We have a project which needs to take advantage of some ZFS features (snapshots, streaming, etc) but we're a little concerned with the recent events with Oracle and OpenSolaris. Is it "safe" to use the current OpenSolaris images on EC2?

We're considering whether it would be "safe" to use OpenSolaris in production on EC2 until an alternative BSD or Linux distro with native ZFS support becomes available on EC2. I understand that there are a number of OSol clones in the works, and that FreeBSD may become available soon on EC2.

By "safe" I mean that the current OpenSolaris AMIs on Amazon are stable enough for production use and that there's little/no chance Amazon will pull those AMIs in the near future.

  • Please define what you mean by "safe" in this context. – John Gardeniers Jan 21 '11 at 10:51

Due to the open-source license it was released under, the existing OpenSolaris remains safe to use. However, you should not expect any patches or bugfixes, so it is not recommended to use OpenSolaris for production systems. Have a look at the Indiana Project and Illumos kernel as a potential upgrade path. (See Wikipedia)

I'm not sure if Amazon have AMIs for Solaris Express yet, but that may be the direction you want to go for a commercial product. There might be licensing costs involved though.

  • There are only EC2 opensolaris images available currently; I'm considering using OS until another BSD or Linux distro with native ZFS is available. – Phillip B Oldham Jan 21 '11 at 10:25

If you are only requiring ZFS and not other Solaris features, you could also migrate to Linux as OS. IBM developerWorks has a pretty good article on using ZFS on Linux even though setup seems to be rather technically intense.

If you are depending on the features, you might give Linux with btrfs a try, it also supports snapshots, streaming and the likes.

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    I've heard ZFS-FUSE is much slower than native ZFS, and that btrfs isn't yet ready for production. – Phillip B Oldham Jan 21 '11 at 10:21
  • btrfs is missing raid (5,6) components that you may want currently, but its under pretty heavy dev so is improving all the time. – Sirex Jan 21 '11 at 11:21
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    Phillip is right, btrfs is still marked as experimental in the Linux kernel. And regarding FUSE performance there should be statistically relevant benchmarks somewhere out there (?). – Axel Knauf Jan 21 '11 at 12:53
  • Let alone the fact that FUSE ZFS or the recent native port don't have all the 5+ years of extensive testing that went into Solaris ZFS. Personally I wouldn't trust it for production just yet. – Giovanni Tirloni Feb 2 '11 at 12:13

OpenSolaris is dead, Oracle killed it :(

Although Solaris Express have not been discontinued, so you can use that if you want, although the license is pretty limiting.

  • "OpenSolaris is dead, Oracle killed it" -- hence my question! ;) – Phillip B Oldham Jan 21 '11 at 10:22
  • Yeah, but that's why I wouldn't use it in prod, with no security updates and no new versions coming it's quite risky to do so – lynxman Jan 21 '11 at 10:33
  • The OpenSolaris "experiment" is over. If you want to work with Solaris technology either take a look at Solaris 11 Express ($$ for production use) or OpenIndiana. – Giovanni Tirloni Feb 2 '11 at 12:14

Safe unless Amazon decides to cut you off like WikiLeaks without prenotice. This way you will lose all your data and possibly customers.

OpenSolaris should be as stable distro as any but alas no longer supported. For PC hardware there are so many choices, like Nexenta, or OpenFiler.

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