Thursday May 08, 2008

ZFS at Aberystwyth

I just arrived back from Aberystwyth, where at the invitation of the Campus Ambassador I was giving a talk on ZFS to the students and staff.

The thing about giving ZFS presentations and demonstrations is that they are really good fun. You don't have to overplay the point with gimics however fun they are. Or at least you don't if your audience is technical. For a start having disks fail gracefully (even if this is due to a hammer) is not new. The Solaris volume manager could cope with that. O.k it did not have double parity raid but again that is not the really cool part of ZFS. That is just cool.

The coolest part of ZFS is the ability to recover from silent data corruption. The dd over one side of a mirror demo or one disk in a RAIDZ or even 2 disks in RAIDZ2 and have ZFS survive and recover. That is really cool.

The other things that caused a noticeable drawing of breath from the audience were rollback and data sharing via snapshot and clone.

Faced with those things it is hard to underestimate the power of having those snapshots always available under the .zfs directory and the beautiful simplicity of the administration.

For an added bonus I ran the whole presentation and demo while booted from the OpenSolaris live cd. Demonstrating that if you want to play with this stuff you don't actually need to install Solaris. The only problem I had was that I could not get the nvidia driver to accept that the projector was capable of more than 640x520.

I really enjoyed the session and from the comments afterwards so did many others.

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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