ZFS for a desktop computer

Alexandre "Sunny" Kovalenko gaijin.k at gmail.com
Sun Nov 2 15:15:03 PST 2008

On Sat, 2008-11-01 at 15:17 -0400, John Nielsen wrote:
> On Saturday 01 November 2008, Nicolas Martyanoff wrote:
> > I'm thinking about switching my main desktop to FreeBSD for various
> > reasons (main one, I love it on my laptop and server), and I've been
> > considering using ZFS. I'd like to have a disk-modular system, ie.:
> >
> > - Being able to have mirroring.
> > - Being able to add new disks without effort.
> > - Being able to add new disks AND mirroring disks (spare disks ?) at
> >   the same time.
> >
> > I'm gonna begin with 2x 1TB disks with mirroring, and I'd like to be
> > able to add, if needed, new disks, for example 2x 1.5TB to get 2.5TB
> > diskspace fully mirrored. The whole process shouldn't need to reinstall
> > the system, or to change the slice/partition layout, ie. be totally
> > transparent for the data.
> > And for this particular need, ZFS seems to be the way to go.
> I'm happily using ZFS on a 32-bit FreeBSD desktop system (that also plays a 
> home server role). It should meet your disk-modularity requirements above, 
> with the exception that it's not possible to add disks to a raidZ set 
> (though it is possible to add additional sets to the same zpool).
> > However, I'm a bit worried about FreeBSD's ZFS implementation:
> >
> > - I've got a 64bits dual core 2GHz CPU, but can't use an amd64 FreeBSD
> >   since Xen, NVidia drivers and wine don't work on it; but ZFS is said
> >   to be unsuitable for i386.
> That's overstating the case. The extra memory headroom on amd64 may make 
> things simpler, but it's certianly possible to run ZFS on FreeBSD i386 as 
> long as you have a couple gigs of RAM (I actually only have 1.5 GB) and 
> follow the tuning guidelines. You should also be willing to monitor your 
> system and go through one or two fine-tuning cycles
Just a "me too". I am using ZFS on my i386 (Core Duo) laptop: /
and /boot are UFS2, /usr and /home are ZFS. Main appeal in my case was
the startup time after the panic -- doing fsck on 120GB /home was not
fun. I have to admit that machine has 3GB of real memory in it, though.

Alexandre "Sunny" Kovalenko (Олександр Коваленко)

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