Anyone with an interest in file systems, data management, large scale storage, and security has been keeping an eye on Sun’s ZFS for a while now. Apple looks like it will ship the first consumer-targeted OS to feature workable ZFS support. It’s in Leopard, but read only. Apple has now released binaries and source. It’s still not ready for prime time (not even bootable, and has some serious bugs), but it’s progressing.

While not in Apple’s implementation yet (it is however planned), ZFS supports things like compression and encryption. ZFS is also a 128bit filesystem, so for the foreseeable future, it’s enough storage for anyone. Dynamic striping and Snapshots are also extremely interesting. I’m curious to know how snapshots in ZFS will integrate into Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard with Time Machine. I wonder if complete ZFS support will make a 10.5 revision or if it will be read-only until 10.6.

I am however curious if they have given any thought to solid state storage. It’s pretty clear that’s where the future is headed. While ZFS targets size rather than performance (meaning the two won’t collide for some time as solid state storage won’t be practical for large storage arrays for a few more years), I wonder if ZFS would be able to do things like wear-leveling. So far I haven’t seen any documentation to hint that the feature exists (I’d presume it doesn’t). No idea if it would be something that could be added or if it’s nearly impossible.