Mac OS X and ZFS: How long do we have to wait for this state-of-the-art filesystem?

“Apple has begun the process of supporting a brand new open source, state-of-the-art file system which will bring higher performance, greater reliability, and unparalleled storage flexibility to the Mac. It’s coming soon as part of Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.6. That’s the good news,” MacRevu writes. “Unfortunately, it only appears destined for what Apple calls ‘business-critical server deployments’ and despite it’s awesome potential is probably not going to be coming to your desktop anytime soon. That’s definitely the bad news. The question is, why?”

MacRevu writes, “This file system, called ZFS, was created by Sun Microsystems to be a radically new approach to managing computer files while minimizing the potential for data corruption… With ZFS, there is practically no limit to the number of files you can manage or how large those files can be. To prevent data corruption, ZFS never actually overwrites existing files. Instead it copies the file to a new location and then compares it against the original. If errors are found, they can be corrected and ZFS even has the power to heal itself in the event of damage. It also supports a feature called snapshotting, which allows users to take a “picture” of their volume and then return to that original state if something goes wrong. It can also create storage pools which act like a RAID, increasing both security and performance but allowing users to add or remove storage dynamically as they choose. Finally, Because it’s 128bit native it can also handle and incredible amount of data simultaneously for outstanding performance with far fewer bottlenecks.

MacRevu writes, “Given that ZFS can do all this, I have to wonder why Apple has been so seemingly disinterested in it. Have there been unforeseen delays in getting ZFS to play nicely with OS X? Do they feel that HFS+ is a good enough foundation for a desktop OS? Or…..are they keeping their cards close to the vest and have much bigger plans for this file system?”

MacRevu writes, “Personally, I’d like to believe that they do… I just hope that Apple understands how important ZFS really could be. There isn’t a Mac user alive, myself included, who wouldn’t want to increase performance while decreasing risk. That’s what ZFS was designed to do and that’s why it can’t get to the desktop soon enough.”

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