Friday, February 26, 2016

FreeBSD and ZFS

ZFS has been making headlines lately, so it seems like the right time to talk about the longstanding relationship between FreeBSD and ZFS.

For nearly seven years, FreeBSD has included a production quality ZFS implementation, making it one of the key features of the FreeBSD operating system. ZFS is a combined file system and volume manager. Decoupling physical media from logical volumes allows free space to be efficiently shared between all of the file systems. ZFS introduced unprecedented data integrity and reliability guarantees to storage on FreeBSD. ZFS supports varying levels of redundancy for tolerance of hardware failures and includes cryptographic checksums on all data to guard against corruption.

Allan Jude, VP of Operations at ScaleEngine and coauthor of FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS, said “We started using ZFS in 2011 because we needed to safely store a huge quantity of video for our customers. FreeBSD was, and still is, the best platform for deploying ZFS in production. We now store more than a petabyte of video using ZFS, and use ZFS Boot Environments on all of our servers.”

So why does FreeBSD include ZFS and contribute to its continued development? FreeBSD community members understand the need for continued development work as technologies evolve. OpenZFS is the truly open source successor to the ZFS project and the FreeBSD Project has participated in OpenZFS since its founding in 2013. FreeBSD developers and those from Delphix, Nexenta, Joyent, the ZFS on Linux project, and the Illumos project work together to continue improving OpenZFS.

FreeBSD’s unique open source infrastructure, copyfree license, and engaged community support the integration of a variety of free software components, including OpenZFS. FreeBSD makes an excellent operating system for servers and end users, and it provides a foundation for many open source projects and commercial products.

We're happy that ZFS is available in FreeBSD as a fully integrated, first class file system and wish to thank all of those who have contributed to it over the years.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Initial FreeBSD RISC-V Architecture Port Committed

Ruslan Bukin, a research engineer at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory has committed kernel support for the FreeBSD RISC-V port to the  FreeBSD source tree. This is the latest in a series of commits including user space support, making his work at the University of Cambridge more accessible to the broader open-source hardware and software communities. RISC-V is an exciting new open-source Instruction-Set Architecture (ISA) developed at the University of California at Berkeley, which is seeing increasing interest in the embedded systems and hardware-software research communities. Ruslan’s work at Cambridge allows FreeBSD to boot on Berkeley’s Spike simulator, and makes the FreeBSD Project the first operating-system vendor to include formal, in-tree support the RISC-V architecture. Ruslan has recently given a talk on the FreeBSD port at the RISC-V workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his work was highlighted in EE Times in January 2016.

The current FreeBSD RISC-V port is able to boot to multi-user mode on Spike, and allows a range of userspace commands and services such as SSH, mail delivery, and a user shell to run reliably. His next steps are to add multicore support to the port, and bring up FreeBSD on early hardware platforms becoming available for RISC-V, such as as FPGA simulations of the Cambridge’s open-source LowRISC System-on-Chip. FreeBSD ports and packages will appear over coming days allowing others in the community to reproduce the work, and making it easy for developers interested in contributing to the project to join the effort.

Ruslan’s work has been supported by the UK Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF5) and DARPA CTSRD project at the University of Cambridge, with participation in the RISC-V workshop supported by the FreeBSD Foundation. Other contributors to the FreeBSD RISC-V porting effort include Ed Maste (FreeBSD Foundation), Arun Thomas (BAE Systems), Andrew Turner (ABT Systems Ltd.), and Robert Watson (University of Cambridge).