OpenSolaris Gets Lots of Storage-Related Code from Sun
Published: April 26, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
The OpenSolaris project, where server and operating system maker Sun Microsystems has taken its Solaris 10 Unix variant open source, has received an endowment of storage-related code, which it will make open source as well.
The Zettabyte File System (ZFS), a scalable, error-correcting file system that was created in conjunction with Solaris 10 but which came to market a bit later, has been open sourced already. The pieces of code that Sun is donating to OpenSolaris make ZFS more useful. The ZFS file system allows storage volumes to be cloned and kept in reserve in the event of a crash, and the first piece of code that Sun has donated to OpenSolaris relating to storage is the ZFS Clone Promotion feature, which allows a clone volume to be put into production. The ZFS Recursive Snapshot feature is also being given to OpenSolaris, and it is used to create snapshots of file systems. The algorithms behind Sun's Double Parity RAID Z data protection have also been given to the open source project. RAID Z is an enhancement to standard RAID 5 data protection that creates a twin pair of data parity and spreads each across different parts of the RAID group, which means two physical disks can fail and the files can still be recreated.
The code for managing the automatic promotion of hot spare disks in a ZFS disk pool to production mode in the event of a failure--called Hot Spares for ZFS Storage Pool Devices--is also now under the control of OpenSolaris. Other features in the goodie bag that Sun gave OpenSolaris include Point In Time Copy and Remote Mirroring features for ZFS, NFS v4.1 (which is sometimes called parallel NFS), YANFS (formerly known as WebNFS, a piece of software that is written in Java and that implements the client half of the NFS v2, NFS v3, RPC, and XDR protocols). Drivers for iSCSI, OSD, and Fibre Channel peripherals have also been provided as open source code, the latter being supplied by QLogic. By open sourcing its Fibre Channel HBA driver, QLogic can now have its driver software distributed inside OpenSolaris as well as the commercial Solaris 10 operating systems and its follow-ons.
In the wake of all of that open sourcing, OpenSolaris has created a special community dedicated solely to storage code and issues, which you can visit here.
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