Smoothwall Firewall project

Sunday 18 July 2010

Using and looking at Btrfs in the latest Ubuntu Maverick build

I love looking at new technologies and assessing what they might be able to offer not only me, but the people that I do consultancy for. There is nothing like being able to pluck a technology white rabbit out of the hat in front the of the decision makers.

Well, for several years the modern file system designed by Sun called ZFS, has been rightly getting plaudits for not only it's usability but the built in functionality that companies have been paying large sums of money to Symantic to have the same features.

Ironically, an open source project was started within Oracle to come up with a system for Linux that would offer the same features - the company that now owns Sun and ZFS.

Well the developers in the Linux community have been busy with this next generation file system, and it is now available in the latest Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 2 builds, and I have just installed it using the alternative iso file into a Virtualbox test machine. I will be doing this on real hardware as well next week.

The installation was easy enough using the ncurses method as opposed to the more modern GUI mode, and the virtual machine started without any issues. At the moment you have to keep the /boot partition on ext4, as btrfs doesn't work with that as yet, but it is being worked on.

One of the features I'm looking for along side the advanced features of easy command line snapshots and duplication is a speed boost, only time will reveal if this is to be realised.

Using the command btrfs from the command line you can take snapshots of subvolumes and resize the filesystem on the fly, which offers so much simplification over the tools and methods we current use, like LVM etc.

I'm looking forward to spending some more time investigating all of the features of this very interesting new filesystem.



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