Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nexenta OpenStorage summit

Next week Nexenta will be hosting it's first annual OpenStorage summit in Palo Alto, CA. Besides obvious speakers such as Evan Powell, CEO of Nexenta several people from the ZFS/OpenSolaris community will also be speaking:

Bill Moore, Ex-Sun ZFS Co-creator
Jeff Bonwick, Ex-Sun creator of ZFS
Ben Rockwood, director of systems at Joyent.

Nexenta is as you probably know an OpenStorage vendor which builds it's storage appliance on top of ZFS. They are probably part of the reason Oracle cut the cord on the OpenSolaris source since their product competed with Oracles own OpenStorage appliances, which also are built on ZFS. Nexenta plans to continue to develop the ZFS/OpenSolais source and are sponsors of the illumos project which is the de-facto development gate of the OpenSolaris source now.

It will be interesting to see how they plan to handle the fork of ZFS now that Oracle have continued their development internally, ZFS have gained bug fixes but more importantly new features in newer versions of the on-disk format. If Nexenta plans to enhance ZFS to a degree that requires new version of the pool the two implementations will no longer be compatible.

Nexenta will fall behind Oracle Solaris/Oracle OpenStorage in terms of ZFS features, at least for a while. Oracle has plenty of source already created for ZFS which is yet to be integrated in their Solaris Next source, one of them is the BP rewrite project which has been in the making for years, another is ZFS on-disk encryption which has already been integrated into the internal Solaris gate at Oracle

Will Nexenta sit out and hope for the ZFS source to be released after Solaris 11 (late next year at the earliest) or will the make larger enhancements by their own. Both scenarios are possible while i doubt Nexenta will sit and await for Oracle. The ZFS code already released is stable and contains features not yet integrated into Nexenta products. New development is also possible, especially since several key persons behind ZFS have left Oracle and there are other developers, especially with a company found the development.

In the end this will affect all users of ZFS which are not Oracle customers, Nexenta and illumos are probably where future free ZFS development will be done. All users who want's a free OS with the latest possible ZFS bits are going to be using Nexenta Core or OpenIndiana or some other distribution based on the illumos source.

Nexenta announces first summit
Nexenta announces final agenda and sponsors for its first annual OpenStorage summit


Alex said...

whats the "BP rewrite project" ?

Henkis said...

It will allow ZFS to rewrite block pointers which in turn will allow reduction of total pool size and the possibility to implement defragmentation. It will also make it possible to change characteristics for data already in the pool (compression, dedup, encryption etc), today you have to zfs send | zfs recv if you for example want to apply compression or deduplication to data inside your pool.

Anonymous said...

Do you know anything about pNFS and opensolaris integration?

gtirloni said...

After Solaris 11 Express and Solaris 11 work fine for Oracle is getting new customers and keep the existing ones, I doubt they will release all the source code needed to create those products from scratch. Sun didn't do that even for OpenSolaris (the build process has always been difficult, let alone the closed binaries).

I wouldn't be surprised if they only release those pieces needed by people trying to write DTrace scripts.

Sun had an half-cooked open source project. Oracle ended it. I don't expect them to keep shooting themselves in the foot like Sun did (since they don't believe in open source, why pretend?).

Henkis said...

gtirloni: Oracle would probably not make an effort to release parts needed to build their whole distribution, but if they keep releasing at least the ON source under the same license for use with DTrace it could be used in illumos. But of course they might not be satisfied with delaying the source to their competitors, they might do something to make it unavailable or unusable for them.

Henkis said...

Anonymous: I haven't seen anything regarding pNFS since the last commit was done in the gate in February. But I would guess it is something Oracle would want to finish, especally since NetApp has this feature and NexentaStor has stated they will include it once stable, Nexenta also has their own gate for pNFS.