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I am an engineer in the Solaris kernel group. I've been working for Sun for the past three years, primarily on ZFS, the Zettabyte File System. Expect posting frequency to increase as ZFS becomes increasingly available to the outside world.
Comments:

Can't we have a screen shot? ZFS needs to be seens to be believed...

Posted by Adam Leventhal on July 28, 2004 at 07:17 AM PDT #

Hi Glenn, I'm a sun investor, not an employee and I've been fascinated by the statement that ZFS "provides 16 billion billion times more capacity than current file systems". Normally, I'll see claims like "double" or "triple" when a new system compares itself to an old one. I can't even begin to comprehend 16 billion billion. Why would anyone need 16 billion billion times more capacity? If someone offered a hard drive with 16 billion billion times more storage, I would applaud the accomplishment but I would never need it.

Posted by patjoecon on July 28, 2004 at 07:37 AM PDT #

patjoecon, you're absolutely correct that this number is unthinkably large. The point is that you will never hit a limit to storage capacity. We've tried to design ZFS so that none of its limits (eg. number of files, number of filesystems, number of snapshots) will ever be encountered. But you probably wouldn't believe us if we just said "infinite storage capacity", because that sounds like a bunch of baloney. (In fact it would be very difficult to design a file system with actually limitless capacity -- at a minimum, you'd need variable-size block pointers...)

Posted by Matthew Ahrens on July 28, 2004 at 08:26 AM PDT #

I should also point out that though you will never need as much storage capacity as we provide, some day you may need just a little bit more than other solutions provide (eg. a few terabytes for 32-bit filesystems or a few exabytes for 64-bit systems). As hard drive capacities increase, someday someone will want to store more than other solutions can (a zettabyte, for example), and then they'll be thankful to never hit ZFS's storage limits.

Posted by Matthew Ahrens on July 28, 2004 at 08:35 AM PDT #

Thanks, Matthew, for the explanation. I'll be following this blog as it develops. I've already learned quite a bit about DTrace from Cantrell's & Leventhal's blogs. ZFS sounds equally fascinating.

Posted by patjoecon on July 28, 2004 at 11:57 AM PDT #

Hi Matthew, Do you know which beta release will have ZFS included? And how can I check it out whether it's there or not? I'm using b72, the November beta right now. Tried `pkginfo |grep "File System"` and `man zfs`, and got nothing ZFS-releated. Thanks.

Posted by George on December 08, 2004 at 04:16 AM PST #

George, ZFS has not yet been released in a beta build. When it is, you will be able to read about it in the zfs man page ('man zfs').

Posted by Matthew Ahrens on December 08, 2004 at 04:20 AM PST #

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