[nycbug-talk] What's cooking in FreeBSD 7?

Steven Kreuzer skreuzer at f2o.org
Mon Mar 5 13:37:20 EST 2007

Searching around for some of the new features that are in -CURRENT, I  
found this very handy site that is frequently updated with some of  
the more interesting features being developed and will hopefully make  
their way into FreeBSD 7.


Some of the things I am really excited about are:

* DTrace (http://people.freebsd.org/~jb/dtrace/)
DTrace is Sun's advanced diagnostic tool and language for operating  
systems. It's currently being ported to FreeBSD with the intention to  
make it an official feature.
This is mostly a developer tool, useful to track down bugs and  
performance defficiencies, but can also be used (and in the same way)  
by advanced system administrators.

I had the opportunity to play with DTrace on production Solaris  
machines, and found it a very valuable tool to debug exactly what  
your application is doing under a real world workload.

* gvirstor (http://wikitest.freebsd.org/gvirstor)
Gvirstor is a GEOM storage class that provides a storage device of  
arbitrary size in "overcommit" mode (i.e. larger than physically  
available storage). Providers can be added to the virstor device on- 
line (while used, e.g. mounted), and removed if unused and at the end  
of the list of components.

In a nutshell, if you have a 200gig disk, with a dataset that will  
eventually grow to 400gigs, you simply create a 400gig partation.  
 From userland, you will see 400gigs of usable space despite the fact  
the underlaying disk is only 200gigs. When your data starts to get  
around 200gigs, you pop in a second 200gig hard drive and your all  
set. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_Provisioning for a  
little more detail.

Sun's ZFS is in the process of being ported to FreeBSD, with the  
intention of offering most (or all) features found in the original  
implementation. It's integrated with FreeBSD's existing features like  
UFS and GEOM, thus offering the possibility of creating FreeBSD UFS  
file systems on ZFS volumes, and using GEOM providers to host ZFS  
file systems. ZFS is an advanced file system with many interesting  
features built-in: snapshots, copy-on-write, dynamic striping and  
RAID5, up to 128-bit file system size, and globally optimal I/O  
sorting and aggregation.


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