By pmonday on Feb 05, 2009
In the storage industry (and the computer industry in general) we have this term known as a "dissatisfier". A dissatisfier is basically a feature or a product that people have to use that no matter how well you do it, you will almost never receive a "win" (or even an acknowledgment of how well you implemented the feature) since the customer isn't really buying the product for that feature. On the other hand, if you implement the feature poorly, you can lose deals and cause a great deal of consternation on customer sites.
Solaris 10 Update 6 (as well as the latest OpenSolaris release) fixes a huge dissatisfier for me. After choosing what devices to install the system on, in previous versions of Solaris, you were met with a prompt asking if you wanted to partition the storage by default or customize the directory allocations. At this point you would go in and choose how much storage goes into the root (/), how much goes into home directories (/export/home), how much is swap and you could add your own partitions. I know I'm bad, but since I'm an engineer I never use /export/home on my system so I have to jigger the directories and fix how much storage is allocated.
Along comes ZFS Boot. Now, there are a LOT of reasons to love ZFS boot (we use it on the Sun Storage 7000 and on most of our developer systems). On previous projects, we noticed how quick and easy it was to do things like LiveUpgrade.
Now, remember that ZFS is natively thin provisioned...meaning, you can create file systems that all sit over the same pool of storage (multiple drives, devices, enclosures) and each file system vies for the storage (you can add quotas and reserve space, don't worry).
Today I installed Solaris 10 U6 and blew through the installation process without EVER having to finagle a screen saying how much storage should be allocated to each directory. YAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Basically, you choose to install with ZFS, select two disks (so the install can be mirrored and one device can fail) and off the install goes happily ever after.
Ahhhhh, its the little things ....