Help me select hardware and software options for very large server

Terry Kennedy terry+freebsd-current at
Mon Jan 26 19:41:06 PST 2009

> >  I think this system may have the most storage ever configured on a
> > FreeBSD system, and it is probably up near the top in terms of CPU and
> > memory.
> I doubt it. 8 core systems are very common these days. I've seen
> benchmarking with anything up to 64 cores (which I believe is the
> current FreeBSD limit). As for memory, there was a recent thread with
> someone installing 64Gb also claiming theirs was the biggest, but
> others insisting that it certainly wasn't. As for storage, I know Sun
> sell systems into the petabyte range which I assume these days are
> powered by ZFS.
> The above is not to belittle your project; more to reassure you that
> you aren't anywhere near the limits and you should have no troubles if
> you tune things properly.

  Regarding storage, while there are other ZFS deployments (particularly
on Sun equipment) which are a lot larger, I haven't seen any discussion
of pools of this size on FreeBSD. And I have been keeping an eye on the
FreeBSD ZFS discussions. That isn't to say that nobody has one, but if
they do, they're keeping pretty quiet about it...

  Part of the reason for rolling my own is the fun I get from it - other-
wise I could just buy a pre-configured Sun / NetApp / whatever box.

  It is good to know that my CPU / memory choices aren't pushing any
limits in FreeBSD. I still think they're probably in the 95th percentile,

  I've always been a bit careful about sizing at the top end - back when
I was using BSD/OS, I'd run into problems with configurations with more
than a certain amount of memory failing in subtle (and not-so-subtle)

  I'm sure that people have experimented enough to find the upper limits,
at least for quick testing. This is particularly common among hardware
vendors and integrators, since they have all those parts sitting around
waiting - years ago, I did such a test on a DEC system that shipped with
16MB memory standard and 64MB max. I loaded it up with 768MB to see what
would happen (it worked). I'm also the guy that once set up a demo Cisco
2511 with full BGP tables (now *that* was a hack 8-).

        Terry Kennedy   
        terry at             New York, NY USA

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