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VxFS - The Veritas filesystem

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The Veritas filesystem and volume manager have their roots in a fault-tolerant proprietary minicomputer built by Veritas in the 1980s. They have been available for Solaris since at least 1993 and have been ported to AIX and Linux. They are integrated into HP-UX and SCO UNIX, and Veritas Volume Manager code has been used (and extensively modified) in Tru64 UNIX and even in Windows. Over the years, Veritas has made a lot of money licensing their tech, and not because it is cheap, but because it works.

VxFS has never been part of Solaris but, when UFS was the only option, it was a very popular addition. VxVM and VxFS are tightly integrated. Through vxassist, one may shrink and grow filesystems and their underlying volumes with minimal trouble. VxVM provides online RAID re-layout. If you have a RAID5 and want to turn it into a RAID10, no problem, no downtime. If you need more space, just convert it back to a RAID5. VxVM has a reputation for being cryptic, and to some extent it is, but it's not so bad and the flexibility is impressive.

VxFS is a fast, extent based, journaled, clusterable filesystem. In fact, it essentially introduced these features to the world, along with direct I/O. Newer versions of VxFS and VxVM have the ability to do cross-platform disk sharing. If you ever wanted to unmount a volume from your AIX box, disconnect it, connect to Linux or Solaris box and mount it, you can do it with VxFS.

VxFS and VxVM are still closed source. A version is available from Symantec that is free on small servers, with limitations.

Pricing starts around $2500 and can be expensive for larger machines. Before ZFS,  VxFS and VxVM were solid choices for critical infrastructure workloads, including databases.


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[Jun 03, 2010]   Veritas File System - Blog O’ Matty

Resizing Veritas volumes with vxresize

We were getting close to running out of space on one of our database volumes last week, and I needed to add some additional storage to ensure that things kept running smoothly. The admin who originally created the VxVM database volume only used half of each of the five disks that were associated with the [...]

VxFS clear blocks mount option

While reading through the VxFS administrators guide last week, I came across a cool mount option that can be used to zero out file system blocks prior to use:
“In environments where performance is more important than absolute data integrity, the preceding situation is not of great concern. However, for environments where data integrity is critical, [...]

Preallocating files sequentially on VxFS file systems

One cool feature that is built into VxFS is the ability to preallocate files sequentially on disk. This capability can benefit sequential workloads, and will typically result in higher throughput since disk seek times are minimized (LBA addressing, disk drive defect management and storage array abstractions can sometimes obscure this, so this may not always [...]

Defragmenting VxFS file systems

I came across Scott Kaiser’s defrag.pl script a while back, and have found it useful for determining if the VxFS free extent map is fragmented. The script takes a file system as an option, and prints a one-line string to indicate if the file system should be defragmented:
$ defrag.pl /u01
/u01 is badly fragmented. Defragmentation [...]

Enabling large file support dynamically with VxFS

I recently encountered a VxFS file system that didn’t support largefiles. This issue was causing one of our Oracle databases to complain, which was preventing us from using datafiles optimized for our application access patterns. Since the file system was a Veritas File System (VxFS), I was able to fix this problem with the fsadm [...]

Growing a Veritas File System

The Veritas File System (VxFS) allows file systems to be grown and shrunk with the fsadm(1m) utility. This activity can occur while a file system is online, and is relatively safe ( I have personally grown dozens of file systems, and have yet to have a single problem). To display the current size of a [...]

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Last modified: February 19, 2014