Original image by James Jordan

I’ve been rather busy of late, with a recent trip to MPK resulting in a ton of work to bring back home, so haven’t had much chance to blog as much as I’d like, apologies.

But, recently, there’s been some activity with the ZFS Automatic Snapshot service that I thought I’d publicise a little bit. It seems that great minds think alike: myself, Brock Pytlik from the IPS team and Glenn Brunette (ok, two great minds, and me :-) all seem to have come to the independent conclusion that automatic snapshots on a local machine are good, but snapshots going to a remote machine are great, and have become more interested in dusting off the lesser-known zfs/backup-save-cmd option of the ZFS Automatic Snapshot service.

The timing here is excellent, as this is something I’d been thinking about with the advent of the Sun Cloud API (which relates to my day job at the moment in an interesting kind of way). More work to come in these areas I hope, but after a few mails back & forth with Glenn, he’s made it first-past-the-post, with an implementation to send auto snapshots to S3 storage, which looks pretty nifty to me!

There’s a heap of other stuff we could do here, we need a few things for this to really fly though:

  • A means to list all snapshots on the remote end
  • A means to choose the most recent common snapshot between the local and remote ends, and send an incremental send stream between that snapshot, and the one we’ve just taken
  • A means to define what “remote end” means, in an extensible way (be it removable media, network devices, cloud storage etc.)
  • An ability to send/recv into ZFS-based Cloud storage – (storing flat ZFS send streams in the cloud isn’t as useful imho – I’d like to be able to browse these from any device)
  • Use the auto-snapshot zfs/interval SMF property set to none, we can take event-driven snapshots, so we could do things like hook the service into nwam, so that we take an on-demand snapshot whenever we get a network connection ( assuming a sensible time period has elapsed since our last snapshot) so we never lose data. The zfs auto backup prototype I’d posted before did this for local disk storage, but I never really took the idea further, waiting for better ZFS removable-media support.

Of course, there’s just not enough hours in the day for one person to do all of this, but if you’re interested in these sorts of problems, do subscribe yourself to the ZFS Automatic Snapshot email alias and dive in!

But once again, kudos to Glenn for giving this a whirl!