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MacRumors
Apr 30, 2006, 07:01 PM
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According to an OpenSolaris mailing list (http://mail.opensolaris.org/pipermail/zfs-discuss/2006-April/002119.html), the ZFS team at Sun has been contacted by Apple's Filesystem Development Manager to discuss porting ZFS to Mac OS X.

ZFS (http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/) is a relatively new open-source file system backed by Sun. As such, it is included in recent versions of Solaris for SPARC and x86 architectures. A comparison of HFS+ (what Mac OS X currently uses as its default file system) and other file systems including ZFS can be found on this wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems).

Doctor Q
Apr 30, 2006, 07:04 PM
One of ZFS's features is "adaptive endian-ness", meaning that you can use a disk with a ZFS filesystem on either a big-endian or little-endian platform and it's portable back and forth.

With its variable-size adaptive block sizes and constant-time directory operations, it promises great performance too.

Stridder44
Apr 30, 2006, 07:06 PM
Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?

Superdrive
Apr 30, 2006, 07:08 PM
This could only be a good thing? Perhaps a proverbial slap in the face to MS after their non change with Vista? (j/k) I understand it is much deeper than that.

jjmaximum
Apr 30, 2006, 07:10 PM
So what you would end up with is one little, two little, three little endian?

Sorry...

One of ZFS's features is "adaptive endian-ness", meaning that you can use a disk with a ZFS filesystem on either a big-endian or little-endian platform and it's portable back and forth.

With its variable-size adaptive block sizes and constant-time directory operations, it promises great performance too.

longofest
Apr 30, 2006, 07:10 PM
One of ZFS's features is "adaptive endian-ness", meaning that you can use a disk with a ZFS filesystem on either a big-endian or little-endian platform and it's portable back and forth.

With its variable-size adaptive block sizes and constant-time directory operations, it promises great performance too.

HFS+ can do this too, if I'm not mistaken... The Macintels are still using HFS+, right? Can't you still interchange them?

Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?

No, this is most likely the next system. If Apple has JUST contacted Sun, it wouldn't be for inclusion in an OS that is probably going to be released near the end of the year or beginning of next.

mackeeper
Apr 30, 2006, 07:29 PM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

DTphonehome
Apr 30, 2006, 07:33 PM
So....ZFS can store "16 billion billion times the capacity of current 64-bit systems" (acc. to wikipedia). So I would actually expect MS to integrate this into Vista, which is estimated to be 16 billion billion times the size of XP.

Stridder44
Apr 30, 2006, 07:33 PM
No, this is most likely the next system. If Apple has JUST contacted Sun, it wouldn't be for inclusion in an OS that is probably going to be released near the end of the year or beginning of next.



Ah. Good point. Back to writing my paper...

Stridder44
Apr 30, 2006, 07:34 PM
So....ZFS can store "16 billion billion times the capacity of current 64-bit systems" (acc. to wikipedia). So I would actually expect MS to integrate this into Vista, which is estimated to be 16 billion billion times the size of XP.




Thats a 16 billion billion better chance of a BSOD

DeathChill
Apr 30, 2006, 07:40 PM
The maximum size of a ZFS file system, file, or attribute is 16 exabytes, just like HFS+. ZFS just has so many different improvements that it's quite neat. I'm looking forward to it being ported over, as I'm downloading Solaris for x86 to play around with ZFS as we speak.

cait-sith
Apr 30, 2006, 07:43 PM
Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

Uh.. software developers, the people that make the merchandise you want to be shown?

Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's unimportant.

Omni Geno
Apr 30, 2006, 07:45 PM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

Some Mac users are also computer scientists or other such kinds of people. Many of us do care about this stuff.

reaper
Apr 30, 2006, 07:46 PM
What does this actually mean? More storage space, faster performance, a whole bunch of other stuff? Would anyone care to elaborate for those of us who have no clue about why something like this is important. Thanks.

-reaper

hob
Apr 30, 2006, 07:47 PM
Yes!! ZFS sounds way cooler than HFS!!1!1!!

:rolleyes:

those figures are pretty mind-boggling though!

mjstew33
Apr 30, 2006, 07:47 PM
Ummm....in English please?
What does it all mean Bazzle? :D :cool:

I want to know, that just doesn't make any sense. :o

Dagless
Apr 30, 2006, 07:50 PM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

I care about this stuff. I didn't know what it all meant until I read about it. But now I'm that little bit smarter and happier for learning. learndning.

Dagless
Apr 30, 2006, 07:54 PM
Wow, I had no idea Fat32 was so limiting on the metadata front. HFS+ is pretty snazzy but, you guessed it, ZFS is way up there.

vaxt
Apr 30, 2006, 07:55 PM
I wonder if apple is also looking into Reiser 4, it is also said to be exceptionally fast, and has a wide array of new features. I'm running Reiser 3 right now, damn fine File system.

Doctor Q
Apr 30, 2006, 08:07 PM
What does this actually mean? More storage space, faster performance, a whole bunch of other stuff? Would anyone care to elaborate for those of us who have no clue about why something like this is important.Very large potential storage space. Highly efficient, i.e., fast. And highly reliable against errors and data loss.

HOW they provide those features is what we bit-counting geeks talk about, but those are advantages from a consumer's point of view.

longofest
Apr 30, 2006, 08:07 PM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

Which is why we didn't report the REALLY gory aspects of this story, which as you can see is coming out in the forums (like I hoped). File Systems are indeed a very technical thing, so technical people will get excited about this news and see it's significance. Others of us will just wait until it actually practically impacts us.

My take on this story is that basically, Apple is looking ahead and seeing that HFS+ will eventually run out of breathing room for the developers at apple to build on top of. ZFS has a ton of really nice features already built into it, and it is a 128-bit file system whereas HFS+ is only 32bit. ZFS has more "legs", so Apple is basically looking towards the future.

milatchi
Apr 30, 2006, 08:09 PM
Ah ZFS,
known to "Zee Germans" as, "Zee File System."
:D

magi.sys
Apr 30, 2006, 08:12 PM
This is good news for everyone. HFS+ is just an old filesystem that had feature after feature added to it. It'll be good to have a nice filesystem that was build from ground up.

sluthy
Apr 30, 2006, 08:35 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:

[Moderator note: This question has now been answered several times in the thread. Thanks to all who replied. We don't need any more, please!]

Doctor Q
Apr 30, 2006, 08:58 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:I'd be quite surprised if current system calls (what software does to access a disk file) weren't provided in an upward compatible way. Disk utility programs would need to be augmented, but there should be little or no impact on almost all software if Apple does what it should. Assuming this story is correct in the first place.

cyberakuma
Apr 30, 2006, 08:59 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software?

This is a filesystem, ideally applications do not need to know at all whether they are running with fat31, hfs+, or zfs. OS X already supports several - in addition to these, ntfs (for read-only), iso9660 (CD media) + joliet (long filename extensions), and several network filesystems (for ftp, webdav, and cifs/smb). There may be more, but these are the ones I hit on a weekly basis.

sjl
Apr 30, 2006, 08:59 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:
Assuming the software is written properly, a change of filesystem should make absolutely no difference whatsoever. The structure goes something like:

Application: "I want to open such an such a file."
Kernel: "Application wants to open such and such a file. Which filesystem is that on?"
Kernel: "Right, we know which filesystem we want, where's the file actually stored?"
Kernel: "Ok, we have the info we need. Give the application a handle by which it can access the data."
Application: "Great. Give me the first kB of data from the file."
Kernel: "The first kB ... that's stored on blocks X, Y, and Z. Here you go."
... and so on.

The application knows nothing, and cares nothing, about the structure of the filesystem. That's the kernel's job. The only way you'd get application breakage, assuming that the app sticks to the publicised APIs, would be if the application were written assuming case insensitivity, and accessed a file with varying case (eg: "File1" vs "FILE1"), and the filesystem was in fact case sensitive. Or the other way around.

In short: if an app works on both UFS and HFS+, it should work happily on ZFS.

Actually, I tell a slight lie: if the app uses (eg) 32 bit file offset data, it'll break with a file that's over the 2GB (or 4GB, depending on whether the offset is signed) limit. But files below that limit will still work just fine, no matter what the FS.

Demoman
Apr 30, 2006, 09:00 PM
So....ZFS can store "16 billion billion times the capacity of current 64-bit systems" (acc. to wikipedia). So I would actually expect MS to integrate this into Vista, which is estimated to be 16 billion billion times the size of XP.

Now that's funny!

Baseline
Apr 30, 2006, 09:03 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:

Nope. 99.9% of applications don't care about what filesystem is running (look at Linux, where you can choose between tons of different filesystems).

The only apps that *really* care are disk repair apps, like Disk Warrior.

From an application developer's point of view, there is a very simple interface to a file system (and all file systems present the same interface). What goes on underneath is generally unimportant to the application developer.

dr_lha
Apr 30, 2006, 09:09 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:
No it won't. Its just the filesystem, to the user the change will be transparent. UNIX system generally have many different filesystems. For example, Linux uses ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs and many more. None of the programs require any changes to work with these different filesystems.

ZFS has some really cool features, for example you can undo things: You remembered you deleted a file you needed 2 days ago, simply rewind the file system to how it was 2 days ago, grab the file and revert back to current.

ZFS is pretty much the filesystem re-imagined. As for the guy who mentioned Reiser 4, well its not stable yet, ZFS is. No matter how cool a filesystem is, if it can cause data loss, its not useful.

shen
Apr 30, 2006, 09:09 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:

no. if you install linux, you can choose from a number of filesystems, all with different features, all run the same software.

even on windows you can choose fat 16 32 or NTFS depending on the windows you install. only the OS cares about the filesystem (well not some apps can use the plus sides to a better system, but i am rounding the corers off here) not the apps.

cyberakuma
Apr 30, 2006, 09:14 PM
For those who wonder what this ZFS thing is, it is a project by Sun to rethink from the ground up how data gets stored and structured on a hard disk. Some people at Sun observed that as hardware has matured, the requirements of original systems turned into assumptions that actually were no longer true. This is partially because raw CPU power has gone up at a faster pace than hard disk speed.

This kind of innovation has attracted a little bit of attention from people who care about such things. Note that most innovation at this low level does not affect users tremendously, as it classifies more as required infrastructure.

Beyond that, ZFS promises to make:


data storage more reliable - and more efficient than systems like journaling, which actually lower IO speed for the sake of some reliability. There is also a checksum on the file data so that corruption can be determined.
adding storage simpler - instead of multiple volumes, new hard disks become part of the existing filesystem. Of course, this feature only makes sense for non-removable drives.
space used more efficiently - we all know advertized size != real size != formated size. For example, if a file is smaller than 4k, chances are you'll see the size padded for 'size on disk', with the difference wasted.
hard disks faster - existing systems overwrite data to prevent the hard disk from getting fragmented, ZFS takes a different approach that makes writes extremely fast.

EricNau
Apr 30, 2006, 09:16 PM
I'm glad to see Apple is planning ahead.

cyberakuma
Apr 30, 2006, 09:19 PM
As for the guy who mentioned Reiser 4, well its not stable yet, ZFS is. No matter how cool a filesystem is, if it can cause data loss, its not useful.

It is somewhat hurtful to say, but the biggest problem with Reiserfs is that nobody wants to work with Hans Reiser. The reason his filesystems have such a problem getting into the linux kernel isn't due to some conspiracy, it is because he won't listen to some people and give them the respect they deserve when they try to work with him.

sam10685
Apr 30, 2006, 09:38 PM
Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?

10.5 is going to be a BIG one...

macomrade
Apr 30, 2006, 09:41 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:

Mac OS X already offers a few different file systems from which you can choose including MSDOS(FAT), UNIX, HFS and HFS+ (Journaled, Case-Sensitive and Non). I have only installed X on volumes formated for HFS+ and UNIX but either are completly transparant when working on the system. UNIXs' prep-time takes a little bit longer on format however, it appears fairly seemless once complete. Also mind you, thumb drives and memory cards and other devices that are used regularly on Mac OS X (unless formatted otherwise) all conform to the FAT file system. Applications installed on those devices run as they normally would if they were installed on HFS. Most applications running in X don't require a certain file system and therefore, the transition would be seemless.

Elektronkind
Apr 30, 2006, 09:47 PM
Here's a demo video of ZFS's self-healing powers.

One thing to note for you who are not familiar with Solaris... the "c0d1" and "c1d0" things are Solaris's device names for disk drives, analogous to MacOS's "disk1s2" and so forth.

http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/demos/selfheal/

I'm already using ZFS at work on a production server with 7TB of disk under its control (soon to be 14TB - all on, coincidentally enough, Apple Xserve RAIDs). The server itself is a Sun X4100.

Works like a dream.

/dale

EricNau
Apr 30, 2006, 09:47 PM
10.5 is going to be a BIG one...
Ya, it will, but it won't include this. Maybe 10.6

Stridder44
Apr 30, 2006, 10:02 PM
10.5 is going to be a BIG one...


In what way? Is it not big already? (not an argument, pure curiosity)

bousozoku
Apr 30, 2006, 10:23 PM
I'd be quite surprised if current system calls (what software does to access a disk file) weren't provided in an upward compatible way. Disk utility programs would need to be augmented, but there should be little or no impact on almost all software if Apple does what it should. Assuming this story is correct in the first place.

I'm still surprised that UFS2 or a virtual file system (VFS) hasn't been implemented on Mac OS X.

A VFS would hide the details of what kind of file system is hosting a file and just allow access to it. Think of the way that Open Transport hid the various communication protocols from the programmer and user.

Of course, using a VFS would help Apple into the enterprise with its servers but Apple seems to be in limbo once again concerning the enterprise.

kresh
Apr 30, 2006, 10:31 PM
OK everybody that sent Chris Emura an email at Apple put your hand up.

I bet he is hating the fact that Eric Kustarz put his email addy in the wild :)

Heb1228
Apr 30, 2006, 10:32 PM
I'm looking forward to it being ported over, as I'm downloading Solaris for x86 to play around with ZFS as we speak.
Just out of curiousity... what does 'playing around' with a file system entail?

Mac_Freak
Apr 30, 2006, 10:57 PM
I think this is my favorite quote about the ZFS from the Wiki article

Bonwick stated "Populating 128-bit file systems would exceed the quantum limits of earth-based storage. You couldn't fill a 128-bit storage pool without boiling the oceans."

nagromme
Apr 30, 2006, 11:56 PM
So will this require another rewrite of Mac software? "Okay guys, you've rewritten your programs to port from 68k to PPC, then from OS9 to Carbon and then OSX, now could you please rewrite them for another processor again (Universal)? Oh, and after that, could you rewire it for a completely different file system while you're at it?" :confused:
I don't think this has been addressed yet, so I'll answer: no, it wouldn't require another rewrite.

And the Chinese characters mean what, now?

PS, although ZFS sounds great, could this be just Apple supporting more filesystems for servers and sharing, rather than Apple intending to make it the OS X default?

Elektronkind
May 1, 2006, 12:46 AM
Just out of curiousity... what does 'playing around' with a file system entail?

Using it. Playing around with all of its options (and ZFS has lots of options). Try to break it. Check out its features.

There's plenty to play around with when it comes to ZFS. Just check out its documentation for yourself:

http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/817-2271

/dale

slooksterPSV
May 1, 2006, 12:46 AM
ZFS would be awesome for Mac OS X, that would be a very good move for Apple.

poundsmack
May 1, 2006, 12:51 AM
i seriously hope they do this as the ability to swap files between OSX and Solaris on a mac owuld be awsome
not to mentionall of ZSF's l33tness

Marble
May 1, 2006, 01:37 AM
Would integrating ZFS into Mac OS X be very difficult? They seem to have added support for UFS and, if I remember correctly, FAT32 without much major renovation to the kernel (not that I would know, but it seemed easy enough). Would it be any harder to add ZFS to the Mac? If not, why couldn't this be done by the time 10.5 is released?

the.snitch
May 1, 2006, 01:46 AM
I like it how ZFS is the only one to support "Variable file block sizes". This could be huge. Do you know how much disk space is wasted because of blocks only being partially full?
There is a few other neat sounding things there too. Lots of metadata support for search and organization, ECC for security, and data snapshots for undoing changes, and these could be killer features for an OS. It would make OS X seem even more modern robust and secure.

