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Friday, 25 August 2017 09:14

In riposte to Red Hat, SUSE affirms support for Btrfs

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Germany-based SUSE Linux has reacted to Red Hat's recent announcement that it would be deprecating the Btrfs filesystem by affirming that it would continue to be the default option for its enterprise Linux distribution.

In a blog post, Matthias Eckermann, director of product management for SUSE Linux Enterprise, said: "SUSE is committed to Btrfs as the default filesystem for SUSE Linux Enterprise, and beyond."

In its announcement, Red Hat said it would be removing Btrfs it in a future major release of its enterprise Linux operating system. No technical reason was given for the decision. 

Btrfs was originally developed at Oracle in 2007 by Chris Mason who is now at Facebook, having moved across in 2013.

Eckermann said SUSE had grown from a small contributor to Btrfs to be the biggest contributor today.

He stressed that Btrfs did not involve SUSE alone; Facebook, Fujitsu, Oracle, and others were actively involved making the project a community effort.

Feature-wise, Eckermann noted that SUSE had started with Btrfs when it had copy-on-write and snapshots six years back.

"(Then we added) out-of-band deduplication in 2012, simple RAID functionality back in 2014, compression in 2015, and ended up supporting the eagerly anticipated send-receive-functionality just last year (2016)," he said.

Eckermann said this was not just a matter of adding features to keep up with what was offered by other filesystems. "Against the demand of some partners, we are still refusing to support automatic defragmentation, in-band deduplication  and higher RAID levels, because the quality of these options is not where it ought to be," he said.

Brtfs was initially introduced by SUSE for mission-critical systems, to support snapshot-rollback of package installations. Then, in 2014, snapshot rollback of the whole root filesystem was added, with support for kernel installation and update rollbacks.

"As of today, this still is the only mature implementation of this functionality in the Linux world, supporting SUSE’s customers in building zero downtime infrastructures," he pointed out.

"SUSE is leveraging its expertise and investing on what matters for enterprise readiness, a field where Btrfs has proven in real life to be a great technology over the years, and we go where open source technology drives innovation."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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