Veritas File System

VxFS

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 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 relayout. 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 IO. 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 and mount it on Linux or Solaris, now you can.

VxFS and VxVM are still closed source. A version is available from Symantec that is free on small servers, with limitations, but I imagine that most users still pay. Pricing starts around $2500 and can be shocking for larger machines. VxFS and VxVM are solid choices for critical infrastructure workloads, including databases.

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