ZILs and ZAPs and ARCs - Oh My!
By scottdickson on Nov 30, 2006
I just spent the last four days in a ZFS Intenals TOI, given by George Wilson from RPE. This just reinforces my belief that the folks who build OpenSolaris (and most any complex software product, actually) have a special gift. How one can conceive of all of the various parts and pieces to bring together something as cool as OpenSolaris or ZFS or DTrace, etc., is beyond me.
By way of full disclosure, I ought to admit that the main thing I learned in graduate school and while working as a developer in a CO-OP job at IBM was that I hate development. I am not cut out for it and have no patience for it.
Anyway, though, spending a week in the ZFS source actually helps you figure out how to best use the tool at a user level. You how things fit together and this helps to figure out how to build solutions. I got a ton of good ideas about some things that you might do with ZFS even without moving all of your data to ZFS. Don't know whether they will pan out or not, but some ideas to play around with. More about that later.
Same kind of thing applies for internals of the kernel. Whether or not you are a kernel programmer, you can be a better developer and a better system administrator if you have a notion of how the pieces of the kernel fit together. Sun Education is now offering a class called Solaris 10 Operating System, previously only offered internally at Sun. Since Solaris has been open-sourced, the internal Internals is now and external Internals! If you have a chance, take this class! I take it every couple of Solaris releases and never regret it.
But, mostly I want to say a special thanks to George Wilson and the RPE team for putting together a fantastic training event and for allowing me, from the SE / non-developer side of the house to sit in and bask in the glow of those who actually make things for a living.