Given the shroud of mystic legalese incantations warding off the union of Linux and ZFS in many commercial products, Btrfs was, and still is, intended by many to fill the void. Btrfs has been slowly catching up to ZFS in features, but there’s still a long way to go. Btrfs still lacks some relatively mundane features, such as disk encryption, but this is in many ways due to the complexity, and presumably because implementing such a feature could easily break backward compatibility.
Both Btrfs and ZFS allow for scripting many different operations, backups, replication, and customization among them. Both can be extremely hands off because they verify their consistency at all times, because of this, they are often referred to as ‘admin-less’.
But if Btrfs is so great, why does Red Hat want to nix it? Well, it comes down to a few key problems. The current state of storage management on Linux typically requires several layers of software (volume manager, RAID, filesystem, encryption, etc). While Btrfs combines many of these layers, it is still not yet a complete package. Another problem that is inherent to not only Btrfs, but ZFS as well, is that the command line utilities are designed for use by people. This means that the information returned by these commands cannot be used directly and must be parsed before anything meaningful can be done with it. Additionally, the output can change between versions of the utilities and system configurations making it all the more difficult to parse and use programmatically.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht