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[News] A Look at the Linux-based Challenger to ZFS

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A Better File System for Linux?

,----[ Quote ]
| BTRFS (pronounced better FS) is currently under development in an effort led 
| by Oracle engineer Chris Mason. With the support of Intel(NASDAQ: INTC), Red 
| Hat (NYSE: RHT), HP (NYSE: HPQ), IBM (NYSE: IBM), BTRFS could become the 
| engine that brings next generation filesystem capabilities to Linux.   
| "The main goal is to let it {Linux} scale for the storage that will be 
| available," Chris Mason Director of Linux Kernel Engineering at Oracle told 
| InternetNews.com. "Scaling is not just about addressing the storage but also 
| means being able to administer and to manage it with a clean interface that 
| lets people see what's being used and makes it more reliable."     



Btrfs 0.16, Improved Scalability And Performance

,----[ Quote ]
| "Btrfs v0.16 is available for download," began Chris Mason, announcing the
| latest release of his new Btrfs filesystem. He noted, "v0.16 has a shiny new
| disk format, and is not compatible with filesystems created by older Btrfs
| releases. But, it should be the fastest Btrfs yet, with a wide variety of
| scalability fixes and new features." Improved scalability and performance
| improvements include fine grained btree locking, pushing CPU intensive
| operations such as checksumming into their own background threads, improved
| data=ordered mode, and a new cache to reduce IO requirements when cleaning up
| old transactions.



Btrfs 0.12, Performance Improvements

,----[ Quote ]
| Btrfs was first announced in June of 2007, as an alpha-quality filesystem
| offering checksumming of all files and metadata, extent based file storage,
| efficient packing of small files, dynamic inode allocation, writable
| snapshots, object level mirroring and striping, and fast offline filesystem
| checks, among other features. The project's website explains, "Linux has a
| wealth of filesystems to choose from, but we are facing a number of
| challenges with scaling to the large storage subsystems that are becoming
| common in today's data centers. Filesystems need to scale in their ability to
| address and manage large storage, and also in their ability to detect, repair
| and tolerate errors in the data stored on disk."        


Kernel space: a better btrfs

,----[ Quote ]
| A powerful new filesystem for Linux already supports fast snapshots,
| checksums for all data, and online resizing--and plans to add ZFS-style
| built-in striping and mirroring.  


Btrfs Online Resizing, Ext3 Conversion, and More

,----[ Quote ]
| Chris Mason announced version 0.10 of his new Btrfs filesystem, listing the
| following new features, "explicit back references, online resizing (including
| shrinking), in place conversion from Ext3 to Btrfs, data=ordered support,
| mount options to disable data COW and checksumming, and barrier support for
| sata and IDE drives".    


Linux: Btrfs, File Data and Metadata Checksums

,----[ Quote ]
| Chris Mason announced an early alpha release of his new Btrfs
| filesystem, "after the last FS summit, I started working on a new
| filesystem that maintains checksums of all file data and metadata." He
| listed the following features as "mostly implemented": "extent based file
| storage (2^64 max file size), space efficient packing of small files,
| space efficient indexed directories, dynamic inode allocation, writable
| snapshots, subvolumes (separate internal filesystem roots), checksums on  
| data and metadata (multiple algorithms available), very fast offline
| filesystem check".        


Interview: Chris Mason about Btrfs

,----[ Quote ]
| Q: Several people might be interested what you think about ZFS, why you see a
| need for Btrfs “despite of ZFS” (some people think ZFS is the solution for
| everything for them).  
|     Well, the short answer is that for Linux, there is no ZFS. I know about
|     the FUSE port, but that isn’t a long term solution in terms of
|     performance or enterprise workloads. ZFS has an impressive list of
|     features (and clearly many happy users), but the real competition for
|     Btrfs is other Linux filesystems.    

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