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btrfs has finally found its way into the latest kernels, is it considered stable and safe enough to use in a home backup scenario (as an alternative to zfs) ?

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closed as too localized by xenoterracide Apr 24 '12 at 1:24

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, and while fuse-ZFS is the bee's knees (having tried it) I wouldn't use it either. It's not a stability issue - both are fairly stable - but one of code maturity.

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+1 for using Bees knees in context! – geoffc Aug 11 '10 at 1:05
I'll accept this for now, but it may need to be revisited in a year or so – Sam Saffron Aug 11 '10 at 1:20
Fair enough. Btrfs had better be out of testing in a years time, agreed! I'm really looking forward to some of the new "features", especially the checksumming (I have an older home server with old, tired drives...) – Avery Payne Aug 12 '10 at 0:41
What is a really cool upcoming feature, is to be have an automatic snapshot of your root filesystem before each update, so rollbacks become instant & super safe :) – wzzrd Aug 18 '10 at 14:52
BTRFS is still not offered (even as an experimental feature) in Fedora 18. ZFS is out for Linux, for licensing reasons: It is CDDL, which is not compatible with the Linux kernel's GPLv2. – vonbrand Mar 15 '13 at 16:14

The roadmap for btrfs in Ubuntu is to have it as the default filesystem by 12.04 LTS. The likely cutover to default will be 11.04, other distributions may have more or less aggressive plans, but watching them is your best cue to the perceived stability and reliability and performance of the code.

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Does Oracle backing both zfs and btrfs make any difference? Will they relicense zfs now that sun is no longer? – Sam Saffron Aug 19 '10 at 7:10
@SamSaffron from what I have heard from announcements and such from both Oracle and the developers of btrfs is that there is little to no difference development-wise between btrfs and zfs. I have also heard that the licensing will not change for ZFS. Also from what the developers have been saying is that even though ZFS and BTRFS share many of the same features, the two are completely different animals under the hood. Personally I would like to see BTRFS take the Linux stage. – CenterOrbit Nov 9 '11 at 17:51
@MarkShuttleworth I would think it is say that Ubuntu is one of the most aggressive distros out there. I myself have been considering relying only on the LTS and not have to go through the buggy upgrade stages quite so frequently. – CenterOrbit Nov 9 '11 at 17:52

What do you mean by "home backup scenario"? If you mean system that is backuped regulary and you can afford lost of some work (btrfs is only fs for /home without crutial data) I'd say you can try it if you feel very adventorous.

If you mean fs that underlaying backup you probably need rock-stable filesystem - like ext3/4 with ultra conservative options (Your millage may vary which filesystem). Neither zfs-fuse nor btrfs are stable enough.

If you mean that snapshots are your "backup" method - then you have no backup.

Probably you should read gotchas and ask youself at each point "can I afford it happening?".

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note by zfs, I mean openbsd / solaris + zfs, not the fuse solution ... – Sam Saffron Aug 19 '10 at 7:11
From what I head about solaris implementation it is rock-stable. But I'm not specialist. – Maciej Piechotka Aug 19 '10 at 12:56

From my /etc/fstab:

/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol00   /   btrfs   defaults 1 1

So, in a way, yes, it is. I haven't had a single problem with it. However, I reinstall often (I use Fedora, so I install a new release twice a year) and:

/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol02   /home   ext4   defaults 1 2

my /home is not on btrfs. :)

Testing new stuff. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

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Novell Suse SLES / SLED 11 support btrfs, so they think it is stable enough for enterprise use. Interesting detail is that they only support readonly ext4. Read/write ext4 is not supported by Novell Suse, forcing enterprise users to use btrfs (or ext3).

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