Red Hat to Drop Support for Btrfs

Aug 08, 2017

The company is building their own storage solution called Stratis.

With the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, Red Hat has signaled that it’s deprecating support for the Btrfs filesystem. The fact is, however, that Btrfs has always been in “technology preview” in RHEL.

Red Hat states that the goal of a technology preview is to get user feedback to see what features they want and don’t want.

Btrfs was once considered the successor of ext4. Even Red Hat praised the filesystem when it was introduced: “Btrfs is a next generation Linux file system that offers advanced management, reliability, and scalability features. It is unique in offering snapshots, compression, and integrated device management.”

However, despite being under development for more than 10 years, Red Hat discovered through feedback that Btrfs was not considered stable enough by its customers.

As a result, Red Hat is focusing on offering the features that its customers need without relying on Btrfs.

Red Hat is working on a fully open source project called Stratis that has borrowed many concepts from Btrfs.

According to the white paper, “Stratis is a local storage solution that lets multiple logical filesystems share a pool of storage that is allocated from one or more block devices. Instead of an entirely in-kernel approach like ZFS or Btrfs, Stratis uses a hybrid user/kernel approach that builds upon existing block capabilities like device-mapper, existing filesystem capabilities like XFS, and a user space daemon for monitoring and control.”

The white paper further says that the goal is “to provide conceptual simplicity of volume-managing filesystems, and surpass them in areas such as monitoring and notification, automatic reconfiguration, and integration with higher-level storage management frameworks.”

That doesn’t mean Btrfs is dead. SUSE and openSUSE use Btrfs as the default filesystem, as does Facebook. Different companies will pick different filesystems for their customers, depending on what their customers need.

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