ZFS Pool Administration
The trend in Information Technology is to move away from proprietary and expensive storage solutions to low-cost solutions based on commodity hardware and open-source software. Sun Microsystems is capitalizing on this trend with its open-source Zetta File System (ZFS), which it now uses as the default file system on Solaris.
ZFS includes advanced features such as end-to-end checksums, transactional copy-on-write file I/O operations, and thin provisioning of storage. ZFS also includes the ability to 'scrub' its storage pools to detect and auto-correct errors on disk.
MenloWare simplifies the management of ZFS environments by providing a Web-based application that can administer multiple storage servers from a single console. MenloWare can administer ZFS, iSCSI storage arrays, and ISNS directory servers from the same interface, and through its policy-based management allows the user to skip many of the complex steps of configuring volumes, host masks, discovery domains, file system mount points, etc.
With a cluster of storage servers, it can be difficult to keep track of available space and to determine where to locate a new ZFS pool. MenloWare can use user-defined policies to determine the type of storage to use, RAID level and the best location for the new pool. Advanced policies can specify spanning devices across multiple storage arrays, desired ratios of spare to active devices, pool scrubbing schedules, etc. With policies in place, creating a new ZFS pool can be as simple as choose a pool name and a policy name.
Storage MonitoringMenloware provides monitoring and real-time status of ZFS pools, file systems, and storage servers. Health tests are provided to track various health conditions, and the user can also customize or add additional tests. Tests can be viewed on a Web dashboard that also can be customized.
The Web GUI also includes a centralized log facility for viewing system events from storage arrays, storage servers, and directory servers.
Performance trends are also very important. MenloWare presents file system and ZFS pool usage graphs, capacity trends, and graphs of bandwidth usage on a per-LUN basis.
ZFS File System AdministrationManually creating a file system involves a number of steps such as finding a server with sufficient space, determining the size, setting properties such as compression, mounting the file system, exporting the file system for use by remote clients, integrating with global file systems, setting appropriate data access rights, etc. Through the use of policies, MenloWare can reduce this process to simply specifying a file name and choosing the desired policy.
File System SnapshotsZFS can take a point-in-time capture of a file system, called a snapshot. When combined with a scheduling mechanism, ZFS snapshots can be a useful data protection mechanism. Also, since copy-on-write is used, the snapshot is nearly instantaneous.
MenloWare makes it easy to set up snapshot policies for file systems. Policies can vary by storage class, or policies can be the same across all systems and pools. Menloware gives control over a number of aspects of snapshot management, including: