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ZEVO Solution for ZFS on OS X Acquired by GreenBytes

Back in January, we reported on ZEVO, an effort by former Apple file system engineer Don Brady to finally bring the Sun-backed ZFS file system to OS X. Brady's company, Ten's Complement, had begun releasing a set of software packages to support the robust file system on OS X, but planned launches for the some of the more advanced packages had begun to slip in recent months.

As noted by TUAW, Brady has now announced that ZEVO has been acquired by GreenBytes a storage appliance hardware company that already uses ZFS in its products. Brady will also be joining GreenBytes as a development engineer.
As to the future of the project, GreenBytes' spokesman Michael Robinson responded to TUAW's inquiry: "ZEVO's ZFS on OS X is safe. Ten's Complement has joined GreenBytes to continue their work and now they have more development support." Robinson says that GreenBytes will have more to share regarding ZEVO's future "down the line."
A blog post from GreenBytes expresses a similar sentiment, although it remains unclear exactly what the company's plans for ZFS on OS X will be, with some ZFS fans having expressed concern that GreenBytes will be refocusing the product for its own internal needs.
GreenBytes has been an enthusiastic supporter of ZFS (including ZFS on OS X) for many years and is absolutely committed to the continued development and support of Don's work on ZEVO (ZFS on OS X) into the foreseeable future.
With the transfer of ZEVO to GreenBytes, Ten's Complement has ceased sales of the Silver Edition software package that had been available, and it remains unclear how and when ZEVO will be redeployed for OS X by GreenBytes.



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88 months ago

I heard a lot about ZFS over the years. What I never hear is what ZFS does that will benefit me, as a Mac user. Until I hear that, I won't care.


RAID like features built into the fs
Fights corruption by using checksums
Snapshots
dedupe
Pooled Storage
ZFS Cache (L2ARC)
Copy on Write (CoW)
Dynamic striping

Most of these features are pretty much Enterprise level. Apple could deliver a lighter weight more consumer friendly version more tuned to consumer needs.
Rating: 6 Votes
88 months ago

(2) What does a Mac user with one internal disk drive have to gain?


On single disk ?

- Snapshotting
- Copy on write
- Data integrity
- Encryption (built-in rather than filevault type after thought)
- Quotas

ZFS is much more than just a HFS+ replacement, it's a volume and storage pool management suite, not just a filesystem.
Rating: 6 Votes
88 months ago

Bingo.

ZFS is overkill for a company (Apple) and is decidedly consumer and mobile.


The filesystem should be a priority even for these sectors. It's what we store our precious data on for Pete's sake. We need a modern day filesystem. Snapshots and copy-on-write sound very cool to me:)
Rating: 6 Votes
88 months ago
I think if you want ZFS you are going to have to get Solaris.

The problem with ZFS on Mac OS X is (1) How to present a full featured ZFS system to a typical Mac user in a way that he can understand the concepts and options. (2) What does a Mac user with one internal disk drive have to gain?
Rating: 4 Votes
88 months ago
I heard a lot about ZFS over the years. What I never hear is what ZFS does that will benefit me, as a Mac user. Until I hear that, I won't care.
Rating: 4 Votes
88 months ago

I think if you want ZFS you are going to have to get Solaris.

The problem with ZFS on Mac OS X is (1) How to present a full featured ZFS system to a typical Mac user in a way that he can understand the concepts and options. (2) What does a Mac user with one internal disk drive have to gain?


Bingo.

ZFS is overkill for a company (Apple) that is decidedly consumer and mobile.
Rating: 3 Votes
88 months ago
I recall ZFS implementation hinted at in old Leopard beta releases in 2006. Apple, as far as developers were concerned, seemed full steam ahead with ZFS.

Theeeen SunSystems went the way of the dodo, and mobile devices/iOS became Apple's main priority in 2007+.

ZFS would be fantastic, as many have stated, for single and multi-arrays. As well, it handles large [single] volumes much better, which would benefit "Time Machine" and large data backup(s).

HFS+ is long in the tooth.
Rating: 3 Votes
88 months ago

Well this is incredibly disappointing.

I had planned on buying one of the new Mac minis that I expect to launch with 10.8 this week. That combined with a USB 3.0 UASP external enclosure for multiple disks and ZEVO would finally allow me to come up with a lower-power way to replace my aging Windows Home Server now that MS has killed that platform.

Still looking for solutions to build that in-home server that are easy, low power and expandable.


Linux LVM 2.0 or FreeBSD's ZFS implementation.

There you go.
Rating: 2 Votes
88 months ago

...
Fights corruption by using checksums
...


THIS!


Most of these features are pretty much Enterprise level. ...


True. However one can't stress enough that in the age of precious Gigabyte (Terrabyte!) Disks it's becoming more and more crucial to detect read-errors as soon as a single bit flips!

Why is that so important? Why not wait until that harddisk sector becomes *physically* unreadable? Because then it's already way too late!

Why?

Because typically a hard disk dies "a slow death". First some sectors become corrupt, means: "Bits flip over randomly" - the current HFS+ file system WON'T DETECT THESE BIT-FLIPS as long as that sector remains physically readable! And if you have a backup solution (and I hope you have!) then all those flipped (wrong!) bits will get backup-ed - possibly for weeks.

At some point you'll realise that your hard-disk starts making funny noise and eventually it will refuse to read certain sectors (physically unreadable), so it is only now that you'll realise - with the current HFS+ - that your harddisk just died.

But you're also very likely to notice that possibly much more data has become corrupted ("you cannot open certain JPEG data or other documents - but in the worst case you can, but the image data has changed, so you won't possibly notice until much much later that some pixels (or text...) have changed"). And that corrupted data has been backuped, maybe for weeks!

So good luck (manually!) finding a state in your backup where all data is in a good state!


So how does ZFS help here? Exactly in this situation when a single (or multiple) bits get randomly flipped - because of checksums which are constantly evaluated and updated upon read/write. And it makes sure that the file system is always in a consistent state! Partial file writes simply won't get committed if you loose power in that very moment etc. Moving a file is much more secure.


So in the age of thousands of precious photos on your harddisk (1) you absolutely want a filesystem as ZFS which detects logical errors - also as "consumer"! YES, YOU WANT IT! Repeat after me! YOU WANT ZFS ON YOUR CONSUMER MAC! Go and write Apple about it, use the feedback forms found on Apple's homepage!


(1) if you now mention "iCloud" or the like you still haven't understood the problem of "backing up corrupted data" - read again what I said about "flipped bits" which are still physically readable, so the current HFS+ doesn't notice that something went wrong (because it doesn't know nada, niet, nothing about the underlying file structure such as JPEG data), so it will happily be backed up, be it some TimeMachine backup harddisk, or synced back into the "Cloud".
Rating: 2 Votes
88 months ago
ZFS has no future on OS X now that Apple has gone down the Core Storage path. Any feature they could ever want can now be baked into Core Storage or HFS+ (assuming they don't replace that old dog). I would like to see them revise their HFS Compression implementation though. If you ask me, using xattrs for something that's supposed to be a file system feature is a no-no.
Rating: 2 Votes

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