Rumors, rumors everywhere and now it’s finally out in the wild. During a presentation last week in Washington, Sun Microsystems (Public, NASDAQ:SUNW) CEO Jonathan Schwartz said his company’s open-source file system, ZFS, will be introduced into Mac OS X. I’m sure Steve Jobs was happy he let the cat out of the bag early.
* BTW – I don’t know what it is, but I just like that CEO from Sun. Maybe it’s his name, or the long hair or the glasses. Hmm… sorry.
So what is ZFS? Well, first what isn’t it? It isn’t HFS+, Apple’s current file system. ZFS is so much more than HFS+ and I believe NTFS as well. This filesystem, lovingly called Zettabyte File System shows some real promise as an enterprise class filesystem that can flat out run with no problems. It protects all files with 64-bit checksums to detect and fix data corruption and, as a 128-bit file system, can handle many orders of magnitude more space than current versions of Microsoft Windows, OS X, or Linux.
One of the more innovative features of the system is the pooled storage it introduces. This supposedly will eliminate the need for traditional partitions and volumes. Need more storage? Just plug in another drive. Done. I’d like to see how that’ll work out. ZFS also introduces a new RAID-Z, which is similar to a RAID-5 but eliminates the write hole that leads to some corruptions and problems with that setup. Finally ZFS gives some really cool and easy backup options with snapshots and clones.