Back in May of this year it was rumoured that Apple’s File System Development Team had contacted Sun Microsystems to help in a translation of the Zettabyte File System to Mac OS X.

Zettabyte File System makes appearance in Mac OS X 10.5, Disk Utility

Zettabyte File System makes appearance in Mac OS X 10.5, Disk Utility

With the most recent Build of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, ZFS has appeared to have finally made an appearance, as per the rumours.

Sun Microsystems describes ZFS as the “last word in File Systems,” the file system is well known for being incredibly resilient to data failure, having immense capacity and being the first 128-bit file system.

Lets look at ZFS’s ability to keep data safe, everything on ZFS is “copy-on-write” meaning that the file system never overwrites live data and it leaves no windows of vulnerability. Also on ZFS, everything is transactional meaning that a file copy will either completely fail or be a complete success not half and half leaving you with a mess to clean up.

Finally the most important feature of data integrity os check summing and everything on ZFS is checksummed meaning zero data corruption.

The Zettabyte File system is also incredibly scalable adding value to users of both server and home environments. ZFS has a data storage capacity of 256 quadrillion zettabytes and a maximum file size of 16 exabytes (that’s 17179869184 terabytes).

Overall ZFS offers the following key advantages:-

  • Pooled storage – No requirement for a volume manager when extra volumes added, the volume is simply added to a pool creating a vdev (virtual device), a collection of vdevs makes up a zpool, which in essence is the storage available to the file system.
  • Snapshots – Read-only point in time of the file system
  • Clones – write-able copy of a snapshot
  • RAID-Z – Makes use of copy-on-write; rather than overwriting old data with new data, it writes new data to a new location and then overwrites the pointer to the old data
  • Detects and then corrects data corruption
  • Incredibly fast due to intelligent pre-fetching, and dynamic striping.

You can view other Leopard screenshots from previous World of Apple exclusives, here and here.