Hi all,

We haven't had a really good flamewar ^W discussion on here in far too long...


Btfrs vs ZFS. I was wondering if others would like to share their
opinions on either or both?  Or something else entirely?  (Maybe you
just don't feel alive if you're not compiling your kernel from
patches?)  Especially cool would be recent comparisons of two or more.

I'll provide an info dump of my plans below, but I do so mainly as
discussion-fodder.  Don't feel obligated to address my scenario in
particular.  Of course, commentary on anything in particular that
seems like a good/bad/cool idea is still welcome.


This is the stuff every article says.  I rarely find anything that goes deeper.

- ZFS has been around/stable/whatever longer
- btfrs has been on Linux longer
- btfrs is GPL, ZFS is CDDL or whatever
- Licensing kept ZFS off Linux for a while
- ZFS is available on major Linux distros now
- People say one is faster, but disagree on which one
- Oracle is a bag of dicks
- ZFS is easier to pronounce

For both, by coupling the filesystem layer and the block layer, we get
a lot of advantages, especially for things like snapshots and
deduplication.  The newcomers also get you things like checksums for
every block, fault-tolerance over heterogenous physical devices, more
encryption and compression options.  Faster, bigger, longer, lower,
wider, etc., etc.  More superlatives than any other filesystem.


I'm going to be building a new home server soon.  Historically I've
used Linux RAID and LVM and EXT2/3/4/5/102, but all the cool kids are
using smarter filesystems these days.  I should really get with the
times.  They do seem to confer a lot of advantages, at least on paper.


User community is me and my girlfriend and a motley collection of
computing devices from multiple millenia.  Administrator community is

Mostly plain old network file storage.  Mixed use within that.  I'm a
data hoarder.

All sorts of stuff I've downloaded over the years, some not even from
the Internet (ZMODEM baby!).  So large numbers of large write-once
files.  "Large" has changed over the years, from something that fills
a floppy diskette to something that fills a DVD, but they don't change
once written.  ISO images, tarballs, music and photo collections

Also large numbers of small write-once files.  I've got 20 GB of mail
archives in maildir format, one file per message, less than 4K per
file for the old stuff (modern HTML mail is rather bloated).  These
generally don't change once written either, but there are lots of
them.  Some single directories have over 200 K files.

Backups of my user systems.  Currently accomplished via rsnapshot and
rsync (or ROBOCOPY for 'doze).  So small to medium-small files, but
changing and updating and hardlinking and moving a lot.  With a
smarter filesystem I can likely dispense with rsnapshot, but I doubt
I'm going to move away from plain-old-files-as-backup-storage any time
soon.  (rsync might conceivably be replaced with a smarter network
filesystem someday, but likely not soon.)


Not a lot of mass-market videos -- the boob tube is one area where I
let others do it for me.  (Roku, Netflix, Blu-ray, etc.)

No plans to network mount home directories for my daily-driver PCs.
For laptops especially that's problematic (and sorting apps
(particularly browsers) that can copy with a distributed filesystem
seems unlikely to pay off).

Not planning on any serious hosting of VMs or containers or complex
application software on this box.  I can't rule it out entirely for
(especially as an experiment), but this is mainly intended to be a
NAS-type server.  It will run NFS, Samba, SSH, rsync.  It might run
some mail daemons (SMTP, IMAP) just to make accessing archives easier,
but it won't be the public-facing MX for anything.

It's unlikely to run any point-and-drool administration (web) GUIs.  I
have a set of config files I've been carrying around with me since I
kept them on floppy diskette, and they've served me well.  Those that
like them, more power to you, but they're not for me.  I inevitably
bump into their limitations and have to go outside them anyway.

I've tried a few consumer NAS appliances and have generally been
disappointed.  It's the same as the GUI thing above, except I hit the
limits sooner and in more ways.  Some of them have really disgusting
software internals.  (A shame, because some of the hardware is
appealing, especially in terms of watts and price.)

I don't want to put this on somebody else's computer.


I'm shooting for a super compact PC chassis, mini-ITX mainboard, 4 x
3.5-inch hot swap bays, SATA interfaces, x86-64 processor.  Initially
it will be two spinning disks.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to
6 TB effective.  The disks will be relatively slow, favoring lower
price-per-GB and less heat over performance.  This is bulk data
storage.  The user PCs have SSDs.  If fancy filesystems weren't a
thing, it would start with two mirrored drives, with plans to expand
to RAID 10 (stripes across mirrors), and multiple LVM logical volumes.

Off-site off-line backup will be accomplished with one or more
physical disks attached to the system, sync'ed at some level (be it
rsync or filesystem or whatever).  Initially it will be a bare disk
and a hot swap bay, with options for eSATA or USB in the future.

Specific processor and RAM are undecided.  I'm not looking to run 40
VMs, and lower watts would be nice.  At the same time, I want it to be
able to handle what I throw at it, and I know the fancy filesystems
can be more demanding, plus I keep meaning to set up plain text

-- Ben
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