I’m quite pleased to see that you can now get OpenSolaris with Amazon’s EC2. OpenSolaris on EC2 means that you can now run your storage and/or databases in the cloud on top of the ZFS filesystem.

Among the number of truly outstanding capabilities of ZFS are, snapshots, cloning, compression and soon encryption. A little known feature is the ability to send a ZFS filesystem as a data stream. More importantly, you can send ‘incremental’ data streams.

What does this mean?

First and foremost it means that replicating data inside the EC2 cloud just got a lot easier.

It also means it is now feasible to have a replica of your data off-site at your office or another datacenter without paying exorbitant transfer prices. You’ll pay once to take make a ‘full’ replica and then afterwards you can keep that replica up-to-date by sending ‘incremental’ snapshot streams on an hourly (or more frequent) basis.

This will work quite well and be extremely cost-efficient even with a large dataset as long as you aren’t changing large amounts of data over short periods of time.

Given that a Yottabyte of capacity is on the horizon, this is welcome news for effectively managing your data.