:D

Lord Kythe
May 1, 2006, 02:04 AM
(...) Beyond that, ZFS promises to make:


data storage more reliable - and more efficient than systems like journaling, which actually lower IO speed for the sake of some reliability. There is also a checksum on the file data so that corruption can be determined.
adding storage simpler - instead of multiple volumes, new hard disks become part of the existing filesystem. Of course, this feature only makes sense for non-removable drives.
space used more efficiently - we all know advertized size != real size != formated size. For example, if a file is smaller than 4k, chances are you'll see the size padded for 'size on disk', with the difference wasted.
hard disks faster - existing systems overwrite data to prevent the hard disk from getting fragmented, ZFS takes a different approach that makes writes extremely fast.


Very nicely put. Thank you very much for this clarification!

redAPPLE
May 1, 2006, 02:23 AM
Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?

i think that would be too late, no? maybe for x.6. but not for x.5.

Analog Kid
May 1, 2006, 02:41 AM
One of ZFS's features is "adaptive endian-ness", meaning that you can use a disk with a ZFS filesystem on either a big-endian or little-endian platform and it's portable back and forth.

With its variable-size adaptive block sizes and constant-time directory operations, it promises great performance too.
My read of the Wikipedia article was that only the metadata is endian agnostic-- the files themselves are "just an array of bytes" that the application needs to sort out.

Of course, if the sum of my knowledge came from Wikipedia, I'm not standing on terribly solid ground with this...

Marx55
May 1, 2006, 02:44 AM
Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).

Apple, go for it!

Staffroomer
May 1, 2006, 03:05 AM
So if I set up my external HD in this format, how compatible with windows is it?

I ask because the current format I use on my external, in order to be compatible with windows, limits the size of the files I can import in one hit to 5 gig or something.. I'd like to see that not be the case anymore...

Kelmon
May 1, 2006, 03:51 AM
Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).

Apple, go for it!

Oh, hell no. If such a move would require applications written for OS X to be recompiled and altered so that they could run on a Mac Solaris then I think that'd be the straw that broke the camels back for developers. They've already been forced to rewrite their applications for OS X and now for Intel processors (and Adobe still hasn't done it) so what we need more than anything else at the moment is a period of stability.

At some point in the future it may well make sense that OS X be replaced with something new but I really don't think that time is now. One transition at a time, please...

bousozoku
May 1, 2006, 03:56 AM
Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).

Apple, go for it!

You're joking, I'm sure, because even the developers at Sun don't consider working with Solaris to be all that good. It's not even close to the best operating system on Earth.

(L)
May 1, 2006, 04:48 AM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

Hear hear! At least tell me what this *might* be and when. Otherwise, what kind of rumor is it?:p

Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).

Apple, go for it!

How is an operating system not even marketed in front of me anywhere at all going to be the best? It can be good, but the Mac is the best for me just because I've seen that and Windows, and not much more. At least Apple's Mac OS is getting some increasing coverage and public attention...

dernhelm
May 1, 2006, 05:04 AM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

Hey, the average consumer only cares about the specs. Hit them with HFS+ can only store 2^63 bytes on a disk while ZFS can store 2^64 bytes. TWICE AS MUCH! That'll wow 'em.

raincoat
May 1, 2006, 05:05 AM
Well i'm glad to see that Apple are looking into something even bigger and better, how very american of them!

Looking forward to 10.6 when this may be implemented

(L)
May 1, 2006, 05:12 AM
OK, I got curious and checked out some screenshots for Solaris 10. Umm, I'm unimpressed. Even if it's lightning fast and can pour coffee, it still looks horrid, just like Windows, and I can't see how that would be easy to use. Maybe easy for a geek, but not a guy like me.:p

dernhelm
May 1, 2006, 05:29 AM
Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).

Apple, go for it!

Still living in the late 80's eh? Solaris stopping being the OS to gun for sometime in the mid 90's. Sun stopping being a company to watch shortly thereafter. Sad really, as Sun had the best thing going for almost 20 years before they diddled it away with mismanagement.

AlmostThere
May 1, 2006, 05:34 AM
I'm still surprised that UFS2 or a virtual file system (VFS) hasn't been implemented on Mac OS X.

A VFS would hide the details of what kind of file system is hosting a file and just allow access to it. Think of the way that Open Transport hid the various communication protocols from the programmer and user.

Of course, using a VFS would help Apple into the enterprise with its servers but Apple seems to be in limbo once again concerning the enterprise.

A VFS is already used in OS X. Have I missed something along the road?

thejadedmonkey
May 1, 2006, 06:04 AM
Isn't OS X modular or something, so wouldn't adding support for another file system be relativly simple? Yes, you'd need some major QC, but if Windows can read and write to HFS+ just by installing a program, doesn't that mean it's not hard to make an OS be able to read a file system? Why couldn't we see ZFS in 10.5?

ipodml
May 1, 2006, 06:23 AM
sounds interesting and sounds good

matticus008
May 1, 2006, 06:29 AM
Isn't OS X modular or something, so wouldn't adding support for another file system be relativly simple? Yes, you'd need some major QC, but if Windows can read and write to HFS+ just by installing a program, doesn't that mean it's not hard to make an OS be able to read a file system? Why couldn't we see ZFS in 10.5?
Well, MacDrive is more than your typical Windows application--a lot more. It just looks like an application from the user perspective. File system support can be adjusted after installation without breaking things if you're adding and not replacing.

In the case of ZFS, I think it's likely that a Software Update will be provided to include this functionality sometime after the launch of 10.5 (but not likely in time for the launch--given the utter lack of details about Leopard so far, I get the distinct impression that they're going to be working right down to the wire and don't have time to test a new filesystem on top of that). After Leopard is updated with ZFS support (maybe they'll roll it into 10.5.2 or something), you'll be able to format and install using ZFS. They may even provide a conversion utility to "upgrade" your disks to ZFS, like Microsoft did with NTFS.

If they choose to replace HFS+ with ZFS, it won't be until 10.6, unless they've already been working on it and we don't officially know about it yet.

dr_lha
May 1, 2006, 06:44 AM
How is an operating system not even marketed in front of me anywhere at all going to be the best? It can be good, but the Mac is the best for me just because I've seen that and Windows, and not much more. At least Apple's Mac OS is getting some increasing coverage and public attention...
You're joking, right? Please tell me you're joking.

learning_bird
May 1, 2006, 06:53 AM
Here are some explanations of ZFS features and benefits taken from the comments made on ArsTechnica ( which was the first to pick up the news ) :

"I see ZFS as a perfect fit. It could really bring "ipod-like simplicity" to the file system.

Throw another drive in the system? Your system drive simply grows by the added size. Want to see what your files looked like 10 days ago? Drag a slider in "Apple TimeWarp" and see what the system looked like. Backup could be made so much more bulletproof with built in snapshot support."

---

"ZFS is all about increasing reliability through extra checks and redundant storage at the filesystem level. Reiser4 is largely about advancing the state of filesystem semantics, and does no more to protect your data from loss than any other current filesystem."

---

"I must admit that I am not intimate with all the details about ZFS but as far as I have understood there is no requirement of extra disk(s) from ZFS. You can use ZFS on a single disk, sure you can't get the RAID-Z capability but all of the other sweet things are there. Also I would not think the CPU cycles "lost" for checksumming are that big a thing with current CPUs and frankly we do "lose" lots of cycles already with Spotlight and mach kernel.

Some benchmarks I saw a few moths back on pre-versions of ZFS were very promising, speed will probably not be an issue."

---

"John, I think your claim that "ZFS isn't really appropriate for all of the markets the Apple serves" needs more substatiation than "there are file systems that do things faster and more reliably".

I won't argue that some filesystems are faster; ZFS is still pretty new and we there's still more tuning to do. Others mentioned checksumming... so far we haven't found it to be much of a burden on modern hardware, but it can be turned off ('zfs set checksum=off') if you determine that your CPU cycles are better used elsewhere.

However, I'm unaware of any filesystem that is more reliable. You mentioned that "to take advantage of all reliability features that ZFS has to offer, you need multiple disks". What features are you thinking of? It's true that you need multiple disks to use mirroring or raid-z, and therefore to use self-healing. However, that is true of any other filesystem/volume manager, so I don't see it as a disadvantage for ZFS. Even using only a single disk, everything is checksummed, it is always consistent on disk, and ZFS even stores multiple copies of the metadata.

So what features would be useful to home users? Others have already mentioned snapshots...

Home users are often less equipped to deal with data loss than enterprise customers, so I think that the increased data integrity will be a win on desktops (even single-disk) too. I've seen several instances of HFS+ (and other filesystems) becoming corrupt, presumably due to crashing at the wrong moment, that would have been prevented by ZFS. Plus, there are some non-catastrophic drive failures, which would be recoverable with ZFS (even with a single disk)."

---

"If this pans out, it will be great news for Apple customers. ZFS incorporates some excellent ideas, and may fundamentally change the way people look at storage. In a way, it provides an abstraction similar to virtual memory, only for disk based storage. As such, adding storage is hardly any more difficult than adding memory. Since Sun opened the ZFS source, it may become as relevant in the coming decades as UFS/FFS have been in the past. At the very least, it is slated for inclusion in DragonFlyBSD.

As far as performance, restructuring the storage stack actually provides some excellent opportunities. The level of integration with ZFS allows for much better IO scheduling, increased parallelism by avoiding unnecessary data dependencies, as well as eliminating the RAID-5 write hole. These are not small advantages. RAID-Z in particular has huge benefits over RAID-5, in that it doesn't require a read-modify-write cycle, or the added cost and complexity of NVRAM caches.

In any case, the utility of ZFS would be more than welcome, even on a single-disk desktop or laptop. There are really two issues here; the ability to protect your data from hardware errors, and to protect it from user error. HFS+J and UFS fail miserably in both ways. With either of them, a single bad sector or other minor problem can destroy an entire filesystem. On the other hand, the ZFS on-disk format is extremely robust, and the nature of the filesystem allows for simple and elegant solutions to both of these issues.

The amount of data corruption due to buggy ATA hardware and disk write caches is far greater than with enterprise class hardware. There are also the common problems with removable media and external drives being pulled. Beyond that, heat related problems are also common with laptops. These are all basically nonexistent with ZFS, since the on-disk data is robust, always consistent, and verifiable. While the infrastructure to support removable media may not be in place at present, there is no reason why ZFS couldn't be used on everything from flash media to iPod's as well. It would certainly be a welcome replacement for FAT, that is for sure.

The other problem plaguing desktop storage is in the ability to make backups convenient and often. ZFS snapshots would greatly simplify this problem. Together with the possibility of a native encrypted filesystem, it would also be far superior to the current FileVault hack. While FileVault is a great feature, the implementation sucks, and it really complicates backup. Snapshots open up a whole range of possibilities for full and incremental backups. User directories less than 4GB could be burned to DVD with a single click, with or without FileVault."

---

"Actually, ZFS stores *all* metadata redundantly. So we can actually correct some hardware errors, even on single disk pools. And we have some neat tricks for spreading out the copies as much as possible, so if you zero out (say) the first third of your disk, we can still navigate all the metadata and at least provide access to everything that's left. If you have multiple disks, the copies will be on different disks. (BTW, we call it the "uberblock", and it has even more copies.) FYI, these copies do cost something, but since we compress all metadata, the amount of disk space used by metadata is still similar to other filesystems."

Wince99
May 1, 2006, 07:18 AM
Thats a 16 billion billion better chance of a BSOD

Actually, I think Vista's supposed to support TBSOD (Transparent Blue Sceen Of Death) now.:p

Mac Fly (film)
May 1, 2006, 07:21 AM
Some info and quotes from the Wiki ZFS page:


ZFS is a 128-bit file system, which means it can provide 16 billion billion times the capacity of current 64-bit systems. The limitations of ZFS are designed to be so large that they will never be encountered in any practical operation. When contemplating the capacity of this system, Bonwick stated "Populating 128-bit file systems would exceed the quantum limits of earth-based storage. You couldn't fill a 128-bit storage pool without boiling the oceans.

"if a user was creating 1,000 files a second it would take them about 9,000 years to reach the limit of the number of files.":D

neilw
May 1, 2006, 07:47 AM
One thing I noted from the Wikipedia page was that ZFS is case-sensitive. Would Apple switch to a case-sensitive filing system at this juncture? Would people care?

matticus008
May 1, 2006, 07:53 AM
One thing I noted from the Wikipedia page was that ZFS is case-sensitive. Would Apple switch to a case-sensitive filing system at this juncture? Would people care?
It doesn't necessarily matter. Case sensitivity can still be ignored by the OS if desired, unless ZFS has reinvented the wheel there...case sensitivity is something that has to be incorporated in order for the option to exist, but doesn't necessarily have to be used.

I'm not sure if I'm saying this well. If there is no case sensitivity at the filesystem level, you don't have the option to be case-sensitive. But after including the option, you can still go either way. Does that make sense?

AidenShaw
May 1, 2006, 08:36 AM
If there is no case sensitivity at the filesystem level, you don't have the option to be case-sensitive. But after including the option, you can still go either way. Does that make sense?
The file system normally has APIs to do file lookups - if that API doesn't have a "case-insensitive" option, it can be much slower to find a particular file (you might have to write code to get all of the file names, and do a case-blind compare to see if it is the one you want).

QPlot
May 1, 2006, 08:43 AM
Ummm....in English please?

Who cares about this stuff. The average consumer sure doesn't. Just show us the merchandise!

I agree. I hate sometimes they just throw a new word from no where and dons't give you a easy grasp. :confused: Or a picture, LOL

balamw
May 1, 2006, 08:47 AM
PS, although ZFS sounds great, could this be just Apple supporting more filesystems for servers and sharing, rather than Apple intending to make it the OS X default?
My thoughts too. Perhaps this is aimed primarily at virtualization/sharing with Solaris in 10.5 on Intel Macs or is meant only for OS X Server?!?

If it is on the roadmap for default FS, even for 10.6 we'll probably find out at WWDC.

B

QPlot
May 1, 2006, 08:48 AM
I'm not sure if I'm saying this well. If there is no case sensitivity at the filesystem level, you don't have the option to be case-sensitive. But after including the option, you can still go either way. Does that make sense?

It does make perfect sense to me. But personally I don't think it's worthwhile. Don't treate user as programmer, it's too much information to them(us).

If oneday you happened to type "mY doCument" you'll be freak out. yell"I just upgraded to ZHFDEIF system two days ago, where they put my files."

:D

QPlot
May 1, 2006, 08:49 AM
Hey, the average consumer only cares about the specs. Hit them with HFS+ can only store 2^63 bytes on a disk while ZFS can store 2^64 bytes. TWICE AS MUCH! That'll wow 'em.

u joking, right? No I can't see twice, I only see it jumps from 63 to 64 which is not much in MY common sense. :eek:

ifjake
May 1, 2006, 08:54 AM
It is open source, so I'm sure Apple would be quite involved themselves at tweaking it should they decide to use it, adding Mac OS specific extras to it. As long as on the consumer level this leads to a speed increase or some kind of security advantage or something good that people don't have to have huge servers with enormous amounts of disk space to actually see an improvement, then go for it.

I'm wondering now that Apple's gone x86 if that means there could be an increased variety of compatible open source technologies for them to at least experiment with. Of course, I know absolutely nothing about how open source works.

