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Ok, this isn't strictly Java-related, but it's geeky enough that I hope you find it interesting regardless.

Various sites have recently broken the news that the next version of MacOS X, code-named Leopard, will feature support for Sun's ZFS filesystem. As a Mac user, I find this news particularly exciting, but those of you still using Windows may want to take note as well.

If I sat down and wrote a list of all the things a super-powerful futuristic filesystem should do, completely without regard for practicality or implementation difficulty, not only would ZFS already do everything I came up with, but I doubt I would have imagined even half of its actual features. Suppose you want to clone your hard drive, install a test application, and then roll back to the previous state of your hard drive. How long would that take you? For most of you, long enough that you'd rather just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Under ZFS, creation of a writable clone of a filesystem is essentially instant. It only has to maintain the difference between the two states, rather than two complete copies of the data, so the clone initially takes no space and virtually no time to create. Once you're done with your tests, destroying the clone is also essentially instant. The ability to instantly create, restore, and destroy snapshots and clones is incredibly powerful and something I'm very excited about, but it's not the only trick up ZFS' proverbial sleeve.



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