As an aside StorageMojo.com noted yesterday (see “Bring Me The Head Of WinFS“) that with the demise of WinFS in Vista, Apple has an even greater opportunity to stick it to Redmond by incorporating the leading edge open source ZFS file system cum storage manager into the next major release (Leopard) of Mac OS X (for more on ZFS see ZFS: Threat or Menace?.
Quality Low-Cost Storage For the Rest of Us
Apple’s rumored adoption of ZFS would also add significant Mojo to its server and its Fibre Channel Xserve RAID storage business. Xserve RAID has Apple’s typical design goodness and management simplicity, combined with industry-leading pricing of less than $2k per Terabyte. To do that the Xserve RAID’s RAID controllers dropped the expensive and tricky dual ported cache that enables controller failover. Unless you use server-based RAID, the loss of a controller means the loss of access to the disks behind that controller, so Xserve RAID isn’t enterprise class.With ZFS they’d have high-performance dual-parity RAID in software that would make a virtue of the Xserve’s RAID architecture.
This would be too smart for words. Steve Jobs’ modest investment in Xserve RAID and Xsan shows he is willing to push the envelope on Apple’s high-end storage as long as it doesn’t cost anything. ZFS support in Leopard would fit the bill perfectly.
Oh, And One More Thing
Expect Apple to announce soon a 10.5 Terabyte Xserve RAID configuration for $15k, dropping it to under $1500/TB. This translates to 147 TB in a 42U rack – over 12 TB per square foot. Will it go to 4Gb Fibre Channel and SATA drives? Stay tuned.
For more on what ZFS on Leopard would mean see this post.
Alert reader ZDigital pointed out that Xserve RAID does have dual-redundant RAID controllers, so I modified the post.
The original post:
To do that Apple dropped dual-redundant controllers in favor of server-based RAID, so Xserve RAID isn’t enterprise class.
To do that the Xserve RAID’s RAID controllers dropped the expensive and tricky dual ported cache that enables controller failover. Unless you use server-based RAID, the loss of a controller means the loss of access to the disks behind that controller, so Xserve RAID isn’t enterprise class.