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Welcome OpenZFS

Ten years ago this month, I started my professional career at Sun Microsystems in the Solaris kernel group. While I had some appreciation from my internship the previous summer, I did not fully understand the unique environment I was about to enter.

Ten years ago this month, I started my professional career at Sun Microsystems in the Solaris kernel group. While I had some appreciation from my internship the previous summer, I did not fully understand the unique environment I was about to enter.

It was there that I saw the power of theholistic engineer engaged in building one of the most innovative Operating Systems in history, and it was there that I had the privilege of working with Matt, George and others on the ZFS team. I knew we were building something special.

In a time when local filesystems were considered a solved problem, relegated to minor advances in performance and functionality, Matt, Jeff, and the rest of the team had keenly sliced through the constraints of the problem, strengthening those that were important (consistency and data protection) and discarding those that impeded innovation (volume managers and traditional filesystem management).

While it was clear that ZFS would drastically alter the filesystem landscape, it was another project that unleashed its full potential. "Tonic" was the code name for what would become OpenSolaris, and open our eyes to the power of open source. It is that thread of open source that led me to Delphix, and it is here that Adam and myself have continued to pursue that dream and weave it into our engineering culture.

We have long been vocal contributors to the illumos community, but we knew that we needed to do more. While illumos (and its predecessor OpenSolaris) are relatively niche communities, ZFS is decidedly not. Starting with early visionaries in the FreeBSD community, the technology has crossed technical and business boundaries beyond what the original ZFS team ever dreamed of. 

Matt has spent the last few months working with members of the ZFS community to capture that potential and build something we are all proud to be a part of. OpenZFS is the expression that together, the ZFS community is building something bigger and better than anything that could ever be built within the closed walls of Oracle.

To some degree, OpenZFS is just putting a name to what we have already been doing as a community, but with a little structure we hope to accomplish so much more. We have already seen the magnitude of features and improvements that can be made within our loose knit community. 

Between all the different operating systems, users, and commercial use cases, we have the opportunity to build the most innovative and successful filesystem in history. From the OpenZFS announcement, the primary goals are:

  • To raise awareness of the quality, utility, and availability of OpenZFS by consolidating documentation for developers and sysadmins alike, and by engaging with the larger tech community through conferences, meetups, and online interactions.
  • To encourage open communication about ongoing efforts to improve open source OpenZFS, by creating a collaborative website and a mailing list to discuss OpenZFS code changes.
  • To ensure consistent reliability, functionality, and performance of all distributions of OpenZFS by making it easier to share code between platforms, by creating cross-platform tests, and by encouraging cross-platform code reviews.

Every technology company today owes its existence in some part to open source. At Delphix we seek to create, embrace, and evolve open source communities that build platforms for the greater benefit of the industry. Our engineers are consumers and producers, and we are continually expanding our open source engagements.

We are excited to be part of OpenZFS, and look forward to the strength it can bring to the open source community. Many thanks to Matt and all the others in the OpenZFS community that made this possible.