June 2010

Here Are The Ten Most Important Independent Solaris Blogs

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One of the best information sources for any topic are blogs, and the Oracle Solaris operating system in all its variants (Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris) is no exception. Most of what I learned about OpenSolaris was through blogs, or through interacting with Solaris bloggers.

As a way of saying "Thank You", I did some research and came up with a list of the top ten Solaris related blogs with the highest traffic on the Internet.

But first, let's clear up some basic rules.

ZFS is for 1337 Hax0rz

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The developers of ZFS are a funny bunch of people. You can tell that by watching the "ZFS: The Next Word" talk, meeting them on conferences, reading their blogs or their comments on mailing lists.

And there are also some funny parts in the ZFS source code, too. In fact, if you use ZFS, you'll have a funny joke sitting on your disk, right under your nose!

I was reminded about this particular joke while listening to Ulrich Gräf's excellent talk on ZFS internal data structures during OSDevCon 2009 (watch a video of Ulrich's talk here).

But first, we need to dig a little bit into the world of ZFS data structures.

The War Between Quality and Popularity

Star Wars (Sorry for the pun :) )

War is waging in the galaxy. This time it's not the Rebels against the Empire, or Good vs. Evil.

No, this war is different, and it has been going on ever since products designs companies entities existed.

What I mean is the war between Quality and Popularity.

Let me explain:

(Drumroll, Roman fanfare, then dramatic Anime action trailer a la Mortal Kombat, etc.)

As of May 21st, Google officially declared war on the Apple iPhone.

Sure, there was some teasing here and there for weeks, if not months, but this is serious.

A Closer Look at ZFS, Vdevs and Performance

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When looking at the mails and comments I get about my ZFS optimization
and my RAID-Greed posts, the same type of questions tend to pop up over and over again. Here's an example from a reader email:

"I was reading about ZFS on your blog and you mention that if I do a 6 drive array for example, and a single RAID-Z the speed of the slowest drive is the maximum I will be able to achieve, now I thought that ZFS would be better in terms of speed. Please let me know if there is a newer ZFS version that improved this or if it does not apply anymore."

This is just an example, but the basic theme is the same for much for the reactions I see: Many people think that RAID-Z will give them always good performance and are surprised that it doesn't, thinking it's a software, an OpenSolaris or a ZFS issue.

In reality, it's just pure logic and physics, and to understand that we should look a little closer at what vdevs are in ZFS and how they work.