ZFS data integrity tested

Robin Harris over at the ZDnet.com Storage Bits blog analyses a new UW-M paper analyzing the fault tolerance claims of ZFS:

“File systems guard all the data in your computer, but most are based on 20-30 year old architectures that put your data at risk with every I/O. The open source ZFS from Sun Oracle claims high data integrity – and now that claim has been tested.
File systems guard all the data in your computer, but most are based on 20-30 year old architectures that put your data at risk with every I/O. The open source ZFS from Sun Oracle claims high data integrity – and now that claim has been tested.

I’m at the USENIX File and Storage Technology FAST conference in Silicon Valley. There is more leading edge storage thinking presented here than any other industry event.

Case in point: End-to-end Data Integrity for File Systems (PDF): A ZFS Case Study by Yupu Zhang, Abhishek Rajimwale, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau and Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau of the Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison. It offers the first rigorous test of ZFS data integrity.”

Robin Harris’ post in full: ZFS data integrity tested (zdnet.com)

FreeNAS 0.8 Roadmap

Olivier Cochard-Labbé has added a roadmap page to the FreeNAS website: FreeNAS 0.8 roadmap.

We can already see a positive impact from iXsystem‘s takeover of the  FreeNAS project: “Refactor the build system” and the “one click binary installs”. Two features that PC-BSD (another iXsystems project) already has. PC-BSD has the Push Button GUI installer and iXsystems also provides the hardware for the build servers.

One of the reasons for the former FreeNAS lead developer, Volker Theile, to start his CoreNAS / OpenMediaVault project was that FreeNAS lacked a modular design with the ability to easily compliment the system with plugins or add-ons.

From the roadmap:

Blocking Features

  • Development on FreeBSD RELENG_8. Release, depending on timeframe may be based on a RELENG_8 snapshot or 8.1-RELEASE
  • Migrate off m0n0wall
  • Migrate GUI to django
  • Add support for ada and ahci SATA drivers
  • Add optional SoftUpdates + Journaling support to UFS2 filesystems
  • Migration path/tool for previous releases and configurations
  • Preservation of all existing features of the current FreeNAS release
  • Refactor FreeNAS build system to allow building FreeNAS without affecting the host environment

Non-Blocking Features

  • FreeNAS package support. Binary one click installs that modify the GUI dynamically.

We’re looking forward to the first iXsystems FreeNAS release. How is it going to compare with OpenMediaVault (unreleased as yet)? Time will tell.

iXsystems iX-N4236 Orion II Server Series

The Orion II Storage Server & JBOD Storage Expansion Deliver Unparalleled Storage Density With Redundant Cooling and Powerful Intel® Technologies

iXsystems have released the iX-N4236 Orion II Storage Server which is designed to handle storage-intensive tasks while remaining at an optimal temperature and drawing less power than other servers in its class. The Orion II’s powerful complement of features and light energy footprint create an ideal environment for ZFS implementations, virtualization, and high-capacity storage.

iX-N4236 is a high performance, high quality, ultra dense, 4U rackmount server designed to maximize your rack-space, while saving energy, and your overall storage budget. The iX-N4236 features a highly efficient (92% Gold Level) power supply, 36 hot swap drive bays and amazing redundant cooling. Performance is handled by two Intel(r) Xeon(r) 5500 Series CPU’s, and up to 144GB of DDR3 ECC Registered 1333MHz memory.

The Orion II Server sports dual, intelligent Intel® Xeon® 5500 series quad-core processors, making it a powerful, efficient storage platform. Each Xeon® processor saves power by automatically putting the CPU into the lowest available power state during periods of light utilization. Intel® TurboBoost Technology raises performance on individual cores based on the needs of specific applications, ensuring efficient allocation of resources and increasing overall system performance. This intelligent power management, coupled with ultra-high efficiency power supplies and optional low-power hard drives and RAM, make the Orion II servers top of their class in storage capacity, compute power, and density per watt.

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Released: FreeNAS 0.7.1

The FreeNAS developers have released a small update/bugfix vresion, version 0.7.1:

Majors changes:

  • Upgrade e2fsprogs to 1.41.9.
  • Upgrade istgt to version 20100125.
  • Upgrade msmtp to 1.4.19.
  • Upgrade transmission to 1.76.
  • Upgrade PHP to 5.2.12 (Thanks to Xin LI).
  • Upgrade fuppes to 0.660.
  • Upgrade rsync to 3.0.7.
  • Upgrade inadyn-mt to 02.18.08.
  • Upgrade netatalk to 2.0.5.
  • Upgrade bash to 4.0.35.
  • Upgrade lighttpd to 1.4.25.
  • Upgrade proftpd to 1.3.2c.

Minors changes:

  • Modify Samba default buffer size.
  • Modify Tuning values.
  • Add new MIB in System|Advanced|sysctl.conf.
  • Add UTF-8 with English menu in File Manager (quixplorer).
  • Restrict NFS sharing directory with alldirs.
  • Add serial console support.

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How to avoid paying the high price of Cheap Storage

Unbelievably inexpensive networked storage options have emerged, but it’s a case of ‘False Economics 101.’

PCMag has  a post advising how to avoid the pitfalls of cheap storage:

The proliferation of huge, cache-laden SATA disks in the consumer market has led to an ever-expanding array of very inexpensive networked storage products for business. More often than not, these devices offer both NAS and iSCSI SAN functions that, until recently, were found only in enterprise-class storage products — at a fraction of the cost. Are these ultracheap alternatives right for you? That depends on who you are and what you do.

A huge range of performance variables separate true enterprise-class storage products from their inexpensive pretenders. The most glaring is transactional performance. Most low-cost storage devices are based on a small number of very large SATA disks rather than larger numbers of SATA or higher-speed SAS/FC disks. These types of configurations will yield extremely anemic transactional performance, which would generally make them poor choices for hosting a busy database or mail server.

What if that’s not what you want, though? If you’re a small business without a whole lot of transactional disk performance needs or a big business that just needs a very large, low-cost parking lot for some big data, are these low-end storage devices a good option?

Carry on reading the article:  What does “Enterprise Class” storage really mean?

So be careful when you venture into the land of low-cost storage. Take a hard look at what your storage will be used for — and how it’s going to get fixed when it breaks — before you congratulate yourself for saving a dump truck full of money. Sometimes, the dump truck you know is better than the one you never saw coming until it ran you over.