Taking ZFS For A Test Drive On Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 23 April 2016. Page 1 of 2. 44 Comments

One of the most recurring requests this week from Phoronix readers were for doing some ZFS file-system tests on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Here are some basic results using a single SSD.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS makes it easy to deploy a ZFS file-system utilizing ZFS On Linux. All of the necessary ZOL components are in place from the DKMS module support to the user-space utilities that are part of the main packaging archive, but not installed by default when using the desktop ISO. It's as easy as a sudo apt-get install zfs-dkms zfsutils-linux for getting running with ZFS on the Xenial Xerus release.

From there, it's pretty similar to the ZFS On Linux experience that's been available for years either through the use of PPAs or building the ZOL components from source, but now it's formally supported by Canonical/Ubuntu.

Just for doing some very basic ZFS Ubuntu 16.04 benchmarks to get started, I compared the out-of-the-box, single drive performance on Ubuntu 16.04 to EXT4, Btrfs, and XFS. I'll do some RAID benchmarks and other tests with my limited available hardware next week for areas where ZFS and the enterprise-focused file-systems are more likely to shine. All of the tests were done on the same Xeon E5-2687W v3 system running Ubuntu 16.04 x86_64 with the Linux 4.4 kernel.

ZFS, EXT4, Btrfs, and XFS were tested on a secondary M.2 Intel SSDSCKGW08 solid-state drive on this system. I ran a few of the different Linux disk benchmarks using the Phoronix Test Suite.

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