ZFS beta now on Mac OS X Leopard

ZFS beta now on Mac OS X Leopard

Summary: For all you bleeding-edge OS X warriorsNoel Dellofano, part of the ZFS development team at Apple, has posted ZFS binaries and source code on Mac OS Forge. ZFS looks to be the first 21st century file system to make it to a high-volume desktop.


For all you bleeding-edge OS X warriors Noel Dellofano, part of the ZFS development team at Apple, has posted ZFS binaries and source code on Mac OS Forge. ZFS looks to be the first 21st century file system to make it to a high-volume desktop.

I've been a fan of ZFS since I studied and wrote about it in 2006 (see ZFS: Threat or Menace? on StorageMojo or, more recently, Apple's new kick-butt file system). Besides offering provably better data integrity, ZFS also simplifies storage management. As I said in May '06, ZFS is

. . . a complete software environment for protecting, storing and accessing data, designed for the most demanding enterprise environments. Using standard storage components: disk drives, enclosures, adapters, cables. No RAID arrays. No volume managers. No CDP. No fsck. No partitions. No volumes. Almost makes you nostalgic for the good old days, doesn’t it? Like before Novocaine.

This is a beta filesystem, folks It can hose all your data very effectively. So don't go crazy. A complete back up before you play ZFS is a minimum requirement.

Ideally you should also know your way around the Unix command line because you'll be spending some quality time there. Joining the ZFS-discuss list on opensolaris.org would be smart too. If you think a "tar ball" is black and sticky don't even think about it.

The Storage Bits take One of the major reasons I like ZFS on OS X is that it brings competition to the file system arena. And as we all know, Microsoft won't do diddly about the aging NTFS unless they have competition (see How Microsoft puts your data at risk).

Comments welcome, as always.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Software, Storage

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  • Yeah, Microsoft hasn't done ANY work with file systems...

    And people complain about Vista compatibility. You know very well that a new file system, no matter what is going to break legacy applications, and why Microsoft has no choice other to be VERY careful with new file system technology.

    Heck, guys like you say that they are destryoing data when in fact they merely disabled some funtionality, which when they learned it was causing problems for more customers than they expected, made it easier for users to restore the functionality.

    Competition is good, but when you're talking about one the most critical aspects of an OS, the file system, you've got to be HYPER cautious.
    • MS has done a lot of work with file systems

      they just haven't accomplished very much.
    • Not true

      When MS went from FAT32 to NTFS, did anything break?


      • Actually yes....

        any tools used for file recovery(undelete) they only understood the old fat table, not the ntfs layout so they broke.

        Not that this is a big deal, but it did break things.

        NOTE: It was worth the update to NTFS was the journaling was added.
  • RE: ZFS beta now on Mac OS X Leopard

    Apple posted beta drivers for ZFS months ago on their developer site, and I think it's accessible by anybody with a free account. connect.apple.com

    Leopard already has read support so this just enables writing to ZFS filesystems.
    • That is a preview..

      That is a preview you're referring to - this is an updated compiled binary.
  • RE: ZFS beta now on Mac OS X Leopard

    Source and binaries? Does this mean ZFS is open source, available for development by the open source community?
    • Re open source

      Try searching "ZFS open source"
  • RE: ZFS beta now on Mac OS X Leopard

    You're familiar with Drobo, what do you think of a Drobo as your storage pool? Good/Bad? I think it would be a great disk set for ZFS...
  • WinFS is in beta...

    Windows Future Storage (WinFS) is in beta, and should ship with Windows 7. Yes, you may say it should have shipped with Vista, but in reality it was built to be integral to Blackcomb (Windows 7) and not the features moved from Blackcomb onto the Windows 2003 codebase (Vista) to make a 2005 or 2006 shipping date, and yes Vista was late (What is now Windows 7 was already looking at a 2006 or 2007 ship date, possibly later, however). The original plan was to release WinFS after Vista but on the Vista codebase, but they scrapped that without any real reason (but I believe it has a tight dependency on SQL and ADO .NET and may depend on features not yet shipped). If you ever thought Vista feels cobbled together, it is.

    WinFS will bring at least one modern storage feature - that I'm waiting for - metadata. It is the last OS without support for it (macs have had it since HFSX ~2004, and some UNIX FS's since 2000ish, and always on BeOS), and its about time. Metadata is essentially tagging files with info, so if you know a file has something to do with taxes, you can tag it taxes and the search tool will bring up that file if you do a search for taxes, even if the file is called "My least favorite thing.doc" and doesn't contain the word taxes in it. Personally, I hope my work XP machine skips Vista and goes straight to Windows 7 just for that feature - I like it on my mac that much and I've seen screenshots of StoreSpy (the WinFS tool) and it looks straightforward for adding this data out of the box (the only way to really do it on macs initially was to use the xattr command line tool).