One of the greatest pieces of magic in Tru64 was its Advanced File System. In the journey from its lab roots at Digital and into the world of Unix customers, then onto a Compaq ownership of the OS and finally as a stepchild at the Hewlett Packard table, the AdvFS got waylaid. Promised to the HP Unix marketplace, the software missed getting into the HP-UX builds for the Integrity servers.
But on the heels of that disappointment, HP unleashed AdvFS to work in the wide world. A GPL license put AdvFS source code into the realm of Linux. That’s the OS which became a migration target for the Tru64 sites prompted to move away from the OS they loved so well on the Alpha Unix machines.
At the time of the release, HP said the AdvFS code would boost uptime and performance under Linux.
HP engineers point to the flexible multi-device storage pools shared by multiple file systems, with or without a volume manager, with no need to take file systems off-line to expand, shrink or reconfigure. Snapshots for consistent backups while applications are on-line, an ability to recover deleted files, fine grain control over file system and file placement within the storage pool. On-line rebalancing of files and free space across the storage pool are paired with on-demand or background file and file system defragmentation.
Few operating environments have key elements so good that they’re able to be sent into the world of open source on their own. Linux is a better choice today because of AdvFS, even if Hewlett Packard failed to choose it for its own version of Unix. What’s more, the market for Hewlett Packard’s HP-UX growth is in steep decline. In a way, one of the best bits of Tru64 is going to outgrow the OS that it was prevented from joining.