The future of ZFS in FreeBSD

Matthew Macy mmacy at
Wed Dec 19 06:50:02 UTC 2018

The sources for FreeBSD's ZFS support are currently taken directly
from Illumos with local ifdefs to support the peculiarities of FreeBSD
where the Solaris Portability Layer (SPL) shims fall short. FreeBSD
has regularly pulled changes from Illumos and tried to push back any
bug fixes and new features done in the context of FreeBSD. In the past
few years the vast majority of new development in ZFS has taken place
in DelphixOS and zfsonlinux (ZoL). Earlier this year Delphix announced
that they will be moving to ZoL This shift means
that there will be little to no net new development of Illumos. While
working through the git history of ZoL I have also discovered that
many races and locking bugs have been fixed in ZoL and never made it
back to Illumos and thus FreeBSD. This state of affairs has led to a
general agreement among the stakeholders that I have spoken to that it
makes sense to rebase FreeBSD's ZFS on ZoL. Brian Behlendorf
has graciously encouraged me to add FreeBSD support directly to ZoL so that we might all have a single
shared code base.

A port for ZoF can be found at
Before it can be committed some additional functionality needs to be
added to the FreeBSD opencrypto framework. These can be found at

This port will provide FreeBSD users with multi modifier protection,
project quotas, encrypted datasets, allocation classes, vectorized
raidz, vectorized checksums, and various command line improvements.

Before ZoF can be merged back in to ZoL several steps need to be taken:
- Integrate FreeBSD support into ZoL CI
- Have most of the ZFS test suite passing
- Complete additional QA testing at iX

We at iX Systems need to port ZoL's EC2 CI scripts to work with
FreeBSD and make sure that most of the ZFS Test Suite (ZTS) passes.
Being integrated in to their CI will mean that, among other things,
most integration issues will be caught before a PR is merged upstream
rather than many months later when it is MFVed into FreeBSD. I’m
hoping to submit the PR to ZoL some time in January.

This port will make it easy for end users on a range of releases to
run the latest version of ZFS. Nonetheless, transitioning away from an
Illumos based ZFS is not likely to be entirely seamless. The
stakeholders I’ve spoken to all agree that this is the best path
forward but some degree of effort needs to be made to accommodate
downstream consumers. The current plan is to import ZoF and unhook the
older Illumos based sources from the build on April 15th or two months
after iX systems QA deems ZoF stable - which ever comes later. The
Illumos based sources will be removed some time later - but well
before 13. This will give users a 3 month period during which both the
port and legacy Illumos based ZFS will be available to users. Pools
should interoperate between ZoF and legacy provided the user does not
enable any features available only in ZoF. We will try to accommodate
any downstream consumers in the event that they need that date pushed
back. We ask that any downstream consumers who are particularly
sensitive to changes start testing the port when it is formally
announced and report back any issues they have. I will do my best to
ensure that this message is communicated to all those who it may
concern. However, I can’t ensure that everyone reads these lists. That
is the responsibility of -CURRENT users.


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