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Portland Linux/Unix Group: Block Storage Device Life Cycles

PSU Maseeh Engineering Building
1930 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201, US (map)

On the lower level, follow the signs.



Portland Linux/Unix Group: Block Storage Device Life Cycles

Who: Michael Dexter
What: Block Storage Device Life Cycles
Where: PSU, 1930 SW 4th Ave. Room FAB 86-01 (Lower Level)
When: Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at 7pm
Why: The pursuit of technology freedom
Stream: http://pdxlinux.org/live if lucky

Block storage has joined electricity as one of the fundamental technologies on which we are completely and irrevocably dependent. The two technologies are in fact becoming inextricable now that computers control virtually every electrical system from the distribution grids on up, and computers themselves are completely dependent on electricity to operate. Both technologies have undergone countless innovations yet still operate largely on their original basic principles. While high in capacity, fast and affordable, the modern hardware block storage device or “hard disk” operates on the same principles as the original 1956 IBM 350 disk storage unit and most solid-state alternatives emulate hard disks. Beginning with the Berkeley Fast File System, the BSD family of operating systems has played a key role in the evolution of general purpose block storage and continues this innovation with technologies like virtual block storage devices, GEOM, UFS2, ZFS, GELI, HAST, GEOM Journaling, FUSE, tmpfs and the NAND Flash framework. This paper will survey the available block device options in the FreeBSD operating system and explore their practical uses in modern storage architectures.

FreeBSD is unique in that it provides the reference platform for the Unix File System and is now a tier one Zettabyte File System or ZFS platform. The 10.0 release of FreeBSD is particularly unique in that it includes in-kernel iSCSI network block device sharing, the NAND Flash framework, a FUSE implementation and the bhyve hypervisor which can leverage and help test most FreeBSD storage technologies. The FreeBSD ports collection also includes support for guest file systems such as ext2 and NTFS, which provide new opportunities to "round trip" virtual and physical machines using bhyve and tools such as the iBFT iSCSI boot framework.

Finally, while an unprecedented block storage toolkit can enable extensive experimentation, there are pragmatic issues surrounding production storage architectures. This paper will touch on real world block storage solutions built with FreeBSD and its derivatives. These derivatives include the FreeNAS storage appliance, which provides networked block and file storage to a myriad of Unix and non-Unix clients. Pragmatic issues surrounding verifiable data integrity include: understanding and embracing ZFS behavior and limits, observing disk and partition health in addition to data integrity, understanding the implications of file naming, maintaining backups and restoring desired data in a timely manner.

Many will head to the Lucky Lab at 1945 NW Quimby St. after the meeting.

Rideshares Available

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