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Apple confirms command-line ZFS in Leopard

updated 11:00 am EDT, Mon October 8, 2007

Read-only ZFS for 10.5

Apple has confirmed that Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) will have limited support for ZFS (Zettabyte File System). "Apple will provide limited ZFS support in Leopard," said company spokesman Anuj Nayar. "It will only be available as a read-only option from the command line." In a Computerworld Apple said it was exploring ZFS as a file system option for high-end storage systems, noting the read-only status of the filesystem's inclusion in Leopard. Apple said ZFS will not be the default filesystem in Mac OS X 10.5, and that it will incorporate its well-known HFS+ as the default file system -- which falls in line with industry skeptics who said using ZFS as the default file system for Leopard made no sense.

Despite this claim, however, AppleInsider cites Mac OS X developers who have received the latest ZFS preview as a strong sign that the Cupertino-based company plans to increase adoption of ZFS. Those sources also believe that Apple is considering ZFS as a potential successor to its current HFS+ file system as the default underlying structure for Mac OS X. That belief coincides with a statement made by Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz in June, when the executive claimed Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard would use ZFS rather than HFS. Schwartz revoked that statement shortly after issuing it, however, leaving industry watchers wondering whether Sun's chief prematurely announced future development plans.

ZFS is a filesystem developed by Sun that is 128-bit, meaning it offers 16 billion billion times the capacity of 32- or 64-bit systems -- virtually unlimited by today's standards. ZFS also offers increased performance because it uses a transactional object model rather than more traditional I/O mechanisms.

Another purported benefit of ZFS is the elimination of various administration and maintenance routines required by other filesystems. For instance, the fsck command never needs to run, even if the system is shut down in an unclean fashion -- the creators claim that ZFS has never lost data integrity or leaked a single block after thousands of forced violent crashes.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Chris Paveglio

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Maybe 10.6?

    After reading about zfs and its potential inclusion in 10.5, it was going to be my favorite feature in Leopard. Well maybe in 10.6 it will be full fledged, I'll change all my disks over.

  1. davelentz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    open source

    If the basic support is present, I expect to see additional development proceed -- as ZFS is an open source project -- allowing adventuresome souls to add newer versions of ZFS alongside the Apple-supported code, just as we can upgrade to newer releases of Perl or SQLite.

    I'm still planning on using ZFS under Leopard in lieu of a RAID 5 disk array, although I may have to get by using mirrored HFS+ drives in my JBOD array for a while until the ZFS code is stable enough to rely on. I really want to used striped arrays, as that would be much more efficient use of the space than mirroring. My interest is solely in preservation of the data without undue hardware expense.

  1. ~bash $

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    baby steps ...

    It's good that they're clearly serious about including support for ZFS and implementing it properly. Patience will have to reign.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: baby steps

    This isn't baby steps. Its "Hey, we're including read access, get off our asses". It means nothing toward the future. In fact, the only benefit at all is that you'll be able to read some other computer's ZFS drive, just like you can an NTFS drive. Wow.

  1. chr1sl0ng

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    wait for leopard

    This is just speculation, but remember that Leopard was pushed back to get iPhone out. Now, notice the little detail of the "dock" on iPod touch looking more like Leopard than iPhone. I expect when Leopard comes out, we will suddenly see a big update to iPhone (and iPod Touch) to add functions that mirror or compliment Leopard (iChat, new widgets, file sync, Notes sync, etc.).

  1. chr1sl0ng

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    wrong thread

    Sorry... posted from the wrong tab.

  1. sribe

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    clarification

    "It means nothing toward the future. In fact, the only benefit at all is that you'll be able to read some other computer's ZFS drive, just like you can an NTFS drive. Wow."

    No, I'm pretty sure that "read-only from the command line" refers to the command-line utilities for creating and configuring ZFS filesystems. That is, you will not be able to create or modify ZFS storage pools. That has nothing to do with the driver that will read and write data from ZFS filesystems; I expect it will be read/write. BTW, the only reason NTFS can't be written to is MS lack of specifications and/or patent threats.

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