Should we simply disallow ZFS on FreeBSD/i386?

Maxim Sobolev sobomax at
Sun Jan 6 16:58:55 PST 2008

Adam McDougall wrote:
> A summary of my opinion on this matter is that some i386 FreeBSD servers do have a 
> place running zfs in a useful role, but some dedication and patience from the 
> administrator is usually required, and the effort to tune at least kmem is nearly 

In Russian we have a good saying: "You can teach a bear to ride a 
bicycle, but will it ever enjoy it?"

The same is here - seemingly due to the ZFS design limitations and 
limitations of the FreeBSD kernel you can't get ZFS to run reliably out 
of the box on i386. Yes, you can probably do some tweaks here and there, 
to make it more of less stable given the workload, but that's not what 
most of the FreeBSD users expect from the file system. Unlike you, most 
of administrators won't even bother to read tweaking documentation 
explaining why ZFS is so tricky in i386, let alone doing actual 
trial-and-error to determine the right set of tunables. More likely at 
the first incident they would just dismiss FreeBSD/ZFS as a crap.


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