ZFS user

I decided that it is a good idea to replace my complicated hard drive setup utilizing parted + mdadm + vg* + lv* + mkfs + fsck + fstab + whatever else with just zpool + zfs. Let’s run zpool once and then create and manage file systems without artificial constraints, without unnecessary administration overhead and with added benefits such as check sums, snapshots or file system sharing across different operating systems.

I run ZFS on Linux for more than a month now and I appreciate its end user simplicity a lot. It’s not without problems though.

The first problem is licensing set by a proprietary software company and making the ZFS free license incompatible with GPL. So ZFS can’t be integrated into Linux and has to be installed separately as additional modules. It’s not that much problem for the end user except that it complicates using ZFS as a root file system. For simplicity and safety I use small separate non-ZFS drives for booting and running the root file systems. Otherwise ZFS on Linux releases build Debian packages smoothly and they can be installed without any problems.

The second problem is operating system stability. I run ZFS on two quite different GNU/Linux machines seriously. zfs send reliably crashes both of them. While this is the only problem on one of the machines, the other machine suffers from occasional freezes since I started to use ZFS on it. I can’t say the problem is in ZFS as I can’t get any information from a frozen machine, but ZFS is the primary suspect.

EDIT: Well, the computer has just frozen on the BIOS boot screen after manual reboot. So ZFS can’t be the direct cause of the freezes. Perhaps my hardware doesn’t like my new hard drive configuration.

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