QPlot
May 1, 2006, 08:54 AM
"if a user was creating 1,000 files a second it would take them about 9,000 years to reach the limit of the number of files.":D

ok, really convincing. I guess from now on, all I'm gonna do is to create millions of millions of files then.








Just to see how good is this beast. I got to test it somehow :rolleyes:

joebells
May 1, 2006, 08:59 AM
u joking, right? No I can't see twice, I only see it jumps from 63 to 64 which is not much in MY common sense. :eek:

2^2 equals 4
2^3 equals 8
2^4 equals 16
2^5 equals 32
.....
2^63 equals 9,223,372,036,854,775,808
2^64 equals 18,446,744,073,709,551,616

miketcool
May 1, 2006, 09:18 AM
u joking, right? No I can't see twice, I only see it jumps from 63 to 64 which is not much in MY common sense.

2^2 equals 4
2^3 equals 8
2^4 equals 16
2^5 equals 32
.....
2^63 equals 9,223,372,036,854,775,808
2^64 equals 18,446,744,073,709,551,616

You just got schooled!

I don't think the question is so much whether or not ZFS will be supported, which it probably will. The question is, will this become the default filesystem for OS X. Is apple going to port this? Or is Apple going to support it and it's own Apple flavor of it?

As for the video, that was pretty cool, but can't auto checksumming be built into the current filesystem? Or is the way it's implemented now just too slow?

BenRoethig
May 1, 2006, 09:32 AM
The more file systems that are compatible with OSX, the better.

electronboy
May 1, 2006, 09:49 AM
Is Apple thinking of implementing ZFS in Leopard? I would suspect that this was under way for quite some time if that is their goal. If they are just starting dicusssions with Sun regarding this then hopefully they are thinking about integrating into the next release AFTER Leopard.

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 10:34 AM
Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?

Absolutly no way could ZFS be ready in time for 10.5. If Apple put some effort into this and paid Sun to help. My estimate is that it wouls take a year at least. It's taken Sun that long to make ZFS available in the "real world" after it was anounced and running in the lab.

Also ZFS is not something you would run on a small 250MB boot disk. THis is meant for someone with a rack of 5, 7 or 200 drive spindles. After all the "Z" is for zetabyte.

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 10:39 AM
You just got schooled!

I don't think the question is so much whether or not ZFS will be supported, which it probably will. The question is, will this become the default filesystem for OS X. Is apple going to port this?

ZFS is not something you put on a boot drive. Even on Solaris they boot off UFS while ZFS is reserved for the disk arrays

I suspect the first place you will see ZFS and Apple mixed will be on the servers that run iTunes or .Mac those are places that really do need many terrabyts of storage.. ZFS is big, complex and NOT something you could but on a 80GB drive in a macbook, well at least whithout maybe 18 to 24 months of work

tcmcam
May 1, 2006, 11:05 AM
ZFS is big, complex and NOT something you could but on a 80GB drive in a macbook, well at least whithout maybe 18 to 24 months of work

Well, gee, this is like saying a few years back "I'll never have 2GB of RAM in a laptop".... c'mon...

OK, so ZFS is not for your boot drive. BUT, what about XServe? What about a PowerMac with 2 to 4 hard drives using RAID-Z for video editting work? I'd love "Instant" snapshots for that!!

I think Apple's challenge is this:
1 - Make it "Apple" like: Nice GUI to manage it (integrated into Disk Utility), most of the options should be auto-magic. Right now, only a Unix geek could love that command line interface.
2 - Who say's it doesn't make sense for your boot drive down the road? Who says that disk drives won't get smaller and cheaper. Maybe 2+ HDD will become standard in computers in the next 3-4 years.
3. - This is NOT for Leopard. This is for later, but that's fine.

Let's face it, Apple needs more Enterprise level tools, this is a step in the right direction.

Doctor Q
May 1, 2006, 11:16 AM
My read of the Wikipedia article was that only the metadata is endian agnostic-- the files themselves are "just an array of bytes" that the application needs to sort out.You are correct, as I understand it. Filesystems don't concern themselves with the content of file data, only the access to it.

QPlot
May 1, 2006, 11:21 AM
Well, gee, this is like saying a few years back "I'll never have 2GB of RAM in a laptop"..

Let's face it, Apple needs more Enterprise level tools, this is a step in the right direction.

point taken.

yac_moda
May 1, 2006, 11:48 AM
WAY COOOL HOTdiggityDOGGIES !!!

Heavey metals game MACchines comin our WAY COOLNESS :eek:

MACs for audio studios that YOU can just click to record AND LEAVE IT ON ALL DAY :D :eek: :p

Remember the news from Segate that they are about to start shipping nearly terra bit HDs :eek: :confused: :eek: :)

SiliconAddict
May 1, 2006, 11:55 AM
Apple's changing their file system with 10.5?


doubt it. IMHO I think its too late in the development game to be doing that. Keep in mind that a feature complete 10.5 is going to be released to developers on Aug. If we are only hearing about TALKS now I would doubt that it will make Leopard. 10.6...maybe.

matticus008
May 1, 2006, 12:14 PM
The file system normally has APIs to do file lookups - if that API doesn't have a "case-insensitive" option, it can be much slower to find a particular file (you might have to write code to get all of the file names, and do a case-blind compare to see if it is the one you want).
Right. That's what I'm saying. If the filesystem is case-insensitive, you CAN'T have case-sensitivity and therefore don't need the option in code, because a case-insensitive file system will return the same for File and file and filE, etc. I think that I'm just having a mental block at communicating this textually.

asphalt-proof
May 1, 2006, 12:16 PM
Which is why we didn't report the REALLY gory aspects of this story, which as you can see is coming out in the forums (like I hoped). File Systems are indeed a very technical thing, so technical people will get excited about this news and see it's significance. Others of us will just wait until it actually practically impacts us.

My take on this story is that basically, Apple is looking ahead and seeing that HFS+ will eventually run out of breathing room for the developers at apple to build on top of. ZFS has a ton of really nice features already built into it, and it is a 128-bit file system whereas HFS+ is only 32bit. ZFS has more "legs", so Apple is basically looking towards the future.

Ok I didn't understand much of the wiki except that it appears to be a very fast file system. Could some of you more informed people let us know what, practically, we could expect from such a change in OSX? (if this question has been asked before I apologize, I never made it past the 1st page.)

supremedesigner
May 1, 2006, 12:50 PM
Absolutly no way could ZFS be ready in time for 10.5. If Apple put some effort into this and paid Sun to help. My estimate is that it wouls take a year at least. It's taken Sun that long to make ZFS available in the "real world" after it was anounced and running in the lab.

Also ZFS is not something you would run on a small 250MB boot disk. THis is meant for someone with a rack of 5, 7 or 200 drive spindles. After all the "Z" is for zetabyte.

Actually, what if they already talked with Sun like 2 years ago and been workin' on it ever since? But that is interestsing...

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 01:17 PM
[QUOTE=asphalt-proof...Could some of you more informed people let us know what, practically, we could expect from such a change in OSX?[/QUOTE]

Massive RAID systems that are easy to setup and manage. For example if you run out of space you simply buy a few more drives and add then to the "storage pool". You can specify a policy about how the disks are to be distributed between redundancy, speed and "hot spares" "Masive" meaning many, many tarabytes. But not even Solaris can boot off ZFS, Don't expect Mac OS to lead Solaris on this.

Les Kern
May 1, 2006, 01:21 PM
One of ZFS's features is "adaptive endian-ness", meaning that you can use a disk with a ZFS filesystem on either a big-endian or little-endian platform and it's portable back and forth.

With its variable-size adaptive block sizes and constant-time directory operations, it promises great performance too.


My partner and I just developed an app that uses 448-bit encryption, and struggled to make the WIN end work properly just BECAUSE of "big endian" - "little endian" issue. It added a lot of extra code that I felt wasn't REALLY needed... we may have to sepaprate the platforms as it matures.
I wish interoperabilty were the norm.

