ZFS and Application Managament

When you ask people to rank the difficulty/risk of tasks required to manage applications the list typically goes like this.


Apply a patch to our code – Easy – We do it all the time, the developers make the fix, the QA folks test it, We know how to back it out if things go wrong, We have this process documented, We all understand it.


Apply a patch to the application software - Medium - We get several patches a year for software X we test in in the development environment then QA then production. We can test backing it out if we like on our development or QA environments. We shut down the application back it up apply the patch. We know how to back it out if things go wrong, We have this process documented.


Apply a patch to the OS - Medium – We apply OS upgrades a few time a year We test in in the development environment then QA then production. We can test backing it out if We like on our development or QA environments. We shut down the application back it up apply the patches. We know how to back it out if things go wrong, We have this process documented. Its a little more complicated the application and OS teams have to coordinate.


Change the storage configuration – Hard – We don't like to do this its risky. We have faster storage in our production environment, the software We use to manage the storage array's LUNs is different than the development or QA environments. The volume manager has to be used in a different way on production as well. Oh the backup software is different and We need to coordinate with the SAN team. We have the process documented but it is different from the development and QA process so We can't test it. Shutdown the application, back it up. Get the volume manager team/OS Team/SAN Team/Storage team to work together doing a time critical complicated interdependent task that they can't test and only do infrequently.


So what does ZFS do for you? It takes you untestable time critical complicated interdependent task and makes it testable while reducing the degree of interdependency dramaticly. All the features of ZFS are always available regardless of platform Sparc/x64 or the underlying storage.


Add/remove storage/filesystems/bandwidth on the fly – Yes

Take backups/clones/snapshots on any platform regardless of storage – Yes


Have exactly the same procedures in all environments - YES



Technorati Tag: Solaris OpenSolaris ZFS

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