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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:28 AM   #1
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ZFS (and Snow Leopard) to Speed up Solid State Drive Performance?



Infoworld reports (via MacsimumNews) that Samsung has been working with developers to boost solid state drive (SSD) performance in operating systems. Samsung announced Wednesday that it has been in talks with Microsoft to boost performance in Windows:
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The speed and way in which SSDs fetch and cache data are different than hard drives, said Michael Yang, flash marketing manager at Sun. Samsung hopes to work with Microsoft to boost SSD performance on Windows by discovering optimal packet sizes for data transfers and the best ways to read and write files, for example.
Of interest to Mac users is that Sun has already been working with Samsung to improve SSD support in their ZFS file system.
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Sun is adding capabilities to boost the durability and performance of SSDs on ZFS-based operating systems. For example, Sun may add defragmentation capabilities for SSDs, which organizes data in a particular order to enable quicker data access.
Apple has announced that ZFS read/write support will be in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) server, although there has been no official word on the consumer version.

Solid State Drives are a new technology that promise faster disk drive performance but are presently at premium prices. Prices, of course, are dropping quickly. Apple recently dropped the price of the MacBook Air 64GB SSD upgrade from $999 to $599. While there were some controversial claims from Tom's Hardware that SSDs actually reduced notebook battery life, a followup report indicates that this is not necessarily the case.



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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:33 AM   #2
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Point in the right direction.

ZFS will be a step in the right direction IMO for sloving some of my personal storage systems issues. Don't know if SDD will be part of that but...

You never know.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:35 AM   #3
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Hopefully ZFS will make its way into the regular version of Snow Leopard.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:37 AM   #4
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ZFS' "storage pool" concept seems to me to nicely complement Apple's digital lifestyle goals. As people add movies, pictures and music to their collections, the ability to treat it as one virtual pool regardless of where the files are actually located (different Macs or PCs on the home network, HDD enclosures, file servers, etc.) would make it easy to access that entire collection through a single portal (be it Finder, iTunes or Front Row).

While silicon still remains much more expensive then iron, and likely will remain so for many more years, SSDs still have advantages in many applications and if ZFS can improve their performance, so much the better.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:44 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CWallace View Post
ZFS' "storage pool" concept seems to me to nicely complement Apple's digital lifestyle goals. As people add movies, pictures and music to their collections, the ability to treat it as one virtual pool regardless of where the files are actually located (different Macs or PCs on the home network, HDD enclosures, file servers, etc.) would make it easy to access that entire collection through a single portal (be it Finder, iTunes or Front Row).

While silicon still remains much more expensive then iron, and likely will remain so for many more years, SSDs still have advantages in many applications and if ZFS can improve their performance, so much the better.
Unless Apple has made some *major* changes to ZFS, it cannot utilize other computers/file servers or such, only local disks can be used in a pool. I'm almost completely positive this is the case in Solaris (which I've used for a while).
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:55 AM   #6
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I know it would hurt speed but wouldn't you want fragmentation so you could spread out the writes over all the memory space so you wouldn't wear out the SSD as fast?
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:57 AM   #7
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I am looking forward to HFS being phased out. ZFS appears to be the way forward, and I'm excited to see how it improves Snow Leopard performance!
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exscape View Post
Unless Apple has made some *major* changes to ZFS, it cannot utilize other computers/file servers or such, only local disks can be used in a pool. I'm almost completely positive this is the case in Solaris (which I've used for a while).
That is correct however it can use SAN disks which seems to be the case on many high end systems using ZFS. We use it today with multiple solaris boxes and 50TB of ZFS pools across them all.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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The real question is...... do we expect more SSD based devices in Apple's product mix?
The famous ultraportable Mac/iTablet any one?
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exscape View Post
Unless Apple has made some *major* changes to ZFS, it cannot utilize other computers/file servers or such, only local disks can be used in a pool. I'm almost completely positive this is the case in Solaris (which I've used for a while).
I imagine Sun isn't going to stand still on extending ZFS' capabilities. And if they decide to stop, Apple might not.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:03 PM   #11
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Who gives a crap? SSD's suck at random I/O, and all but the best top dollar ones have only so-so throughput performance - they are a long ways out from being mainstream.

