Is there still a case against using ZFS in production?
I run Solaris servers and I am planning an upgrade to Solaris 10 10/09 from an earlier release.
Currently we use SVM for local disks and our vendor's technology for SAN volume management. We are considering migrating most (if not all) of our storage to ZFS. We want to be able to use LiveUpgrade on snapshots, easy storage management (especially growing a LUN), fast resilvering etc.
Are there any "gotchas" that we should watch out for? We have a lot of Oracle databases. Is that an issue? Has any of you had negative experiences doing what we are thinking of?

  • 1
    NetApp seem to think so ;)
    – Chopper3
    Jan 15, 2010 at 15:19
  • 2
    Yeah exactly, just because Suns product is able to outperform top of the line NetApps for a tenth of the price. Still a NetApp fan though.
    – pfo
    Jan 15, 2010 at 16:31

7 Answers 7


We currently have zfs in production for our app servers zones (hundreds of users) and it works great, we are currently testing it with a development oracle 10 DB and it till now (4 months) we had no problems. Please check http://www.solarisinternals.com/wiki/index.php/ZFS_for_Databases

expecially: "match the ZFS recordsize to the Oracle db_block_size"

  • What kind of load? OLTP?
    – slovon
    Feb 16, 2010 at 13:30
  • yes it's OLTP and not currently very loaded , I can confirm we had not troubles with ZFS yet Feb 21, 2010 at 15:08

We have a 96TB ZFS setup on an (clustered) Sun Storage 7410 unified storage appliance with multiple(8x) 10GBit/s links. It uses ZFS and OpenSolaris. This box rocks!


In our shop, we're still waiting. However, our usage is database mainly and it is very picky about filesystem and we'd rather see someone else spend hours and days testing and tuning as we don't have much resources (small shop).

At home, I'm using it, but it's a normal fileserver, not really using all the possibilities.


SmugMug.com uses the same 7410 box behind their MySql db and really loves it. The CEO gave a presentation at mysqlconf and the 7410/ZFS was one of his favorite things that they've implemented.


The only case I have against it is its licensing/patents and the fact that Oracle is being a b**ch with open source stuff it got when buying Sun. Otherwise, I wait for the day that btrfs will be on par (and in future, better than) with ZFS.


One might believe Oracle would work well with ZFS given that they are the same company now.

  • 2
    For all of a week - perhaps wait a few months before taking that view! Feb 6, 2010 at 2:42
  • This may take time; even Oracle itself doesn't just run well - every tech has its own tricks.
    – slovon
    Feb 16, 2010 at 13:30

Lots of cool features.

However, ZFS (like other logical volume management methods) can fail and lose your data in a heartbeat due to filesystem failures that wouldn't really be an issue on more rudimentary filesystems. It's much harder to put it all back together when you don't know where everything is. RAID isn't a panacea. Failures occur that drive reporting won't solve.

I wouldn't use it to mount an OS, but it's nice for data and databases - if you have backups and you know enough not to blow away a system. I'm not talking rm -rf / level mistakes here, but things like a couple drives in a raid array failing at the same time, or not understanding ZFS import/export. Other LVM solutions have similar issues.

  • 2
    So do you have any specifics or is your argument pretty much "it's more complex, so it's easier to break"?
    – Chris S
    Aug 16, 2010 at 2:22
  • It's more like use it where you need it (ZFS is the best LVM in my opinion) but you can forget about data recovery tools. To me, the inability to quickly and easily recover data from a blown volume is a drawback in most LVMs. Hopefully someone will write the tools.
    – voltaire
    Aug 16, 2010 at 21:15
  • ZFS is COW so I'm at a loss to understand what filesystem failures you're talking about here? Always mirror the OS drives and thus if hardware fails your SYSPOOL is still able to operate. Setting up regular auto-scrub will also help to ensure that you don't lose data. ZFS prevent 100% of silent data loss and the snapshot ability rocks!
    – Khushil
    Oct 10, 2010 at 10:21

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