Tag: zfs

LVM snapshot performance

The Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM) supports creating snapshots of logical volumes (LV) using the device mapper. Device mapper implements snapshots using a copy on write system, so whenever you write to either the source LV or the new snapshot LV, a copy is made first.

So a write to a normal LV is just a write, but a write to a snapshotted LV (or an LV snapshot) involves reading the original data, writing it elsewhere and then writing some metadata about it all.

This quite obviously impacts performance, and due to device mapper having a very basic implementation, it is particularly bad.  My tests show synchronous sequential writes to a snapshotted LV are around 90% slower than writes to a normal LV.


Sun’s ZFS on Linux via FUSE

Ricardo Correia has been porting Sun’s recently GPLed ZFS to Linux using FUSE. I’ve been playing with it and I’m quite impressed. The FUSE port is alpha quality, so isn’t to be trusted with important data yet – but it’s fun to play with.

ZFS merges the concept of a volume manager and a filesystem. It’s a bit like LVM, with zpools being volume groups and zfs being formatted logical volumes. Zfs “partitions” can change size at any time in any way. It’s also hierarchical, so zfs partitions can have child partitions inheriting their attributes. It also does away with fstab – all mount points are specified as zfs attributes and are automatically mounted when a zpool is brought online.