Configuring local storage in Linux with Stratis

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Configuring local storage is something desktop Linux users do very infrequently—maybe only once, during installation. Linux storage tech moves slowly, and many storage tools used 20 years ago are still used regularly today. But some things have improved since then. Why aren't people taking advantage of these new capabilities?

This article is about Stratis, a new project that aims to bring storage advances to all Linux users, from the simple laptop single SSD to a hundred-disk array. Linux has the capabilities, but its lack of an easy-to-use solution has hindered widespread adoption. Stratis's goal is to make Linux's advanced storage features accessible.

Simple, reliable access to advanced storage features

Stratis aims to make three things easier: initial configuration of storage; making later changes; and using advanced storage features like snapshots, thin provisioning, and even tiering.

Stratis: a volume-managing filesystem

Stratis is a volume-managing filesystem (VMF) like ZFS[1] and Btrfs[2]. It starts with the central idea of a storage "pool," an idea common to VMFs and also standalone volume managers such as LVM[3]. This pool is created from one or more local disks (or partitions), and volumes are created from the pool. Their exact layout is not specified by the user, unlike traditional disk partitioning using fdisk[4] or GParted[5].

VMFs take it a step further and integrate the filesystem layer. The user no longer picks a filesystem to put on the volume. The filesystem and volume are merged into a single thing—a conceptual tree of files (which ZFS calls a dataset, Btrfs a subvolume, and Stratis a filesystem) whose data resides in the pool but that has no size limit except for the pool's

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