ZFS in the Cloud

Posted on by Randy Bias

I’m quite pleased to see that you can now get OpenSolaris with Amazon’s EC2. OpenSolaris on EC2 means that you can now run your storage and/or databases in the cloud on top of the ZFS filesystem.

Among the number of truly outstanding capabilities of ZFS are, snapshots, cloning, compression and soon encryption. A little known feature is the ability to send a ZFS filesystem as a data stream. More importantly, you can send ‘incremental’ data streams.

What does this mean?

First and foremost it means that replicating data inside the EC2 cloud just got a *lot* easier.

It also means it is now feasible to have a replica of your data off-site at your office or another datacenter without paying exorbitant transfer prices. You’ll pay once to take make a ‘full’ replica and then afterwards you can keep that replica up-to-date by sending ‘incremental’ snapshot streams on an hourly (or more frequent) basis.

This will work quite well and be extremely cost-efficient even with a large dataset as long as you aren’t changing large amounts of data over short periods of time.

Given that a Yottabyte of capacity is on the horizon, this is welcome news for effectively managing your data.

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