[zfs-discuss] ZFS on Dell with FreeBSD

Dennis Glatting freebsd at penx.com
Thu Oct 20 03:24:58 UTC 2011

On Thu, 20 Oct 2011, Fajar A. Nugraha wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 7:56 AM, Dave Pooser <dave.zfs at alfordmedia.com> wrote:
>> On 10/19/11 9:14 AM, "Albert Shih" <Albert.Shih at obspm.fr> wrote:
>>> When we buy a MD1200 we need a RAID PERC H800 card on the server
>> No, you need a card that includes 2 external x4 SFF8088 SAS connectors.
>> I'd recommend an LSI SAS 9200-8e HBA flashed with the IT firmware-- then
>> it presents the individual disks and ZFS can handle redundancy and
>> recovery.
> Exactly, thanks for suggesting an exact controller model that can
> present disks as JBOD.
> With hardware RAID, you'd pretty much rely on the controller to behave 
> nicely, which is why I suggested to simply create one big volume for zfs 
> to use (so you pretty much only use features like snapshot, clones, etc, 
> but don't use zfs self healing feature). Again, others might (and have) 
> disagree and suggest using volumes for individual disk (even when you're 
> still relying on hardware RAID controller). But ultimately there's no 
> question that the best possible setup would be to present the disks as 
> JBOD and let zfs handle it directly.

I saw something interesting and different today, which I'll just throw 

A buddy has a HP370 loaded with disks (not the only machine that provides 
these services, rather the one he was showing off). The 370's disks are 
managed by the underlying hardware RAID controller, which he built as 
multiple RAID1 volumes.

ESXi 5.0 is loaded and in control of the volumes, some of which are 
partitioned. Consequently, his result is vendor supported interfaces 
between disks, RAID controller, ESXi, and managing/reporting software.

The HP370 has multiple FreeNAS instances whose "disks" are the "disks" 
(volumes/partitions) from ESXi (all on the same physical hardware). The 
FreeNAS instances are partitioned according to their physical and logical 
function within the infrastructure, whether by physical or logical 
connections. The FreeNAS instances then serves its "disks" to consumers.

We have not done any performance testing. Generally, his NAS consumers are 
not I/O pigs though we want the best performance possible (some consumers 
are over the WAN resulting in any HP/ESXi/FreeNAS performance issues 
possibly moot). (I want to do some performance testing because, well, it 
may have significant amusement value.) A question we have is whether ZFS 
(ARC, maybe L2ARC) within FreeNAS is possible or would provide any value.

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