Resurrection: Mac/ZFS returns!

ZDNet EXCLUSIVE: The Mac gets a 21st century file system. More good news: it's free!
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Not from Apple - who promised it 4 years ago - but from Greenbytes, an east coast data and cloud storage company. Greenbytes bought Tens Complement, the company that released a version of the Sun/Oracle ZFS file system for Mac last year.

But Tens Complement couldn't scale its business, so founder Don Brady - who was Apple's lead engineer on the original ZFS port - sold out to Greenbytes. That was the end of Mac ZFS - or so I thought.

What you need to know: Now christened the "Zevo Community Edition" is coming out on Saturday the 15th. Works with Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion, 64 bit only. 4GB RAM required with 8GB recommended.

Has much of the original ZFS goodness, including snapshots, quotas, data scrubbing, mirrors & RAID Z - up to 3x failure protection - all heavy duty data protection features that the antiquated HFS+ never dreamed of. And, of course, the proven data integrity features of ZFS are standard.

But this release isn't for everyone. It requires Terminal to set up - no fancy GUI. ZFS features such as dedup and hot spares aren't supported yet. Most important: you can't boot your system from it.

But hey! It's free! And it's the 1st release - not the last.

The Storage Bits take

Think of this release as the storage enthusiast version. It's for people who have multi-drive systems, are comfortable using Disk Utility and, most importantly, care about data integrity and protection.

Which leaves most consumers out.

Every time I write about data corruption some claim - perhaps rightly - that they've never seen HFS+ data corruption. But the kicker is that unless you are a data-intensive power user, you'll probably never realize that the program that wouldn't open, or the photo that wasn't recognized, are symptoms of data corruption.

There's no big red "DATA CORRUPTIOM" flag that comes up - and Apple likes it that way. And why not? Power users are a shrinking piece of the user population. Why engineer advanced features for people who'll never know?

But Zevo is great news for pro users - creatives, scientists, lawyers, doctors, businesses - who need enterprise class data integrity on their Macs. Greenbytes plans to continue development of Zevo with more resources, so watch this space for future news.

Comments welcome, of course. Here's a link to the Zevo homepage.

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