This was the central question I reckon I carried away after talking with folks from Nexenta. They have an open source core, Nexenta.org, that uses an OpenSolaris kernel with ZFS and a rebuilt Debian non-GUI userspace. The combination provides network attached storage (NAS) with lots of potential as an open solution.
What resonated most with me was the idea that my content may be licensed to remain open and accessible, but if the file system is not free and open, the writing and storage of that content is paramount to encoding it in a proprietary format.
This was the most compelling part of the discussion, the part that made me want to rip out proprietary hardware and file systems to replace it with anything more open. The fact that my soup pot doesn’t usually include OpenSolaris, ZFS, etc. doesn’t matter to me.
Yes, I’m sure you can cook something similar right now with btfrfs and Fedora 11. There is another angle to view, which is stability over time. You want to be careful about putting your first-line storage on a development-quality file system. With that idea … does it make sense to create a first-tier storage using Nexenta.org? It is built from OpenSolaris, a robust, stable, enterprise-quality kernel plus ZFS, which has been deployed in the enterprise for a number of years? ZFS is also a few years older as a technology than btrfs.
Then use Fedora plus btrfs as second-tier. The trick is, both work on commodity x86 hardware, so you can create a large first- and second-tier storage solution for a fraction of the cost of a propietary hardware and software blend. That’s a bonus after freeing your content from a proprietary file system.