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The main giude assumes that your illumos-gate workspace resides in a directory named /code (likely located in your rpool) and owned by your build user.

However, this is not very practical regarding further OS updates, compression, snapshots and rollbacks and a myriad other features that a dedicated ZFS dataset might give you. So it is recommended to create one instead and also link it as /code (at least for the consistency of this guide and some others that link to it):

  • NOTE: This example still uses the rpool ZFS pool, available by default on any current OpenSolaris system. If your system has other pools, perhaps larger and more performant, you might want to use them instead.
  • As an example of why you might want a separate ZFS dataset, consider checking out the source into a dataset and keeping it pristine, while you do your wildest experiments and compilation in its clone dataset. The snapshot and subsequent clone require no space initially, and can be easily demolished when the wild experiments lead into a dead-end, while you retain the checked-out source code repository and don't have to download it again. Alternately, this can be used to work on several bugs in parallel and keeping the diffs separated for further webrev (see Comparing arbitrary sources with webrev(1)) and submission upstream (see How To Contribute).

Now that you have a separate dataset, you can optimize it for space and/or access speed by setting some ZFS attributes, for example:

  • compression decreases used disk space and may increase IO speed (by reducing mechanical IOPS) at cost of some CPU time (especially during writes)
  • atime disables directory entry updates when reading files; this decreases pool writes and increases available IOPS. If your build host is a VM backed by ZFS storage with automatic snapshots, or if you use an iSCSI volume imported from a storage host as your building zfs pool, this can also save lots of space on the backend storage.
  • sync allows to bypass the ZIL for this dataset. It is believed to somewhat increase write speeds at the cost of potential loss of consistency in case of untimely reboots or kernel panics.

Since this is a ZFS dataset, you can later zfs snapshot it (i.e. after successful builds) to make a zfs clone and/or to zfs rollback to some known-good state. In fact, you can (optionally) delegate the administrative rights for that to your build-user:

  • NOTE: the -l -d options set this permission locally on the named dataset and on its descendants, including those created in the future.

Finally, one of your large space consumers would be the package repository containing the built installable binaries. You can seperate that into a standalone dataset for the same ZFS benefits of independent data lifecycle, replication or storage optimization, for example:

  •  NOTE: this last step (symlinking) should be done after getting the source (checkout requires an empty target).

It is arguable whether a separate dataset for packages is at all needed (and it is relatively small compared the the build workspace directory). Well, I for one like putting stuff into different boxes  (smile)

Administrative rationales however include:

  1. When working on many bugs, people can have several "code" workspaces maintained as ZFS-clones of one golden code repo, as summarized in Working on several bugs at once
    However they can want to share the package repository between such projects, and maintain one package depot once configured.
  2. Snapshooting the package repo before and after a build to check for differences, or to do a zfs send to another machine.
    rsync may be better though (since the rebuild would likely wipe the repo and create it anew, even if made up of mostly the same contents – zfs diff would be huge, but rsync data diff would only include changes).
  3. nfs/cifs-sharing of the package repo may be easier to set up if it is a separate dataset.
  4. It can be located separately from workspace – another pool, different hardware (i.e. ramdisk/SSD for compile workspace, HDD for package repo).

main guide