Disenchanted with ZFS; alternatives?

Kirk Strauser kirk at strauser.com
Mon Dec 1 11:21:39 PST 2008

On Monday 01 December 2008 11:49:46 Wojciech Puchar wrote:

> UFS is excellent. your problem is that you like to have "lots of
> filesystems". why don't just make one or one per disk?

For all the usual reasons: faster fsck, ability to set attributes on each 
filesystem (noexec, noatime, ro), a runaway process writing to /tmp won't cause 
problems in /var, etc.

A big local reason is that Amanda is much easier to configure when you're using 
a bunch of filesystems because it runs tar with --one-file-system set.  If /var 
is separate from / and I want to back them up separately, I just tell Amanda 
to dump / and /var.  If /var is part of / then I have to say "dump / except 
for /var (and /tmp and /usr and ...)".

> i have one per disk/mirror configuration everywhere except one place where
> i made separate filesystem for /var/spool/squid for some reasons.

Oh, there are definitely advantages to that setup.  It just complicates certain 
admin functions (see above).  With something like ZFS that makes creating new 
filesystems trivially easy, they're nice to use.

> tell me what's your needs and how many/what disks you have.

Right now I have a 750GB (with another on order) and a 320GB.  The box is a 
multi-purpose home server with mail, several websites, and a bunch of local 
file streaming (from MP3 and ripped DVDs to Apple's Time Machine storage).

> UFS is best-performer on real load, runs on almost no RAM, but uses more
> if available for caching.

That's my main beef with ZFS at the moment.  I don't mind if it uses a lot of 
RAM - that's what I bought it for! - but that it doesn't seem to use it 
effectively (at least on my workload).

- Kirk

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