As ZFS states exclusively,
ZFS is claimed to be invulnerable ZFS accepts that it might be vulnerable to power failures.
I couldn't find such a statement for BTRFS. Is it (or designed/planned to be) durable between power outages?
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I've asked the question on #btrfs IRC, they said
should be ok if your hw isn't "buggy"where not-"buggy" means
your hw has correct flush/barrier semantics.
TL;DR: This means that btrfs is protected against data corruption due to power loss in a similar way as ZFS.
Here is why: The general idea behind ZFS and btrfs is similar. Both use Merkle trees as a data structure. Writes might require multiple blocks on the disk(s) to be updated. The file system is handling this by writing the new data to empty blocks (even if an existing file is being modified, thus it doesn't need to modify blocks that reflect the old state) and building a new updated tree. Once all the heavy lifting is done and data + the updated tree have been written to the disk the head pointer gets updated to the new tree making the change visible.
Here is how things are supposed to behave when writing to a file:
If power is lost after (4) the transaction is complete. If power is lost during steps (1) to (3) the file system will come up with the old state (data written in step (1) is lost but the file system is consistent). Note that there is no need to check for file system errors which means the file system is available immediately which is a big advantage (checking large file systems can take very long!).
Here is an example how things can go wrong with "buggy" hardware:
The file system will become inconsistent if power is lost between (4) and (5) or while performing step (5). As a consequence the Merkle tree and/or the data might only be partially written causing the file system to become inconsistent.
In practice you have to be particularly careful when using RAID controllers. They usually disable the write-back caches on the disk and use their own write-back cache instead. There are two common ways for things to go wrong here:
*I'm simplifying things here. It's actually not necessary to copy the whole tree. Only the parts that changed need to be added - the remaining parts can be shared between the old and the new tree.