a copy of all the array information (which drives are members and their relative positions etc) in a special section at the end of each disk. In terms of specific block allocation I would assume they have typical metadata like any other filesystem and in this case it is just slightly more complicated. This metadata is almost certainly mirrored across every disk.

Alpha,

I figured a topic header with Sun in it would pique your interest. .

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Your enthusiasm might give me the courage to try it out. It's good to hear a sucess story. I'm glad you got it running, and running well apparently. The Yahoo group is a tremendously useful pointer.

The new desktop is based on Gnome (v2.4, I think) I have read, and recently Sun has thrown its weight pretty fully behind AMD64 so I think Solaris 10 support for x86 is about to get even better.

And straight from Windows to Solaris, eh? You're a braver man than I.

Doc Oc,

WinFS will be, in my opinion, another, much-needed change. Of course it is really somewhat of a database layer over the filesystem and is really just a way to help you organize, find and deal with one's data. In this sense it is addressing an entirely different bottleneck, which is arguably the most important bottleneck of all for desktop use. It is so far away in the future however that I don't really think about it so much. I also have quite good organizational habits for how I, personally, deal with my data, so I don't think it will affect me as much as it will most end users who end up with stuff scattered all over their hard drive.

In the end however, I have drifted away from the Windows platform, and I don't think I will go back. My last Windows machine is going as soon as I have enough spare time to set Gentoo up on it. Everything I do just works better in Linux, and I don't have to shell out cash all the time. So WinFS is just something I don't really have any chance of dealing with.

It's a great vision though and I hope Gnome Storage can at least equal it. I think when people get used to looking at data in the manner in which these projects are going to try and portray it, we're going to be amazed that we ever dealt with our data as we do now, and at how much time we wasted just on basic organization to make it accessible.

Now that we're on the subject, I think that the way these two systems work is kind of backwards. Reiser4 in my opinion is headed in the right direction by turning the filesystem itself into more of a database. For example files in directories are organized alphabetically on the filesystem level, not sorted later (which also greatly enhances perceptible performance when reading directories), and files can also be directories so Myfavouritesong.ogg can have lyrics in Myfavouritesong.ogg\lyrics.txt. Now this is the way to do it instead of overlaying a database on top of the filesystem. I think there's a good chance of solid application support for this sort of stuff as well. Namesys has made quite a name for itself.

Jon.

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Olaf van der Spek
I'm also wondering how it keeps track of which block is stored where.

I would assume that for organizing the logical volume it works in a manner similar to Microsoft's dynamic disks, which store a copy of all the array information (which drives are members and their relative positions etc) in a special section at the end of each disk. In terms of specific block allocation I would assume they have typical metadata like any other filesystem and in this case it is just slightly more complicated. This metadata is almost certainly mirrored across every disk.

Now that we're on the subject, I think that the way these two systems work is kind of backwards. Reiser4 in my opinion is headed in the right direction by turning the filesystem itself into more of a database. For example files in directories are organized alphabetically on the filesystem level, not sorted later (which also greatly enhances perceptible performance when reading directories), and files can also be directories so Myfavouritesong.ogg can have lyrics in Myfavouritesong.ogg\lyrics.txt. Now this is the way to do it instead of overlaying a database on top of the filesystem. I think there's a good chance of solid application support for this sort of stuff as well. Namesys has made quite a name for itself.

Jon.

If I understood correctly, the layer that determines where a block will be stored does not have access to the filesystem itself.

Is there source code available of ZFS?

Didn't NTFS stores filelists in a binary tree already?

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sun is not good with regard to providing timely security updates, and does not run particularly well on low-end hardware. i would much rather run a web server on another os (bsd, linux, etc).

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