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Say 'Cheese': OpenSolaris' Time Slider

Jul 28, 2009, 15:03 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Rubens)

"Introduced in November 2008 and updated in the most recent June 2009 OpenSolaris 2009.06 release, Time Slider is a graphical tool that provides a window into the operating system's powerful snapshot feature. This enables a user to move a file or directory back in time and watch how it changes. From there, it's a simple step to grab a version from out of the past and bring it back to the present. All with just a couple of mouse clicks.

"To understand OpenSolaris' snapshot feature you must know a little bit about the operating system's underlying ZFS file system. Put simply, whenever a file is modified in ZFS, the original data is left unchanged, and the modified data is written to a new part of the storage pool. Since no data is actually deleted, the storage pool contains all the data needed to create snapshots of the file system, as it changes over time. Snapshots are taken automatically by the file system or can be taken manually. They are very quick to create because all the data required is already stored in various places in the storage pool. And since all snapshots (and the current files) share any common data, snapshots are space efficient, or, put another way, you can usually keep large numbers of snapshots without taking up too much storage space. The first screenshot below, for example, shows a system with 12 snapshots that take up a total of just 1.3MB of data."

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