Demoman
May 1, 2006, 01:35 PM
i seriously hope they do this as the ability to swap files between OSX and Solaris on a mac owuld be awsome
not to mentionall of ZSF's l33tness

Either you have not used Solaris, or Solaris has improved greatly. I administrated a 2.0-2.4 system for a few years. The day I moved on was one of the happiest in my life.

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 01:40 PM
You are correct, as I understand it. Filesystems don't concern themselves with the content of file data, only the access to it.

That's right in UNIX-like OSes. Some other OSes did get inside the files. But that's history. Fr example VMS treats binary and test files differently andthe file system knows about thing like line termination. UNIX has always had the idea that a file is just a stream of bytes left to the application layer to interpet. But to many users of Mac OS the OS and the application are the same. I think Mac OSX users then to think of the "Finder" as part of the OS and not just an applacation.

We should make it plain here. ZFS would be part of Darwin. The open source core of Mac OS, it's not something you'd see in "point and click land" except maybe some options in system preferences.

It's also not something the average home user would want. Just read the name: Users are just starting tho think about disks in terms of "TB". "ZB" is hugly larger 1E21 is a _huge_ number. All of the information currently stored in the whole world does not add up to 1ZB.

nagromme
May 1, 2006, 02:00 PM
Sounds great but the real killer would be Solaris --the BEST OS on Earth-- with Aqua --the BEST interface on Earth-- to replace the current Mac OS X (much as Mac OS X replaced Mac OS 9).
Are you referring to the underlying Darwin UNIX, vs. the UNIX beneath Solaris? Or are you referring to the whole OS top to bottom and prefer Solaris?

Either way, I'm curious about the benefits of Solaris over OS X. (And/or the anticipated benefits of the NEXT version of Solaris vs. Leopard.)

daveL
May 1, 2006, 02:15 PM
ZFS is not something you put on a boot drive. Even on Solaris they boot off UFS while ZFS is reserved for the disk arrays

I suspect the first place you will see ZFS and Apple mixed will be on the servers that run iTunes or .Mac those are places that really do need many terrabyts of storage.. ZFS is big, complex and NOT something you could but on a 80GB drive in a macbook, well at least whithout maybe 18 to 24 months of work
Solaris will boot off of ZFS as of the Solaris 10 update at the end of this year. There are many features of ZFS that make sense on single disk systems, as described in earlier posts.

Doctor Q
May 1, 2006, 02:20 PM
My partner and I just developed an app that uses 448-bit encryption, and struggled to make the WIN end work properly just BECAUSE of "big endian" - "little endian" issue. It added a lot of extra code that I felt wasn't REALLY needed... we may have to sepaprate the platforms as it matures.
I wish interoperabilty were the norm.Think how much nicer the world would be if DOS, Unix, and Mac OS had all started out with the same line terminator. Byte-oriented ASCII or ISO-8859-n files wouldn't need conversions at all.

When cave men used teletypes to talk to their computers, carriage return and line feed were both needed because they represented distinct horizontal and vertical movements of the print head, but it's been a while since we needed that. And I've always thought the Mac legacy of using CR rather than either CRLF or LF was misguided. WHY did they do that? Just to be different?

Of course, if we're wishing, we could wish that Unicode had been used from the start and that processors all used the same endianness.

yac_moda
May 1, 2006, 03:02 PM
To help MacRumors in their time of struggle for stories:

http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/01/macbook-pros-overheating-due-to-thermal-grease/

The story of the DAY is APPLE's stock dropping LIKE A ROCK because of free Napster downloads :eek: :confused: :eek:

miketcool
May 1, 2006, 03:07 PM
Oh man!

This just occurred to me in a Turpenoid induced dream....

Terrabyte iPods running RAID ZFS Filesystems tomorrow!

I can't wait for ZFS iPods!

gnasher729
May 1, 2006, 03:25 PM
One thing I noted from the Wikipedia page was that ZFS is case-sensitive. Would Apple switch to a case-sensitive filing system at this juncture? Would people care?

Case sensitivity is actually a very, very minor detail in a file system. All the file system has to do: Remember a file name as it was given by a user (a case sensitive file system _must_ do this, a case insensitive file system will do it), check whether two file names are the same or not, and lookup a file with a given name. There is actually very little code involved to handle case sensitivity; less than hundred lines of code to be changed if it is designed properly, plus a rather large table mapping uppercase to lowercase for Unicode. So if Apple has the source code for a case-sensitive ZFS, modifying it to work case-insensitive isn't too much work.

Things like sorting files in alphabetical order are done elsewhere anyway. For example, if you switch the preferred language on your Macintosh to a different language, then the order in which files are displayed in a "File Open" dialog has to change. You wouldn't want to change the way files are stored on your harddisk because the user changes their preferred language (what if you have three users logged in at the same time, using three different languages? )

bousozoku
May 1, 2006, 04:18 PM
You are correct, as I understand it. Filesystems don't concern themselves with the content of file data, only the access to it.

Generally, that's true but IBM's OS/400 has historically had a database for a file system and it did care about the content, piece by piece.

guifa
May 1, 2006, 06:01 PM
Case sensitivity is actually a very, very minor detail in a file system. All the file system has to do: Remember a file name as it was given by a user (a case sensitive file system _must_ do this, a case insensitive file system will do it), check whether two file names are the same or not, and lookup a file with a given name. There is actually very little code involved to handle case sensitivity; less than hundred lines of code to be changed if it is designed properly, plus a rather large table mapping uppercase to lowercase for Unicode. So if Apple has the source code for a case-sensitive ZFS, modifying it to work case-insensitive isn't too much work.

Things like sorting files in alphabetical order are done elsewhere anyway. For example, if you switch the preferred language on your Macintosh to a different language, then the order in which files are displayed in a "File Open" dialog has to change. You wouldn't want to change the way files are stored on your harddisk because the user changes their preferred language (what if you have three users logged in at the same time, using three different languages? )
Well, Apple could base things off of a meta data similar to the Info.plist for Application packages. Store ALL documents, say, in their lowercase forms, but include a tag such as userTypedName and then display that, but do the rest of your operations on the (internally) stored lower case name. Cf Address Book which is displayed as "Address Book", although it's actual file name is "Address Book.app" but in Spanish is displayed "Agenda", and in other languages displayed accordingly. Just switch CFBundleName with user-inputted name.

backdraft
May 1, 2006, 06:03 PM
Maybe Apple plans on supporting ppc, sparc, along w/ that old x86 ISA... Who knows they might buy SUN.

Or maybe its just so OS X is that much more portable. The whole endian thing...

kalisphoenix
May 1, 2006, 07:24 PM
Either way, I'm curious about the benefits of Solaris over OS X. (And/or the anticipated benefits of the NEXT version of Solaris vs. Leopard.)

Well, the only benefit of Solaris over OS X that comes to my mind is that, if you find a SunBLADE or some similar machine lying abandoned in a dumpster, Solaris will run on it whereas OS X will not.

There is absolutely not one single facet of its existence in which it beats out OS X, as far as end users are concerned.

It scales very well to high numbers of processors (ie, 64 or 128 or more processors), but no Macs have that many processors. And Apple's not likely to go in the direction of high-end servers. It might become more important if per-core CPU power continues to plateau and we continue stuffing more cores in things.

In general, Linux and FreeBSD both seem to outperform it in both speed and stability, and both have far superior hardware support. The exception is, of course, high-end servers to which Linux and FreeBSD developers are not often granted access (much less the inordinately expensive amounts of time needed to test an OS on that equipment).

So in general, if you're interested in Solaris, buy a used UltraSPARC workstation off eBay for ~$100 and install it. And expect to be completely underwhelmed. Rumors of its superiority (and even its adequacy) are greatly exaggerated, for most people. There's a nifty little Debian-esque apt-get type application to install open source software over a network, but otherwise it's largely a pain in the ass.