Give us some real news - Where is my Montevina MBP dammit!!!
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:06 PM   #12
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it should be kept in mind that while no offical word has come noel from the zfs@apple mailing list said that as of now they have no plans to cripple zfs on the client but it will probably not have any gui tools. So only advanced users will be able to take advantage of it. Of course that is all subject to change but it is the closest thing we have to an offical comment
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:06 PM   #13
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No ZFS Booting

It's worth pointing out that in Snow Leopard, the OS almost certainly won't be able to reside in a ZFS pool. Even Solaris, the OS for which the filesystem was originally developed, cannot boot off of ZFS.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:11 PM   #14
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It's worth pointing out that in Snow Leopard, the OS almost certainly won't be able to reside in a ZFS pool. Even Solaris, the OS for which the filesystem was originally developed, cannot boot off of ZFS.
This was true a while ago. I remember several reports of ZFS boot support in Solaris on X86 being successfully implemented back on March 2007. Assuming this is true, then making Mac OS X capable of ZFS boot shouldn't be that much harder.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:12 PM   #15
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ZFS = the future

I am hoping snow lepord bring full ZFS across the board, both as the primary file system and as the boot file system. HFS+ needs ot be phased out. as soon as ZFS implimentation like that is in i will upgrade. Snow lepord really sounds like its going ot be amazing, presure is on apple
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:15 PM   #16
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I am hoping snow lepord bring full ZFS across the board, both as the primary file system and as the boot file system. HFS+ needs ot be phased out. as soon as ZFS implimentation like that is in i will upgrade. Snow lepord really sounds like its going ot be amazing, presure is on apple
You know what...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrldwzrd89
This was true a while ago. I remember several reports of ZFS boot support in Solaris on X86 being successfully implemented back on March 2007. Assuming this is true, then making Mac OS X capable of ZFS boot shouldn't be that much harder.
If what you said is true, and what I said here is also true... then the debate over whether or not Snow Leopard will be Intel-only or not is settled. Why? Sun and Apple won't bother to make ZFS boot support for PowerPC... and ZFS will be the native file system in Snow Leopard.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:24 PM   #17
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I wonder what's changed to make ZFS work (other than the obvious). Even though OSX has case-sensitive HFS support in place, it doesn't actually work if you try to use it. OSX bombs horribly on case-sensitive HFS boot partitions, and case-sensitive HFS partitions from DMGs also have weird failure modes. For example, if you try to use case-sensitive HFS+ with FileVault you can't log in (password works fine, but hilarity ensues).
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lupin..the..3rd View Post
Who gives a crap? SSD's suck at random I/O, and all but the best top dollar ones have only so-so throughput performance - they are a long ways out from being mainstream.

Give us some real news - Where is my Montevina MBP dammit!!!
This is far more interesting than that.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wrldwzrd89 View Post
This was true a while ago. I remember several reports of ZFS boot support in Solaris on X86 being successfully implemented back on March 2007. Assuming this is true, then making Mac OS X capable of ZFS boot shouldn't be that much harder.
The boot ability has been around for about a year in the OpenSolaris code base. ZFS is in fact the default filesystem for OpenSolaris 2008.05 and onwards. The problem is that boot support is very OS specific;therefore, making it a difficult feature to implement. Given some time, I feel ZFS will mature for 10.6 to be the default boot system on the client, as that is a Forge stated goal, however, I don't think the GUI tools will be around until Server update like 10.6.2 and Client update 10.6.8, similar to what Apple did with HFS+ Journaling in 10.2.

That having been said, THIS IS SWEET! One could compress the parts of the OS that they don't use, like the library, and get much faster I/O performance. Plus Time Machine and File Vault will be a lot smaller and efficient. If this works, I guarantee Apple will have some amazing implementation for networks in schools and business that will make Macs very secure and usable.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 12:49 PM   #20
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Well ZFS looks really cool but companies like Adobe still don't fully support HFS+, how long before they get around to supporting ZFS, Fall 2030?
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:03 PM   #21
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Well ZFS looks really cool but companies like Adobe still don't fully support HFS+, how long before they get around to supporting ZFS, Fall 2030?
Nobody likes to support HFS+ anyway. I doubt that ZFS will ever be the filesystem of choice for OS X server or desktop. It'll probably be "supported" like UFS was.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:05 PM   #22
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Does any of you guys have a good idea on how ZFS compares to ntfs or linux's ext3? Is it that much of a quality leap we are talking about?
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:05 PM   #23
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adobe + HFS+ suport

Adobe would actualy benefit form them moving away from HFS+. it might take a little work in the begining but they have never really cared much for HFS+ and have not fully utilized its abilities with their software offerings because it was deemed to be a need more on the lines of optional.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:06 PM   #24
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Apple has announced that ZFS read/write support will be in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) server, although there has been no official word on the regular version.
Oh, for heaven's sake. Like I've said before, the client version IS confirmed to at least have the command-line zfs utilities:

http://lists.macosforge.org/pipermai...ne/000663.html

See, I said it right here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=505409
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:07 PM   #25
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L2ARC blogpost

One blog post of a Sun employee recently delt with a ZFS layer called L2ARC - it's a cache layer between RAM and harddisk, suited for SDDs - harddisk < SSD < RAM. He demonstrated how adding SSDs to act as L2ARC cache yielded 6x performance boost on a file server use case (read: the data was not primarily stored on SSDs, they were stored on harddisks, but SSDs cached the commonly accessed data so that harddisk does not have to be asked for it). Hope it yields comparable performance boost for desktop.

The blogpost is here: http://blogs.sun.com/brendan/entry/test
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