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Solaris™ ZFS

The Most Advanced File System on the Planet

< Anyone who has ever lost important files, run out of space on a partition, spent weekends
adding new storage to servers, tried to grow or shrink a file system, or experienced data
corruption knows that there is room for improvement in file systems and volume managers.
The Solaris™ Zettabyte File System (ZFS), is designed from the ground up to meet the emerging
needs of a general-purpose file system that spans the desktop to the data center.

The future-proof file system always written to a new block on disk before
Solaris ZFS offers a dramatic advance in data changing the pointers to the data and com-
management with an innovative approach mitting the write. And, because the file system
to data integrity, tremendous performance is always consistent, time-consuming recovery
improvements, and a welcome integration procedures like fsck are not required if the
of file system and volume management capa- system is shut down in an unclean manner.
bilities. The centerpiece of this new architecture Copy-on-write also enables administrators to
Highlights is the concept of a virtual storage pool which take consistent backups or roll data back to a
decouples the file system from physical storage known point in time.
• Rock-solid data integrity. All data
is protected by 256-bit checksums, in the same way that virtual memory abstracts
data consistency is maintained at the address space from physical memory, The Solaris 10 OS with Solaris ZFS is the only
all times allowing for much more efficient use of storage known OS designed to provide end-to-end
• Unprecedented manageability. devices. In Solaris ZFS, space is shared dynami- checksumming for all data. Solaris ZFS con-
Eliminates the need for volume cally between multiple file systems from a stantly reads and checks data to help ensure
manager, GUI automates admin- single storage pool, and is parceled out of the it is correct, and if it detects an error in a
istrator intent pool as file systems request it. Physical storage mirrored pool, the technology can automati-
• Mind-boggling scalability. 128-bit can be added to or removed from storage cally repair the corrupt data. This relentless
file system, 16 billion billion times pools dynamically, without interrupting vigilance on behalf of availability protects
the capacity of 32- or 64-bit file
services, providing new levels of flexibility, against costly and time-consuming data
availability, and performance. And in terms of loss (even previously undetectable silent
• Breathtaking speed. Proven,
scalability, Solaris ZFS is a 128-bit file system. data corruption).
cutting-edge technologies combine
Its theoretical limits are truly mind-boggling
to optimize performance
— 2128 bytes of storage, and 264 for every- Near platter speeds
thing else such as file systems, snapshots, This radical new architecture optimizes and
directory entries, devices, and more. And ZFS simplifies code paths from the application to
implements an improvement on RAID-5, RAID-Z, the hardware, producing sustained through-
which uses parity, striping, and atomic operations put at near platter speeds. New block alloca-
to ensure reconstruction of corrupted data. tion algorithms accelerate write operations,
consolidating what would traditionally be
Cutting-edge data integrity many small random writes into a single,
To ensure that the data on disk is self-consistent more efficient sequential operation.
at all times, Solaris ZFS combines proven and
cutting edge technologies, such as copy-on-
write and end-to-end checksumming. Data is
2 Data Sheet Solaris™ ZFS sun.com/solaris

Additionally, Solaris ZFS implements intelli- underlying storage devices or volumes, as this
gent prefetch, performing read ahead in either is handled automatically when they are added
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direction for sequential data streaming, and can to a pool. Solaris ZFS also enables administrators
Get the inside story on the trends
adapt its read behavior on the fly for more to guarantee a minimum capacity for file
and technologies shaping the future of
complex access patterns. systems, or set quotas to limit maximum sizes.
computing by signing up for the Sun
Inner Circle program. You’ll receive a
To eliminate bottlenecks and increase the Volume management is a thing of the past
monthly newsletter packed with informa-
speed of both reads and writes, Solaris ZFS Unlike traditional file systems that require a
tion, plus access to a wealth of resources.
stripes data across all available storage devices, separate volume manager, Solaris ZFS introduces
Register today at sun.com/joinic.
balancing I/O and maximizing throughput. the integration of volume management functions.
And, as disks are added to the storage pool, The traditional combination of file system and
For additional information, please see
Solaris ZFS immediately begins to allocate volume manager maintains one-to-one mapping
blocks from those devices, increasing effective between the file system and its associated
bandwidth as each device is added. This means volumes. Solaris ZFS breaks out of this limitation
system administrators no longer need to with the storage pool model. When capacity is Compatibility
monitor storage devices to see if they are no longer required by one file system in the Applications do not need to be changed or
causing I/O bottlenecks. pool, it becomes available to others. modified to use Solaris ZFS and take advantage
of its industry-leading capabilities. It employs
Simplified administration Reduced costs familiar POSIX interfaces, and existing storage
Most file system administration tasks are Solaris ZFS can reduce costs by decreasing the infrastructure — device drivers, storage fabric,
painful, slow operations that are relatively time and complexity of administrative tasks, and devices — work without requiring changes.
uncommon. Because these types of tasks are efficiently using resources, and eliminating
so infrequently performed, they are more prone volume manager licensing. All administration For applications that prefer to operate directly
to errors that can destroy a great amount of tasks are performed online, resulting in zero on block devices, Solaris ZFS provides the Zvol
data very quickly. Solaris ZFS helps alleviate this downtime for administration. In addition, the volume emulator, which delivers all of the
problem by automating both common and less technology does not require a separate support benefits of transactional integrity and checksums,
frequent administrative tasks. contract because it is part of the Solaris 10 OS. and is compatible with existing block-based,
This can greatly simplify support issues; there is volume manager interfaces.
Administering storage is extremely easy, a single point of contact and only one mainte-
because the design allows administrators to nance contract for all software layers between Conclusion
state the intent of their storage policies, rather the application and storage resources. And the By offering data security and integrity, virtually
than all of the details needed to implement RAID-Z feature saves money by maintaining data unlimited scalability, as well as easy and auto-
them. Creating a file system or performing redundancy without the expense of a Hardware mated manageability, Solaris ZFS simplifies
other administrative activities is very fast — Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (HW RAID) storage and data management for demanding
less than one second, regardless of size. There controller or Non-Volatile Random Access applications today, and well into the future.
is no need to configure (or worse, reconfigure) Memory (NVRAM).

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©2006 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, and the Solaris logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other
countries. Information subject to change without notice. SUNWIN#471352 04/06