On the sidelines of its Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple also quietly unveiled a new file system dubbed APFS (Apple File System). Here's how the company describes it: HFS+ and its predecessor HFS are more than 30 years old. These file systems were developed in an era of floppy disks and spinning hard drives, where file sizes were calculated in kilobytes or megabytes. Today, solid-state drives store millions of files, accounting for gigabytes or terabytes of data. There is now also a greater importance placed on keeping sensitive information secure and safe from prying eyes. A new file system is needed to meet the current needs of Apple products, and support new technologies for decades to come.Ars Technica dived into the documentation to find that APFS comes with a range of "solid" features including support for 64-bit inode numbering, and improved granularity of object time-stamping. "APFS supports nanosecond time stamp granularity rather than the 1-second time stamp granularity in HFS+." It also supports copy-on-write metadata scheme which aims to ensure that file system commits and writes to the file system journal stay in sync even if "something happens during the write -- like if the system loses power." The new file system offers an improvement over Apple's previous full-disk encryption File Vault application. It also features Snapshots (that lets you throw off a read-only instant of a file system at any given point in time), and Clones. According to the documentation, APFS can create file or directory clones -- and like a proper next-generation file system, it does so instantly, rather than having to wait for data to be copied. From the report: Also interesting is the concept of "space sharing," where multiple volumes can be created out of the same chunk of underlying physical space. This sounds on first glance a lot like enterprise-style thin provisioning, where you can do things like create four 1TB volumes on a single 1TB disk, and each volume grows as space is added to it. You can add physical storage to keep up with the volume's growth without having to resize the logical volume.As the documentation notes, things are in early stage, so it might take a while before AFPS becomes available to general users.
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