STORAGE MANAGEMENT VENDOR Acronis claims future file systems must be designed with backup use cases in mind.
Acronis, which is primarily known for its disk imaging software, is promoting its storage management software to cloud vendors and recently took on board Red Hat's former VP of cloud Scott Crenshaw. Now the firm claims that future file systems will have to be designed to take backup policies into account, as firms have to deal with backing up virtual machine images that run into the tens of gigabytes.
Crenshaw, now SVP of strategy and CMO at Acronis, told The INQUIRER that firms now have to consider "warm virtual machine image storage", meaning that large images are already mounted and ready to go rather than stored on offline media. He also said the importance of technologies such as changed block tracking will increase as firms try to minimise the cost of downtime while virtual machine images are backed up.
However Crenshaw said that in the future file systems have to be designed to account for backup policies, much in the same way that filesystems such as ZFS account for poor disk reliability. He said, "Over the long term, a year from now, the [virtual machine image backup] problem has got to be a core use case for next generation file systems. Files systems must have the data available wherever it is needed and they have to have the metadata to allow them [users] to back up smartly, that is to have introspection and to what's being backed up and make the appropriate decisions based on policy on the levels of redundancy, the trade off speed and back up and speed of restore and cost."
Acronis might be targeting the enterprise market with its software but Crenshaw's point about filesystems that take into account data backup is an important one for home users who are having to backup large libraries of files. While Linux users can make use of tar or rsync to get by when using small files, the backup and versioning of multi-gigabyte files is not just limited to those who handle virtual machine images. The problem is that filesystem design, implementation and more importantly operational maturity take years to develop, meaning that software vendors will have to plug the gap in the meantime. µ