ZFS to play larger role in future versions of Mac OS X

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Sun Microsystems' relatively new ZFS filesystem will see rudimentary support under the soon-to-be released Mac OS X Leopard, but will eventually play a much larger role in future versions of the Apple operating system, AppleInsider has been told.



People familiar with the matter reveal that Apple on Wednesday provided developers with "ZFS on Mac OS X Preview 1.1" and associated documentation, in which the company asserted that it alone was responsible for porting the filesystem to Mac OS X.



The Cupertino-based firm also officially confirmed to developers receiving the pre-release software that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard -- due out later this month -- will officially support ZFS, albeit restricted to a read-only implementation with which no ZFS pools or filesystems can be modified.



Developers receiving the latest ZFS preview, however, are granted access to full read and write capabilities under Leopard, including the ability to create and destruct ZFS pools and filesystems.



The developer release, those people familiar with the matter say, is a telltale sign that Apple plans further adoption of ZFS under Mac OS X as the operating system matures. It's further believed that ZFS is a candidate to eventually succeed HFS+ as the default file system for Mac OS X -- an unfulfilled claim already made in regard to Leopard by Sun's chief executive Jonathan Schwartz back in June.



Unlike Apple's progression from HFS to HFS+, ZFS is not an incremental improvement to existing technology, but rather a fundamentally new approach to data management. It aims to provide simple administration, transactional semantics, end-to-end data integrity, and immense scalability.



According to Sun's description of ZFS, the filesystem offers a pooled storage model that completely eliminates the concept of volumes and the associated problems of partitions, provisioning, wasted bandwidth and stranded storage. Thousands of filesystems can draw from a common storage pool, each one consuming only as much space as it actually needs. Therefore, Sun says, the combined I/O bandwidth of all devices in the pool is available to all filesystems at all times.



In addition, ZFS provides a feature called "disk scrubbing," which is similar to ECC memory scrubbing; it reads all data to detect latent errors in the file system while they're still correctable.



"A scrub traverses the entire storage pool to read every copy of every block, validate it against its 256-bit checksum, and repair it if necessary," the description reads. "All this happens while the storage pool is live and in use."



A more comprehensive description of ZFS, along with several other features it offers, is available on Sun's OpenSolaris website.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Does this mean that "complete" ZFS support might arrive in 10.5.5, or some such minor release???



    Everything I've read about ZFS tells me that it is a great direction for Apple to in, I can't wait!
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Currently, we are able to freely move around files that are open in an application without causing any trouble in Mac OS X (mostly, at least), which is not possible with Windows or Linux. I believe I read that this was a feature of the HFS(+). Does this mean that once ZFS is adopted as the default FS, this will no longer be possible?
  • Reply 3 of 34
    suhailsuhail Posts: 192member
    Man? Apple is changing file-systems like there's no tomorrow!
  • Reply 4 of 34
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ozzyrocks View Post


    Currently, we are able to freely move around files that are open in an application without causing any trouble in Mac OS X (mostly, at least), which is not possible with Windows or Linux. I believe I read that this was a feature of the HFS(+). Does this mean that once ZFS is adopted as the default FS, this will no longer be possible?



    This is possible in Linux and most UNIXes. In fact, most UNIX filesystems support the concept of the "inode", and if you have a reference to them you can keep using the file even after it's been "deleted". (In UNIX, the concept of "delete" is really just removing the last remaining hard link to the node, thus is termed "unlinking".) So I think ZFS will probably be better at this than HFS+.



    The big thing that classic MacOS traditionally supported was the concept of a file id being the identity of the file on the file system, and the "path" being merely a convention. While somewhat similar to the inode in concept, Apple actually exposed it as the primary means to opening files in the old Toolbox. This allowed one to re-open the same file even after it moved from directory to directory without even knowing what directory it had moved to. While generally regarded as a great feature (and a feature that some of the database-oriented filesystems have also tried to use more recently), the UNIX-centric folks from NeXT won that battle fairly early in the MacOS X game and now the API is tied pretty tightly to the concept of locating a file via path.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    I thought that ZFS is a detriment for single drive systems, that it only really shines in a multi-drive system. Most computers that Apple sells can only hold a single drive. Pooling an internal drive with an external USB/FW drive doesn't sound like a good idea either.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    ...Most computers that Apple sells can only hold a single drive. Pooling an internal drive with an external USB/FW drive doesn't sound like a good idea either.



    By the time this file system ships standard, all of Apples' paper-thin portables will surely have multiple flash drives, maybe with RAID.

    They'll have turned your iTV, iPods, home server and your Refrigerator (iFridge, anyone?) into a home media cluster.

    And thats if you don't have a toaster oven.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    rtxrtx Posts: 23member
    I'm sure the engineering effort that went into ZFS was pretty big. In many ways it doesn't make sense for Apple to NOT use it. They can take ZFS and then dedicate their resources to features that really add value to the user - improved spotlight, etc.



    I'm heard lots about ZFS, my only question at this pont is performance. Though - even if it has a disadvantage now (which I'm not claiming), probably when it's widely used better hardware specs will eliminate it. Even now, HFS+ performs poorly on directories with massive amounts of files (such as a mail server), how does ZFS stack up?



    The data integrity features certainly are both welcome and impressive.



    Actually, one more ZFS question. Does it run on mobile devices? Does it present any advantage there?
  • Reply 8 of 34
    I-node/Super I-node and their relation to V-node are standard UNIX filesystem terminology.



    Ref: Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment: W. Richard Stevens.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    ksecksec Posts: 1,551member
    From reading around the web and Wiki, my only concerns on ZFS are

    1. High CPU usage

    2. Performance issues

    3. Cannot Reduce Pool Size

    4. No adding storage in Raid Z.



    I suppose 1 and 2 will improve over time if it is not fixed by now. 3 Are Currently being working on.



    I dont see 4 as a major concern for normal System usage. However it would be great for NAS or DAS alike.



    Hopefully ZFS will get all this done by OSX 10.6
  • Reply 10 of 34
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by baranovich View Post


    Does this mean that "complete" ZFS support might arrive in 10.5.5, or some such minor release???



    Everything I've read about ZFS tells me that it is a great direction for Apple to in, I can't wait!



    I would believe so. I can't remember the specifices, but Apple has done this before with BE OS technology. Regardless, this would be a great enterprise technology for Apple to offer.



    I wonder why Apple and Sun just don't merge since their engineers share great admiration for each other's works. Though Jobs did snub Java in regards to having it on the iPhone and iPod touch so he must not feel the fever.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ozzyrocks View Post


    Currently, we are able to freely move around files that are open in an application without causing any trouble in Mac OS X (mostly, at least), which is not possible with Windows or Linux. I believe I read that this was a feature of the HFS(+). Does this mean that once ZFS is adopted as the default FS, this will no longer be possible?



    Such feature does not work with some applications like Adobe Acrobat Pro 8.1.0. Try to open a PDF file, edit it (eg., use the fluorescent marker), move the file to other folder and/or change its name in the Finder and try to save it. Error and Adobe Acrobat crash! Yet, that is extremely useful to rename bibliographic PDF files "article.pdf" once you open them and mark keywords with the fluorescent marker. A shame!
  • Reply 12 of 34
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I think it might be goog to keep HFS+ as the default because it's Apple's own filesystem and it leaves them freer to innovate in this space. If they go with ZFS it may be better at the moment, but if they want to change it at a later date they can't without breaking the standard.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    yamayama Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by baranovich View Post


    Does this mean that "complete" ZFS support might arrive in 10.5.5, or some such minor release???



    Everything I've read about ZFS tells me that it is a great direction for Apple to in, I can't wait!



    Sure, why not? Apple added Journaling support to 10.2.2.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    1) This isn't something Apple will slip into a 10.5.x update.

    2) This will be used in Apple's server line long before Apple even considers using it in their Mac line.

    3) Despite the throng of adamant posts several months ago regarding ZFS support coming in 10.5, it's technologically still is not ready for prime time and won't be used by Apple until at least 10.6.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    It's further believed that ZFS is a candidate to eventually succeed HFS+ as the default operating system for Mac OS X



    Should be default file system.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by suhail View Post


    Man… Apple is changing file-systems like there's no tomorrow!







    Apple's filesystem changes since 1984:



    MFS Circa 1984 - Dropped support with System 7.6.1

    HFS Circa 1985 - Became default FS at intro? - Still supported

    HFS+ Circa 1998 - Became default FS with OS X rollout - Still supported



    Speculation:



    ZFS Circa 2007 - Became default FS ????



    Yep - those wild and crazy folks in the FS group are most radical indeed!



    Dave
  • Reply 16 of 34
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post






    Apple's filesystem changes since 1984:



    MFS Circa 1984 - Dropped support with System 7.6.1

    HFS Circa 1985 - Became default FS at intro? - Still supported

    HFS+ Circa 1998 - Became default FS with OS X rollout - Still supported



    Speculation:



    ZFS Circa 2007 - Became default FS ????



    Yep - those wild and crazy folks in the FS group are most radical indeed!



    Dave



    Nice list. I'm bettng on ZFS for 10.6 and will first be implemented in OSX Server well before the OS X client. That leaves how may years before we see it in production?
  • Reply 17 of 34
    brianusbrianus Posts: 138member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Nice list. I'm bettng on ZFS for 10.6 and will first be implemented in OSX Server well before the OS X client. That leaves how may years before we see it in production?



    3? I'm betting we don't see another .1 release this decade.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brianus View Post


    3? I'm betting we don't see another .1 release this decade.



    Is 10.5 the new System 7?



    Public Beta ... System 1

    10.0 ... System 2

    10.1 ... System 3

    10.2 ... System 4

    10.3 ... System 5

    10.4 ... System 6

    10.5 ... System 7!!! :O



    This means we won't see any updates for...SEVEN YEARS!!! :O
  • Reply 19 of 34
    You do realize ZFS is a FILE system not an OPERATING system????



    I don't think Apple is going to replace BSD with Solaris...
  • Reply 20 of 34
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thenetimp View Post


    You do realize ZFS is a FILE system not an OPERATING system????



    I don't think Apple is going to replace BSD with Solaris...



    If you're responding to kim kap sol, I'm almost dead certain he's aware of that. That post was a mostly a joke.
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