I like Solaris. It's a fine OS, but in my opinion it is incapable of keeping up with Linux or FreeBSD on the low-end server front and is no match for Windows or OS X on the home user front. For workstations, well, Linux and even IRIX seem to have it beat on most fronts. And the cost of their machines make a visit to the Apple store seem like a dollar store. All in all, Sun is a goddamned mess.

ManchesterTrix
May 1, 2006, 07:45 PM
So in general, if you're interested in Solaris, buy a used UltraSPARC workstation off eBay for ~$100 and install it

You don't even have to do that. If you have an x86 or x64 system lying around you can download Solaris for free from sun.com and play with it.

kalisphoenix
May 1, 2006, 07:52 PM
You don't even have to do that. If you have an x86 or x64 system lying around you can download Solaris for free from sun.com and play with it.

True, but it feels more fair to run Solaris on hardware designed to run it :) And I'm a bit of a box junkie, so any time I can get people to buy more worthless machines, I feel a little less insane ;)

whee900
May 1, 2006, 07:56 PM
In 5 to 10 years, for all we know, new computers might be shipping with 5 terabyte storage systems. ZFS will be practical and needed in such a situation. The required memory storage capacity in the world is going to keep on rising, so we'll need more advanced file systems as we progress.

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 07:56 PM
Well, the only benefit of Solaris over OS X that comes to my mind is that,

Really comparing Solaris with mac OSX is almost silly. They do different things.
Next silly question" Which is best a BMW two seater or a Ford F250 pickup?

Mac OSX is very has a very good "desktop". The absolute best. Solaris' is just plain horible. I know I've used it for years and years daily. If you want to edit video and still images Aple winsd hand down.

But if you want to run some equipment in a server room, Apple does not even make the right hardware. Can you imagine an enterprice class Oracle instalation running on any current Mac? Try as you want but you can't buy a 16-cpu Power Mac with triple redondant hot swap power supplies. Some of the nice features of Sun equipment is "Lights out managment" you can log in an "do stuff" even if the drives are crashed and the machine will not boot and then there is "self healing" where the OS is tolerent of failed hardware components andthe "boot around" where the OS will boot even with a few failed CPUs and dead RAM and a failed disk drive. Why care? typically an admin does not live inside the sever room and may be mailes away from it. Nice to be able to fix stuff remotly and if not at least diagnose it remotely. Some Sun hardware is et up to run of DC power that is typicaly available in telcom rooms. But really it come down to cost. Sun is very good at "compute power to volume ratio" You pay for rack pace by the inch per month.

The way to think about it is that Apple targets the home user and creative profesional and tries to make the desktop experiance as nice as possable while Sun targets the profesional system admin and seems to care less if there is a nice point and click user interace.

It's really to bad Silicone Graphicswent downhil. I used to know an SGI sales rep who said he could take an SGI loaner machine into a Mac-only graphics shop and quickly get all those "Photoshoppers" saying "I want one". IRIX was nicer then OX9 and the hardware left Apple in the dust by like a factor of 10. But no more.

ChrisA
May 1, 2006, 08:06 PM
You don't even have to do that. If you have an x86 or x64 system lying around you can download Solaris for free from sun.com and play with it.

Yes, Solaris is now Open Source. It it's free. I had Solaris running on a Dual 3Ghz Xeon with 4GB RAM and two ultr320 disks with a top-end nVidia graphics card. I used this for sofware devalopment. It was faster then anyhting Apple sells but of couse also much more limited in what it could do. Recently I switched to Linux on this hardware. Linux is more like "Darwin" or BSD A much simpler system to deal with than Solaris.

Rocketman
May 1, 2006, 08:17 PM
Apple is an early adopter of "bleeding edge" technologies. ZFS is an an alleged quantum leap. Further, it is an alleged "enterprise class" technology.

Apple wants to further penetrate enterprise class markets.

Sun owns them now.

Apple would do well to sell to the periphery of that market until it has a true enterprise class server.

Mean time, it should sell X-serve 4U systems to wintel zealot power users via TV commercials. Nobody buys unneeded capacity better than TV addicted Americans.

Apple could use their money, and the X-serve team could use it best of all.

Not convinced? Let me be the marketing manager for the effort :)

BTW porting ZFS will take about a week. It already runs and is debugged under a UNIX. Adding a fancy interface will take another month (v1.0 BFD).

Rocketman

daveL
May 1, 2006, 08:58 PM
BTW porting ZFS will take about a week. It already runs and is debugged under a UNIX. Adding a fancy interface will take another month (v1.0 BFD).

Rocketman
Ummm ... ZFS is 98% kernel code. Solaris comes from a AT&T System V R4 code base. OS X is a splice of FreeBSD and the Mach micro kernel. The port is far more than trivial. Anything that has to do with kernel primitives will be different. When you say "Unix" you are really talking about Unix user land (shell, common posix Unix commands), not the Unix kernel, which is unique to every major Unix vendor to varying degrees.

Kernel: Solaris != HPUX != AIX != xxxBSD != Linux != etc.

sjk
May 1, 2006, 09:04 PM
A VFS is already used in OS X. Have I missed something along the road?Maybe we both have. Still hoping bousozoku will clarify what (s)he meant by VFS.

Here are some explanations of ZFS features and benefits taken from the comments made on ArsTechnica ( which was the first to pick up the news )Greetings here, l_b. I'm lux over there. That thread's died off since our posts, only mentioning this MacRumors thread. Mostly redundant, with the exceptions from people who've read before posting and bring something new to the topic.

ktlx
May 1, 2006, 09:10 PM
Either you have not used Solaris, or Solaris has improved greatly. I administrated a 2.0-2.4 system for a few years. The day I moved on was one of the happiest in my life.

I agree. Until Solaris 2.5.1, it was a horrible piece of junk. Even after that, I was never really happy with Solaris until Solaris 8 (i.e. Solaris 2.8). For quad processors and up, I don't think there is a better UNIX OS.

Doctor Q
May 1, 2006, 09:14 PM
Just to clarify, SunOS was originally based on BSD, but Sun Microsystems then moved to an AT&T SVR4 base while retaining much of the BSD code too. The /usr/bin directory on a Solaris 10 system has hundreds of commands, but /usr/ucb has over 100 more. Even the old BSD-style /etc/termcap file is still around.

But Solaris does give preference to the SVR4 ways of doing things, plus many that Sun itself invented.

ktlx
May 1, 2006, 09:16 PM
Just to clarify, SunOS was originally based on BSD, but Sun Microsystems then moved to an AT&T SVR4 base while retaining much of the BSD code too.

To be accurate, SunOS <= 4.x was BSD-based and SunOS 5.x is SVR4-based. :)

Type "uname -a" on any Solaris system and you'll see a response of "SunOS <hostname> 5.x".

slooksterPSV
May 1, 2006, 11:16 PM
Generally, that's true but IBM's OS/400 has historically had a database for a file system and it did care about the content, piece by piece.
Theoretically if the file system cared about the content wouldn't it be slow because it would have to check the content.???

Doctor Q
May 1, 2006, 11:25 PM
Theoretically if the file system cared about the content wouldn't it be slow because it would have to check the content.???The speed of a filesystem is most limited by the speed of disk reads and writes, so much emphasis is placed on avoiding disk accesses wherever possible. A little extra CPU time in between disk activity should make relatively little difference.

jhu
May 1, 2006, 11:29 PM
There is absolutely not one single facet of its existence in which it beats out OS X, as far as end users are concerned.

the general user has absolutely what's under the hood of the aqua interface. you could taheoretcially replace darwin with windows nt, linux, sun os, openbsd, hurd, etc, and the end-user wouldn't know the difference.

buysse
May 1, 2006, 11:54 PM
My partner and I just developed an app that uses 448-bit encryption, and struggled to make the WIN end work properly just BECAUSE of "big endian" - "little endian" issue. It added a lot of extra code that I felt wasn't REALLY needed... we may have to sepaprate the platforms as it matures.
I wish interoperabilty were the norm.

