[OpenIndiana-discuss] Illumos as a NAS

James Relph james at themacplace.co.uk
Tue Sep 4 20:59:36 UTC 2012

> AD issues are going to require someone tenacious, motivated, and a bit
> masochistic as it's historically been a bit of a moving target.

AD seems reasonably stable these days, and in fact the current Illumos strategy works 90% of the way, it's the idmap that actually breaks down because of the approach taken with ephemeral UIDs.  It's the only system that I've seen use that approach, and it just seems almost guaranteed to make it difficult for apps that don't have the special hooks that the CIFS server uses.  The opendirectoryd (Mac OS X) and winbind approaches seems much more reliable - map a user to a generated UID which will be the same across the domain.  Then apps don't need to worry about local or AD users, they just 

> Low hanging fruit is to ignore the AD integration for now, make this a good
> NAS for home users without the AD integration issues resolved. Example of a
> common use case: iTunes media library. 2+ TB of music, movies, books,
> podcasts, etc. becomes more than a bit unwieldy to handle natively on a
> Mac, but Illumos is well suited to handle this workload. No AD integration
> is necessary for this use case. Local system auth is "good enough".

The home market is definitely interesting, but from our point of view, Apple have basically stopped selling all but basic server systems, and we're seeing a lot of small/medium businesses (10-50 users) and at the other end of the scale enterprise users (1000+ users) who are looking to replace Xserves.  OI with ZFS and netatalk 3 is *awesome* for that (seriously, customers used to Xserves using HFS+ with no snapshotting, native compression, scrubbing etc. see ZFS as almost magical).  The problem is that a lot of these companies have an AD of one form of another (SBS or full blown multi-site forests).  We're just viewing this from the perspective of a Mac consultancy, and we're really seeing lots of opportunities that involve AD integration, if you add in the number of full Windows businesses it's a massive potential market.

The other thing is - because we've got a commercial opportunity here we're willing to support that kind of development financially - and I've offered bounties (and asked if anyone knows any developers looking for contract work) on this exact problem - and we'd be willing to talk pretty decent amounts - we are seeing a lot of interest in ZFS based systems!  I think that's the main benefit of looking at commercial opportunities like AD integration because you can get businesses willing to fund developments that benefit the entire community (and Linux in particular has benefitted massively from the support of companies like IBM and RedHat).


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