(Offtopic, but useful)

ntohl() and htonl() are your close, personal friends. The only thing that you have to do is wrap your storage (output stream, input stream) calls in these C library calls. The functions are "network-to-host-long (32-bit value)" and "host-to-network-long". They're part of the standard C library. They're also extremely highly optimized calls, usually implemented as macros when possible.

GregA
May 2, 2006, 01:52 AM
Would integrating ZFS into Mac OS X be very difficult? They seem to have added support for UFS and, if I remember correctly, FAT32 without much major renovation to the kernel (not that I would know, but it seemed easy enough). Would it be any harder to add ZFS to the Mac? If not, why couldn't this be done by the time 10.5 is released?I would have thought this could be done independently of any major OS revision. The file system is already in production in another OS and the source is open - and as you note the UFS and FAT32 file systems reflect an underlying modular ability to choose file systems.

Unless, of course, they were planning on integrating ZFS significantly with some broader file system plans for the Mac OS - then all bets are off.

Demoman
May 2, 2006, 08:24 AM
I agree. Until Solaris 2.5.1, it was a horrible piece of junk. Even after that, I was never really happy with Solaris until Solaris 8 (i.e. Solaris 2.8). For quad processors and up, I don't think there is a better UNIX OS.

It is nice to know they finally exorcized the demons. Did they ever get rid of the SAF?

learning_bird
May 2, 2006, 11:30 AM
Today, Sun as announced that Solaris ZFS 1.0 will be available in June as part of the next commercial release.

http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2006-05/sunflash.20060502.5.xml?cid=155

daveL
May 2, 2006, 02:41 PM
Maybe we both have. Still hoping bousozoku will clarify what (s)he meant by VFS.
VFS means Virtual File System. It is an overarching file system framework that allows any specific file system to be treated as a plug-in beneath it. To an application, all file systems supported under VFS are accessed through its interface. Essentially, there's only one file system door into and out of the OS kernel, instead of a separate door for each file system supported (HFS+, NTFS, FAT32, HSFS, UFS, ...).

HTH

sjk
May 2, 2006, 04:31 PM
VFS means Virtual File System.Yes, I understand the traditional definition of VFS, which is why I was asking for clarification of bousozoku's usage:

I'm still surprised that UFS2 or a virtual file system (VFS) hasn't been implemented on Mac OS X.

... because OS X uses a VFS abstraction layer for supported filesystems.

daveL
May 2, 2006, 05:05 PM
Yes, I understand the traditional definition of VFS, which is why I was asking for clarification of bousozoku's usage:

I'm still surprised that UFS2 or a virtual file system (VFS) hasn't been implemented on Mac OS X.

... because OS X uses a VFS abstraction layer for supported filesystems.
Sorry for missing that. Perhaps someone benefitted from my post. Can't hurt.

kalisphoenix
May 2, 2006, 05:39 PM
Really comparing Solaris with mac OSX is almost silly. They do different things.
Next silly question" Which is best a BMW two seater or a Ford F250 pickup?

Right, so -- like I said? ;) We all know that Solaris is a fine OS, and obviously the talented engineers at Sun haven't been waving their SPARCs in the wind all these years. Solaris is a great OS for CS and IT people with good budgets or home UNIX enthusiasts needing a dedicated server. It's just not going to cut it for Ma and Pa, generally, and it doesn't even cut it for me.

It's not like we're comparing Keira Knightly with a xylophone constructed out of oatmeal-coated squirrels, here. We are comparing two mature currently-marketed operating systems based on UNIX with graphical interfaces, with my gracefully-inserted caveat that this applies only to the average end user. If you want dtrace or zones, then OS X's not going to satisfy you.

It's really to bad Silicone Graphicswent downhil. I used to know an SGI sales rep who said he could take an SGI loaner machine into a Mac-only graphics shop and quickly get all those "Photoshoppers" saying "I want one". IRIX was nicer then OX9 and the hardware left Apple in the dust by like a factor of 10. But no more.

Gah. I hate IRIX and their @#$%ing Interactive Desktop that makes Windows 3.0 look like a naked and raunchy Monica Bellucci. It's great for what it does, I guess, it's just not my thing. You wouldn't believe the trouble I went to to get that OS off my Indy. Or, more accurately, to get Gentoo on to it.

the general user has absolutely what's under the hood of the aqua interface. you could taheoretcially replace darwin with windows nt, linux, sun os, openbsd, hurd, etc, and the end-user wouldn't know the difference.

Fantastic -- but in consensual reality, we're stuck with Solaris with CDE/KDE/GNOME/*Box/Windowmaker vs. OS X with Aqua :) If someone is unaware of the strengths and weaknesses of Solaris, they're probably not going to engineer a compatibility layer to run Aqua and OS X applications on Solaris.

Seriously: if you polled a random portion of the populace, sat them in front of a Mac for an hour and then Solaris for an hour, I'd be willing to bet that well over 95% would run screaming back to the Mac. And that's what my post was about -- not about networking benchmarks or Solaris's equivalent of the chroot jail, but just plain simple end user ease-of-use. OS X beats Solaris hands down. If you take a high end server tech or an experienced UNIX server administrator, he'll most likely prefer Solaris because of its features and robustness. I'm willing to bet Nagromme is neither; he's probably like me in that he's a technically-inclined and curious person who still likes to see a Mac label on the box when he buys a printer.

boncellis
May 3, 2006, 01:50 PM
Whatever the end result with the future file system, I hope Apple integrates this kind of thinking into their future products. I like the fact that Apple continues to incorporate open source innovation into their software. It's one of the first things that attracted me to OS X.

jemo07
May 6, 2006, 02:42 PM
Hi guys, this is my first post, so don’t shoot the messenger! :eek: I have been browsing for a long time and this news was of merit to reply.

Ok, here is my take on ZFS and as I state, I believe that apple will bring this to OSX sooner that latter for two major feature in the FS that will be currently lacking for a modern OS and it’s underlying FS.

-Snapshot technology
-Volume management at the OS layer
-Performance gains

Ok, ever since the Raiser revolution, lots of modern OS and their FS have been adding Snapshots to their FS as part of their standard feature set. M$ has their version, called Volume Shadow Copies and the WinFS promise should bring a new set of feature sets that could leave Apple out of the Enterprise market they so much like to gain a foot in the door. This Snapshot technology is key for both the client and server market, as they should be able to interact regardless id the FS is local or accessed via a Network FS such as NFS o SMB/CIFS variant.

This interaction of both client/server is key at both the volume manager layer and the actual FS. Apple needs a way to create a “Fast” Raid protected volume that could be integrated in the current FS transparently for both the user or the application. If you consider that Apple is trying to gain in the be it niche market of digital media production, there is a key need is this market that is clearly understood, media companies need A LOT of storage and will continue to need more for a long time. And if we consider HD formats, this will explode the current need by a factor of nearly 3X….. so if a local stain needs 300TB of storage now, they would need nearly a Petabyte by years end just to stay on course. Here, easy VM and local + network FS integration is key!!!

Finally, it’s no secret that the current FS in Apple is slow, if you look at most of the benchmarks were apples where compared to house fixture (windoz) :p using the same app, one of the key factors that is left out is the fact that the FS used by Apple today is SLOW. Just look at most HTTP benchmarks and pay close attention to the dataset and the IOs and you can clearly see the uncompetitive advantage that apple has here.

So, for all of us, Enterprise account or consumers, lets hope Apple chooses wisely and get the right and fast FS on their systems ASAP… heck I like to see the share hit $100 in 12 moths.:D

Regards,

JoseM

mdavey
May 6, 2006, 03:45 PM
This is fantastic news! ZFS should result in a significant performance improvement over HFS.

The metadata capabilities of ZFS could lead to some really interesting developments for Spotlight technology that I can only start to imagine (for instance, we might see Spotlight offering semantic searches).

There could also be some compelling new possibilities for .mac (such as 'instant' backups).

As others have pointed out, while ZFS is great for the Enterprise, it is also a really good choice for the home user - it is easy to administrate and encourages best practices (taking snapshots and backups) without the annoyance of not being able to use the machine while administrative tasks are taking place.